How Work Drug Testing Works: A Closer Look

Are you trying to figure out if it’s a good idea to drug test your employees?

Even if work drug testing is less common than it used to be, it’s still something that many employers require. It helps them to reduce healthcare costs, reduce absenteeism, and comply with state and federal regulations.

Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions that people have about employee drug testing. This is why it’s important to understand the basics of how a workplace drug test works. If you want to find out more, read on, and we’ll tell you what you need to know.

The Basics of Drug Testing

Drug testing is a process that employers often use to find out if their employees are using drugs. In most cases, those who take a test need to provide samples from their bodies, such as urine or hair.

These samples then make their way to a lab so that trained professionals can test for substances related to certain drugs. If a test gets a positive result, this means that it picked up a drug in the participant’s system.

Every type of workplace drug test has different levels of accuracy. Some substances are easier to detect than others. There are also many new street drugs that most drug tests are not able to detect.

Hair Follicle Testing

Hair follicle tests are one of the most common types of drug tests. They assess samples of peoples’ hair to figure out whether or not drugs are in their systems.

This test usually needs at least one hundred hair fibers to test for chemicals and substances. It’s also important that hair fibers are cut from as close to the scalp as possible. A lab will test the 1.5 inches that are closest to the scalp.

Workers conduct two different tests at the lab: enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) tests. This test can determine whether or not a person has consumed a drug within the past three months.

The Basics of Urinalysis

Uranalysis can test for a wide range of substances by using a sample of urine. The most common method is the immunoassay (IA) test. There is also another kind of less common test known as GC-MS. This test is more dependable and is able to pick up more substances than an immunoassay test.

The downside of urine testing is that the window for detection is significantly shorter than hair. Amphetamines can only be picked up if a participant has used the drug within the last seventy-two hours. Hair follicle testing, on the other hand, can pick it up if a participant has used it within the last ninety days.

The only substance that does stay for a long time in one’s urine is THC, which a urinalysis can detect if somebody has used it within the last three months.

Even though a urinalysis has a shorter testing window, it is one of the most popular kinds of tests because it is more accurate. Urine tests are also popular for employers who test after an accident at work.

Other Kinds of Drug Testing

There is no best drug test because they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Even though urine and hair follicle tests are two of the most popular work drug tests, employers can use many other testing methods. This includes breath tests, saliva screening, blood tests, and sweat screenings.

Reasons Why Tests Are Not Always Accurate

In most situations, drug tests are highly accurate. With this being said, it is possible for tests to be incorrect.

One of the most common reasons why a test might not be accurate is because of contamination. This can happen if somebody inhales second-hand marijuana smoke. Though this occurs from time to time, it’s not extremely common, and it only occurs immediately after a person comes in contact with the substance.

There are also various CBD products that have trace amounts of THC. This is why it’s possible to test positive for THC if you use lots of CBD products.

If you use certain kinds of weight loss pills, it’s also possible for you to test positive if you take an amphetamine drug test.

Hair that has high amounts of melatonin can also create false-positive test results. There are also various kinds of prescription medications that sometimes skew test results.

Work Drug Testing Is Legal

While it is within the rights of an employee to refuse to take a drug test, it’s possible that this will lead to consequences. An employee might lose their job or be put on suspension.

Even though The Supreme Court ruled that drug testing is a privacy issue for employees, it also determined that it might be necessary for protecting the health and safety of others.

Things to Know About Drug Tests

If you are testing your employees or getting tested yourself, you should be aware of the types of medications that can create false-positive results. By sharing this with those who perform the test, it will become easier for them to eliminate false-positive results.

If you need to take a urinalysis, make sure that you drink plenty of liquids beforehand so that it will be easier for you to provide a sample.

You should also know that it doesn’t usually work for people to “cleanse” their systems before they take a work test.

Work Drug Tests Are Highly Effective

There are various work drug testing methods. Urinary drug tests are the most common. Some employers also use hair follicle drug tests because they can detect whether or not somebody has been using substances in the past ninety days.

If you want to find out more about running and owning a business, don’t forget to check out the Business section of our website. Here we publish many important articles on this topic.

Hemant Kumar
Hemant Kumar is a project manager at Tridindia with more than nine years of commendable experience in writing about LMS, translation, and IT. His unmatched talent and passion for digital marketing gave him the opportunity to work as a multi-tasking project manager at TridIndia’s sister company, Link Building Corp. Today, he contributes to the world by imparting knowledge on SEO, link building and internet marketing etc., that helps business owners grow their online business.