Employers generally conduct pre-employment drug testing after making a conditional offer of employment. Employers use pre-employment drug testing, such as a 5 panel or 10 panel drug test, or even something significantly more comprehensive, in order to avoid hiring people who use drugs.
A drug-free workplace is a safer, more productive, and more cost-effective workplace. Drug-free employees tend to be more productive and have lower health care costs; in particular, they have fewer short-term disability claims. The employer creates a safer workplace for everyone and benefits from Workers Compensation premium discounts.
Drug testing can be completed at the client’s location and takes only a few minutes per employee. Results are generally available within 72 hours, although instant results are also available.
The most commonly tested for drugs are alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, hydrocodone, marijuana, methadone, methaqualone, opiates, oxycodone, propoxyphene, phencyclidine, and synthetic drugs such as K2 or “spice.”
Drug testing is accomplished in three different ways:
- Urinalysis drug test — Urinalysis measures the amount of drug metabolites in a person’s urine. Drug metabolites can remain in urine for several days or longer depending on the drug and quantity of the drug the person used, so urinalysis is a reliable means of determining whether an individual has used drugs recently.
- Mouth swab drug test — Mouth swab drug testing is also an accurate form of drug testing. Unlike urinalysis, however, oral fluid testing can be conducted in virtually any location, and the person tested can be directly observed during the entirety of the testing process. Direct observation of the individual being tested reduces the possibility of tampering with the test.
- Hair follicle drug test — Hair drug testing has a longer detection period than other methods of drug testing, as drugs like cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates, and phencyclidine pass quickly through urine and are usually undetectable within 72 hours. Hair testing can determine whether drugs have been used within the past 90 days. There are also no known adulterants that can affect the result of a hair test, as the test analyzes the hair shaft. Additionally, because hair testing is the least invasive means of drug testing, it is more difficult for an individual to avoid the test.