6 Essential Facts About Drug Testing in the Workplace

According to reports by SAMSHA, it is not uncommon for the number of full-time employees taking drugs each month, or abusing alcohol, to reach up to 9.3 million per month.

In response, drug testing is becoming a common practice in some organizations and fields. Whether you are scheduled for a drug test or are thinking of implementing one, there are a number of things to find out first.

Knowing what to expect and how different drug tests work will prepare you if you are required to undergo one. At the same time – if you need to arrange a drug test, there are a number of things to be aware of to ensure that it is effective. 

So, if you want to get drug testing savvy, then read on. Because we are about to hit you with the facts about testing in the workplace. 

1. Urine Tests Are Not Always Accurate

Urine tests are probably the most common drug test for employment as they are cheap, fast and effective. In some cases, however, they can be cheatable. One method that some people try is to drink large amounts of water prior to taking the test in order to flush any drug residues from their system. 

The effect that this can have is that it can dilute the urine to the point where the test is deemed a negative dilute test. This means that the urine is too dilute for the test to be accurate. Some employers will let this go, but others will stipulate a retest. 

2. Urine Tests Can Give Instant Results

Another reason why urine tests are widespread is that their results can be instant if an instant urine test is used. This means no waiting around for lab results or delay in proceedings which is usually a perk for employers. 

3. Urine Tests Pick up Drugs Traces from up to 1 Week Prior to Testing

If you were wondering how far back a urine test can pick up traces of the drugs that it is testing for – the answer is up to 1 week. This is limiting to employers, however, urine tests would usually be performed within the week that an employer suspects drug use in an employer.

In random drug testing situations, luck of the draw comes into play as only employees who took a substance within the week prior will show up. 

4. Different Companies Can Choose Different Urine Tests

Not all urine tests are the same, and different companies in different industries will choose varying types of urine tests to suit their needs. Urine tests are differentiated by how many panels they have. The number of panels relates to the number of drugs that the test can check for. 

6-panel and 10-panel drug tests are pretty common, but the range goes up to on average a 16-panel drug test, which tests for the widest variety of drugs. 

5. Hair Follicle Tests Are Becoming Popular with Companies Because They Can Pick up Drug Use from Further Back

Although they are not yet approved for DOT federal testing, hair follicle drug tests are becoming increasingly popular with companies. This is because not only are follicle tests more accurate, but they can track drug use back 90-120 days. 

This means that anybody who has taken drugs within 90-120 days of being tested will show positive. Hair follicle tests are also able to, in some cases, reveal a person’s drug taking history or cycles. 

Besides being able to detect long term drug use, hair follicle tests are very difficult to cheat. Unlike urine tests which can be gotten around by drinking large amounts of water (in some cases) or even switching out urine samples – hair follicle tests are pretty foolproof. 

The reason why is because participants are required to present themselves for the analysis, and are not allowed to bring loose samples of hair (which could be switched around). The person performing the test will then take a sample of hair from the back of the head. This is then sent in for analysis. 

As you can see, if you are scheduled for a hair follicle test and have taken a substance within the past 3 to 4 months… You might be in for trouble. Unless you are one of the few people who know how to pass a hair follicle test. 

The drawbacks to hair follicle testing for companies is that is can be more costly than urine tests, and the lab results are a lot slower to come back. 

6. Drug Tests Do Help in the Workplace

According to a published study on the effect that drug testing has in the workplace, employees who worked at a company that implemented regular drug testing were much less likely to report taking drugs in the study.

If you are on a mission to clean up your company or clean up your recreational habits, then implementing drug testing – or joining a company that implements it – promises to be most effective in both cases. 

Nobody wants to lose their job, and so, drug testing in the workplace logically can have an inhibitive effect on drug taking. 

How Do You Feel About Drug Testing in the Workplace?

As you can see drug testing is becoming harder to beat in the workplace. Is this a good thing? Or is it a personal invasion? How do you feel about the matter?

Be sure to let us know in the comments and stay tuned to our blog for more informative posts. 

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