Last updated: April 6, 2020
The meth drug test is a critical component of workplace drug testing programs because meth, or methamphetamine, is one of the more commonly abused drugs.
Although the drug has seen a steady increase in the rate of addiction and abuse over the last three decades, it wasn’t until 2008, when the critically acclaimed television series Breaking Bad was released, that the pervasiveness of the drug in American culture was first made truly apparent.
Considering meth is a part of the amphetamine family, which is one of the most abused classes of drugs available in America today, means that you can test for them utilizing a 5 panel, 10 panel, or 12 panel drug test. This is to ensure that methamphetamine is never overlooked when conducting DOT or non-DOT drug testing for all employees.
Reasons to conduct a meth drug test
Regardless of the reason for employing a methamphetamine drug test at your company, you’ll always want to follow the protocol put forth by your drug free workplace program. The last thing your company needs is delayed onboarding of new employees, increased risk of workplace accidents, or HR-related lawsuits due to breach of protocols or deadlines.
The most common need for a methamphetamine drug test is during the pre-employment screening of potential job candidates. This is done to ensure the company is hiring top-quality applicants, as well as fulfilling DOT protocol, which designates all job candidates receive a pre-employment drug test to avoid potential lawsuits and fines.
The three aspects of random drug tests designed to deter employees from consuming drugs during employment are the randomness of the drug tests, the frequency of the drug tests, and the fact that every single employee, regardless of job or title, has the same chance of being chosen. This greatly enhances the scope and effectiveness of a drug free workplace program.
Not only can post-accident drug testing dissuade employees from consuming drugs such as methamphetamine but it can also be used to determine if drugs were the cause of a workplace accident. Liability is one of the biggest threats when it comes to employee drug abuse, which can substantially cost a company in workers compensation claims or fines due to HR-related lawsuits.
Observation of behaviors such as picking at the skin, dilated pupils, rapid eye movement, or tweaking are all telling signs of meth abuse. If you believe that an employee is under the influence of drugs such as methamphetamine, you can order a reasonable suspicion drug test to determine if they’re fit for duty.
Return to duty
If an employee tests positive for an illicit drug such as methamphetamine, they must be administered and pass a return to duty drug test before commencing their employment with the company. This is to ensure the safety of themselves and others, especially when returning to safety-sensitive roles.
How is a meth drug test conducted?
There are three ways that methamphetamine can be tested for; in saliva, urine, or hair follicles. In all non-DOT drug testing programs, it’s up to the employer’s discretion to determine the best means of administering a meth drug test to their employees. However, DOT regulation mandates that employers use a specific 5 panel drug test through the collection of urine specimens. The safest bet is to follow your drug free workplace protocol to ensure safety and compliance.
A mouth swab drug test is administered through employing an absorbent collection device, such as a cotton swab, inside the mouth where saliva is collected for onsite or lab testing. The specimen is then screened for parent drugs and metabolites, which can detect meth in the saliva within 10 minutes of ingestion, and up to 4 days following the use of the drug.
This form of screening has its advantages when conducting non-DOT drug testing. It’s said to be on par with the accuracy of your standard urine tests, can be administered and tested for on the spot to determine if the employee had recently consumed methamphetamine, and has the added advantage of not needing a private room or gender specific collection specialist to administer the tests.
A hair follicle drug test is administered by collecting between 40 to 50 strands of hair as close to the follicle as possible. Hair can be collected from either the scalp or other areas of the body to fulfill the needed sample size. Accuracy of the test is determined by the length of the hair and where it was collected from on the body.
The only drawback to this test is its inability to detect recent meth consumption due to the drug needing 10-14 days to enter the hair follicles. Besides that, hair follicle drug testing is twice as accurate as your standard urine test and can detect methamphetamine in the system up to 90 days after consumption. Being quick, reliable, and cost effective means that this form of testing is great for non-DOT drug testing and can be administered in the open without the need for gender specific collection specialists to administer the tests.
Urine drug tests are the standard means of specimen collection for DOT drug testing and other regulatory protocols. Urine samples can detect methamphetamine in the system within 2-5 hours and up to 3-5 days after consumption. Although they’re the cheapest and most frequently employed form of drug tests, they tend to come with several drawbacks, including the generation of false-positive results which can require more time to be spent collecting additional specimens.
To be effective, an employee must fill the specimen bottle with at least 45 millimeters of urine. Both the employee and collector must maintain positive visual contact of the specimen container at all times. Once the employee is done with the procedure, they will seal, tamper proof, and initial the specimen bottle for verification. The collection specialist will then transport the urine specimen back to the lab for testing.
The process of collecting urine specimens is painless but can be more time consuming than other forms of drug testing and will require private bathrooms and gender-specific collection specialists on-site to administer the tests.