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Drug Screening Tests

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Drug Screening Tests

An employer has several options for drug screening each with various cost, accuracy, and methods of obtaining the specimen from the donor. The company should have a certified reliable laboratory to perform the tests and maintain the employee's confidentiality. Drug testing should be done by trained personnel and in accordance with state and federal law and as stated in the company's policy. No method of drug screening has absolute accuracy because they are subject to intentional adulteration and similar drugs like dietary supplements, Codeine containing medications, decongestants, and poppy seeds can also fool drug test (Osterloh & Becker, 1990). If a sample is found to be positive it is sent for a second test to verify the results.

Urine Test

The urine drug test is the most popularly used form of workplace drug testing. The urine test is reliable, accurate, fast, and inexpensive compared to other drug screening tests. Disadvantages to the urine testing method are the ability of the donor to corrupt the sample, the embarrassing and invasive nature of collection, and the three-day to one-month detection window. Urine samples can be easily contaminated with products like Visine eye drops, vinegar, lemon juice, goldenseal tea, and liquid soup that cause a false negative (Osterloh & Becker, 1990).

Saliva Test

The saliva test involves a swab of the inside of the donor's mouth. The procedure is less invasive and embarrassing for the donor. The saliva test cost more than the urine screening method but is reliable, easy to collect, and noninvasive. This test determines more recent use of drugs, provides fast results, harder to corrupt, and does not require a laboratory. The detection window varies from a few hours to three to four days.

Hair Test

Hair drug screening requires a sample of the donor's hair. This test requires the use of laboratory equipment. Every inch and a half of hair growth can be tested for 90 days of drug history and body hair can reveal one year of drug use giving it the longest window of detection. Hair drug screening provides a safe and easy collection method with little opportunity to corrupt the sample. The disadvantages of this method are the cost, do not detect recent use, and takes a few days for the results.

Sweat Test

The sweat test is the least popular drug-screening test used because it is time consuming. This test requires a donor to wear a patch for 10-14 days and not as effective as the faster urine test. The donor can contaminate this form of screening because they are not under constant supervision and people differ largely in their sweat production rates making the results inconclusive. Although the results are obtained in minutes the sweat test detects a limited number of drugs. The test is donor friendly, noninvasive, and provides a prolonged detection window.

Internet companies exist that promise products to pass drug screening by employers. Some offer nutritional supplements claiming to detox ones blood, urine, hair, and saliva of marijuana, cocaine, and opiates. Other offers additives to mix with urine, clean substitution urine, shampoos, detoxification drinks, and gum. With so many opportunities to cheat on drug screening it is important to minimize the risk without risking a lawsuit.

Drug Testing Programs

Drug testing in the workplace must abide by federal and state laws. Each state has laws governing mandatory and voluntary drug screening by employers. According to Carpenter, drug testing will deter workers from using drugs and alcohol (2007). Drug testing programs are in place to reduce absenteeism, accidents, and problems with productivity therefore reducing cost for the company.

Pre employment

More companies are testing potential new employees for drug use to maintain a drug-free environment. During the interview process the potential employee is made aware of the policy to screen new employees. The potential employee should be tested when offered the position to avoid the opportunity to alter test results. The employee who tests positive may not be suitable for the position if the position could



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