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What Do Employer Drug Tests Look for?

Mark Halsey
Chief Editor of - Cleanbreak Recovery

Mark Halsey is a licensed therapist, founder, and chief editor of Clean Break Recovery. With over a decade of addiction treatment experience, Mark deeply understands...Read more

In an ever-changing job market, employers are increasingly relying on drug tests to ensure their employees are free of illegal substances. But what do employer drug tests actually look for, and what are the implications of a failed test? Read on to discover the answers to these questions and the importance of employer drug tests.

What Do Employer Drug Tests Look for?

What Employer Drug Tests Look For

Drug testing is becoming increasingly common in the workplace as employers strive to maintain a safe and productive environment. Employer drug tests are used to detect the presence of drugs in an employee’s system, including illicit substances as well as prescription medications. These tests are designed to identify any substances that may impair an employee’s performance and ability to work safely.

Employer drug tests may be conducted in a variety of ways, including urine, saliva, hair, and blood tests. Each type of test looks for different substances and can provide different levels of accuracy. The most commonly used tests are urine and saliva tests, which are relatively inexpensive and provide quick results.

Urine Tests

Urine tests are the most common type of drug testing used by employers. Urine tests can detect the presence of drugs in an employee’s system for up to a few days after the drug was taken. Urine tests are designed to test for illicit substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and opioids. These tests are also able to detect the presence of prescription medications, including benzodiazepines and stimulants.

Urine tests are relatively simple and inexpensive to administer, and they provide quick results. However, they are not always the most accurate type of test and may not be able to detect all substances.

Saliva Tests

Saliva tests are another type of drug test used by employers. Saliva tests are designed to detect the presence of drugs in an employee’s system for up to a few days after the drug was taken. Saliva tests are commonly used to test for marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and opioids.

Saliva tests are more expensive than urine tests, but they are less invasive and more reliable. They also provide quicker results than urine tests, often in as little as 10 minutes. However, saliva tests may not be able to detect all substances.

Hair Tests

Hair tests are a less common type of drug test used by employers. Hair tests are designed to detect the presence of drugs in an employee’s system for up to 90 days after the drug was taken. Hair tests are able to detect a wide range of substances, including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and opioids.

Hair tests are more expensive than urine or saliva tests, but they are more accurate and provide more reliable results. They are also less invasive than other types of tests and are often used to confirm the results of a urine or saliva test.

Blood Tests

Blood tests are the least common type of drug test used by employers. Blood tests are designed to detect the presence of drugs in an employee’s system for up to a few days after the drug was taken. Blood tests are able to detect a wide range of substances, including marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and opioids.

Blood tests are the most accurate type of drug test and provide the most reliable results. However, they are also the most expensive and invasive type of test, and they must be administered by a trained medical professional.

Few Frequently Asked Questions

What Drugs Are Typically Tested For?

Employer drug tests typically look for illicit substances, such as marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and PCP. The tests can be adapted to look for other drugs such as methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, synthetic marijuana and alcohol. Generally, drug testing looks for the presence of an illegal substance or its metabolites, which are the substances created when the body breaks down the drug.

What Is the Most Common Type of Drug Test?

The most common type of drug test is the urine drug test. Urine tests are the most cost-effective way to test for drugs and are relatively accurate. They detect the presence of drugs in the urine for up to several days after drug use. Some employers may opt for saliva or hair drug tests, which can detect drugs for an even longer period of time.

How Are Drug Tests Administered?

Drug tests are typically administered by a certified technician at an on-site collection center or a laboratory. The employee is asked to provide a sample of urine, saliva or hair, which is then tested for the presence of drugs. If a test is positive, the sample is sent to a laboratory for additional testing.

What Happens if I Fail a Drug Test?

If you fail a drug test, the consequences will depend on your employer’s drug testing policy. Generally, employers will take disciplinary action, such as suspension or termination. Some employers may provide an opportunity for rehabilitation or counseling. In some cases, the employee may be required to take additional drug tests to ensure that the test results were accurate.

Are Drug Tests Mandatory?

Drug tests are not typically mandatory for all employees, but employers may require them for certain positions. For example, employers in certain industries, such as transportation and healthcare, are required to test their employees for drugs. In addition, some employers may require drug tests if they suspect an employee of using drugs or if there is a reasonable suspicion of drug use.

Are Drug Tests Accurate?

Drug tests are generally considered to be accurate, but false positives can occur. If a false positive occurs, the sample is typically sent to a laboratory for confirmation testing. In addition, drug tests may not be able to detect certain drugs, such as synthetic marijuana or some opiates. It is important to note that drug tests are not foolproof and false negatives can occur.

Here’s what your drug test will look like

In conclusion, employers use drug tests to identify individuals who are using illegal substances and to ensure a safe and productive workplace. Employers may look for a variety of substances, including marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine. Drug tests can be conducted using urine, blood, hair, or saliva samples. The results of these tests can have a lasting impact on an individual’s job prospects and future. For this reason, it is important for individuals to be aware of the consequences of drug use and to be honest with their employers about any drug use.

Mark Halsey is a licensed therapist, founder, and chief editor of Clean Break Recovery. With over a decade of addiction treatment experience, Mark deeply understands the complex needs of those struggling with addiction and utilizes a comprehensive and holistic approach to address them. He is well-versed in traditional and innovative therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness-based interventions.

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