Drug Screening. How Do Drug Tests Work?

Drug screening is a prevalent practice for many employers. In addition, several firms require prospective employees to undergo multiple drug tests before and after hire. But a lot of people are not knowledgeable about how drug tests work.

There is very much to learn about the procedures involved in drug testing – sample collection, types of samples, and so much more. Research shows over 90% of employers prefer to use urine for drug tests.

What Is Drug Screening?

Drug screening is the process of identifying a specific substance in a person’s system via testing a sample. Different methods are used to identify particular substances depending on the models, such as urine, saliva, blood, or hair. For instance, urine is mainly used to test for marijuana and the process involved is called urinalysis.

Aside from urinalysis, other drug testing facilities include enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) which are used to test hair follicles.

What Is The Difference Between Drug Tests and Drug Screening?

The significant difference between drug testing and drug screening is the process and efficiency involved. Even though many people use both terms interchangeably, they are not the same. Therefore, it’s essential to consider the definition of a drug test.

Drug tests are similar to drug screens because they also test for different substances. But they take more time to deliver results, and as a result, they are more accurate. A significant drawback of using drug tests is that they cost more – a urine drug test can cost you from $30 to upwards of $200.

Drug screening, on the other hand, costs less and provides results quickly, usually less than 24 hours. Unfortunately, although this efficient and cost-effective option may be preferable to employers, many sources report that drug screens often produce false positive results. Hence, you may be required to take a second test.

As a result, you can pass a random test depending on the type of test. For instance, you should consider the question of how long does weed stay in your system before getting a drug test.

What Are The Different Drug Panels? What Do They Detect?

There are so many different drug panels that are excellent for workplace drug testing. But before delving into what drugs each drug panel tests for, you need to understand what they are.

Drug panels identify a specific collection, family, or class of drugs. The number assigned to each panel determines the number of drugs it can detect. For instance, a 5-panel drug test can test for five drug families. Also, it depends on the workplace’s substance policy – two employers might use the same panel, but it will push for different drugs.

Below are the different drug panels and what they detect:

4-panel Screens

These drug panels usually test for:

  • Methamphetamine
  • Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana

 6-panel Drug Test

  • Barbiturates
  • Cocaine Metabolites
  • Amphetamines/Methamphetamines
  • Opiates (including Hydrocodone, Hydromorphone, Codeine, and Morphine)
  • Cannabis: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

7-panel Drug Tests

This test panel is mainly used when an employer suspects a prescription drug is interfering with an employee’s performance. For instance, a cold medication that may cause drowsiness and fatigue is dangerous in machine operation. A 7-panel drug test typically detects:

  • Marijuana
  • Opiates
  • Cocaine, opiates
  • Amphetamines
  • PCP
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates

10-Panel Drug Screens

Law enforcement, civil service, and occupational medicine employees are required to pass a 10-panel drug testing. In addition, employees who ensure the safety of others are required to take the test. You can quickly get one by typing a 10 panel drug test near me online. 10-panel drug test detects substances such as:

  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • PCP
  • Opiates
  • Amphetamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Quaaludes
  • Methadone
  • Propoxyphene

12-Panel Test

This panel test identifies drug abuse related to prescription medication such as painkillers and other controlled drugs. In addition, you can get this test as an extension to the 10-panel test. A 12-panel test can detect:

  • Cocaine
  • PCP
  • Marijuana
  • Amphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Opiates
  • Methadone
  • Barbiturates
  • Quaaludes
  • Propoxyphene
  • Oxycodone/Percocet
  • Ecstasy/MDA

Depending on your workplace, the best way to pass a drug test on short notice is to know what panels your employer prefers. Otherwise, you might get a query or, worse, lose your job because of prescription medication.

Purposes and Uses of Drug Screening

A crucial purpose of drug screening in the workplace is safety. However, there are several other reasons why drug screens are a part of multiple processes.

It Helps To Mitigate On-The-Job Accidents

As indicated earlier, safety is a valid reason why workplaces conduct pre employment drug test screening. For instance, an employee operating heavy machinery must always be alert and focused. In addition, any drug-related side effects such as nausea, dizziness, or fatigue can compromise the safety of other people.

It Helps To Monitor Patients in Rehabilitation Centers

Rehabilitation centers for drugs test residents regularly to monitor their progress. This process helps patients stay on track with their procedures. In addition, probation and parole officers can conduct a random drug screen to ascertain if you’re following the rules.

