Drug testing is a common procedure that many new employees experience every day. It has become commonplace for employers to insist on a standard drug test for potential employees prior to being hired. If you've never gone through a drug screening, you may not know what to expect. Drug screens aren't as frightening as they seem.
What Do Drug Tests Screen For?
The most commonly used drug tests will typically screen for the same illegal substances. These included marijuana, amphetamines, methadone, cocaine, and opioids. There are four main ways that these substances are detected.
The urine drug screen is the most commonly used method of testing for drugs. The subject urinates into a clean cup and the sample is then used to test for abused substances. It makes sense that urine analysis is the most popular method of drug detection since metabolites, or the substance produced by ingested material, leave the body through the urinary tract.
Saliva tests are becoming popular because the process is quick and simple. The subject merely swabs the inside of their mouth to produce a sample. Although this method of testing is considered less invasive, saliva screens are not nearly as accurate as urine tests. For instance, most saliva tests cannot detect marijuana that was smoked more than ten hours before the test.
Hair tests are a drug screening technique where the subject provides a hair sample with the follicle still attached. Drug screenings using hair as a sample are not used very often because the high cost of retrieving and analyzing the sample is undesirable to most employers. In addition, there is some controversy surrounding their use because a person does not need to currently be using drugs in order to produce a positive result.
This drug screening technique is by far the most invasive. A needle is used to pierce through the skin of the subject and retrieve vials of blood for analysis. Although this method is expensive and invasive, it is considered to be the most accurate of the four types of drug screens.