An Overview Of Popular Drug Testing Methods

If you are planning on applying for a job that mandates drug testing before finalizing the appointment or plan on applying for a promotion or a higher post where the company requires drug tests before appointment, then learning more about the various types of drug tests that you may be asked to undergo can be a very smart move.

Urine Drug Testing

This is probably the most reliable method to test any individual for drugs. Intake of drugs affects our body and mind profoundly, which includes our digestive and metabolic system. A person who consumes drugs will have certain chemicals and by products in his or her urine. Analysis of the urine can help your employer find out definitively whether you consume drugs or not.

While this mode of drug testing is reliable, the problem with this method is that it is a bit too invasive for comfort. Further, collecting urine samples and getting them tested can be a difficult task, especially if a large number of employees are being tested. Having dozens of small bottles filled with urine in your workplace can hardly be called a good thing.

Saliva Drug Testing

This method of drug testing is significantly less invasive as compared to urine testing. Instead of collecting urine samples, you will simply be required to swab a piece of cotton in your mouth and submit the same for drug testing. While this is significantly less icky as compared to urine tests, the biggest flaw in this method is that it can identify drug intake only if you consumed drugs just a few hours prior to the test.

Smoking a joint around twelve hours before the test will just not show up in the saliva drug test. If the purpose of the test is to ensure the employee’s present state is not affected by drugs, then saliva drug testing can be very useful. If the employer does not care whether the employee consumes drugs during off hours but wants to make sure the employee is not under influence of drugs during office hours, then saliva drug testing can be pretty useful.

Hair Drug Testing

Drugs get digested by the stomach and end up spreading all over the body through the bloodstream. This means traces of drugs can be found in all organs and body parts that receive blood from the heart. While it is not practical to test the kidney for drug traces, your employer may resort to hair drug testing to identify drug usage.

This is probably the easiest test to conduct. All your employer will need is a few hair follicles from your head. The hair strands will be tested and the results can help your boss know whether you are a drug user.

The biggest flaw in this test is that your hair may have traces of drug intake for as long as 90 days after usage. That means traces of a joint smoked three months ago during your vacation can result in a positive drug test. Since employers conduct drug test as a means of guaranteeing employee performance, a positive test based on usage long in the past does not serve any purpose. The only time this test can be useful is when the employer has a zero tolerance for drug usage irrespective of a passage of time since the last usage.

Sweat Drug Testing

Similar to your urine, there may be traces of drugs in your sweat as well. However, this test does not involve doing a sweat swab. Instead, your employer may require you to wear a sweat patch for a period of 14 days. The patch is then analyzed to assess whether the individual consumes drugs or not. This test is as simple and convenient as a hair test without the possibility of drug intake done a long time ago showing up in the tests. However, employees may not be comfortable wearing the patch or may try to remove the same, which can reduce the efficacy of the test.

Now that you have a general idea about the various types of tests, you can prepare yourself accordingly when applying for a new job or when seeking a promotion with the same employer. A saliva test can be easy to ace while a hair test can lead to complications even if you have quit the habit.