It Promotes Fairness in Sports

Many athletes must undergo urine tests to ascertain if they might have used anabolic steroids- performance-enhancing drugs. Ensuring all athletes are clean ensures the final result of a sporting event is accurate and fair.

Aside from the purposes mentioned above, you can also use an at home drug test panel to ascertain if a relative is clean or not.

How Reliable Are Urine Drug Screenings?

Urine drug screenings are not 100% reliable, mainly depending on the factors surrounding the test, such as the testing time. Although it is the preferred option for many employers, false positive drug test results are always a concern.

Below are the reasons why urine drug screenings aren’t the most reliable option:

Time Frame

The first drawback of urine tests is that the final result’s accuracy depends on the time frame. Unlike blood tests that detect drugs after several days of use, urine tests have a smaller detection window.

False Positive Results

Urine screens produce false positive results because of different factors such as medication, food, tonic water, etc. Therefore, a urine test might not be an excellent choice if you’ve ever wondered how to pass a drug test for THC.

Several urine drug tests can give a false positive for THC; medications such as pantoprazole, Omeprazole, and proton pump inhibitors are top of the list. Overall, urine testing isn’t the most accurate option but is cost-effective, so it’s a favorite for many employers.

How To Prepare For a Drug Test – Detox Methods

Prepping for a scheduled screening can be scary, significantly if your employment or freedom depends on the result. But on the other hand, detox is an excellent option if you’re thinking about how to pass a urine drug test in 24 hours.

Here are a few detox methods to help you pass a drug test:

Drink Lots of Water

Consuming the recommended amount of water on the days leading up to your urine drug test is an appropriate way to prepare for a drug test. The water flushes out the drugs by reducing the concentration in your urine.

Try Detox Drinks

Detox drinks work precisely like water but with an additional benefit- instead of lowering the concentration of drugs, detox drinks mask it with vitamins and proteins such as creatinine. Some effective detox drinks can help you pass your drug test when you take them 3 hours before your test.

Consider Detox Kits

For a more effective cleanse, detox kits provide better results than drinks. Most detox kits contain detox beverages, medications, and dietary fibers. Unlike detox drinks that are only effective for a few hours, detox kits rid your body of drugs.

However, the only drawback of detox kits is that you will need to take them for 5-10 days before they can be effective. Hence, they are not appropriate for quick tests.

Use Apple Cider Vinegar

Several drugs have distinct hair follicle drug test timeline, but they can detect drugs in your system after 90 days. An ACV rinse is an excellent way to rid your hair of any medications; it’s a great way to rid your hair of product buildup and trace amounts of drugs. All you need to do is mix one part ACV and one part of water. Then, pour it over your hair, and allow it to sink into your scalp before rinsing it.

And if you don’t trust in methods like this, you may try an ultra clean shampoo like Zydot. It’s made by professionals to beat drug tests.

Use Mouthwash

Swab tests have become increasingly popular in drug testing because of their minimally invasive process. They are primarily used to test for cannabis, and the results are nearly instant. A great way to pass a swab test at the last minute is to use a detox Mouthwash.

Swish it for at least three minutes, and you will get an accurate result. However, unlike hydrogen peroxide, which degrades the results of swab tests for years, mouthwash isn’t easy to detect.

Drug Testing FAQs

How Much Hair Do You Need For a Hair Drug Test?

Laboratories usually need about 100 milligrams of hair for a hair drug test. This amount equates to about 90-120 strands of hair.

Can Urine Test Detect All Drugs?

A urine test can detect several drugs such as cannabis, barbiturates, nicotine, opioids, and so much more. However, urine tests produce many false positive results depending on the testing time.

If you want to beat a urine drug test – you will surely need a good synthetic urine like UPass. It’s a wide-known product, so you can just google something like “u pass drug test” and read the reviews.

How Does The Drug Detection Window For Hair Compared to Urine and Oral Fluid?

The drug detection window usually varies depending on the drug’s sensitivity and method. For example, you can detect drugs in your hair for as long as 90 days after consumption. On the other hand, urine tests can find medications for 1-7 days and mouth swabs for 48 hours.

Drug testing is a regular part of employment, sports, and legal processes. Several workplaces use different drug-test panels to test for distinct drug families such as marijuana, opioids, cocaine, etc. You need to understand how drug testing works in the advent of false positive results or other policies in your place of work. Plus, it promotes fairness in sports and mitigates on-the-job accidents.

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