So, let’s get started by breaking down each type of test. This information reflects the use of lab-based drug screening information.
|Test Type||CollectionType||Collector||Drug Detection Time||Result Turn around Time||Panels* (what drugs will you test for)|
|Saliva/OralFluid||Almost anywhere||The employee does a self-collect while monitored by a manager or supervisor trained for oral fluid collection||Approx. 12 to24 hrs||1 to 2 days negative 3 to 5days positive||Mainly limited to 4, 5, and 9,10 panels|
|Urine||A collection site or onsite||Certified DOTcollector||Approx. 72hours, except for marijuana and a few long-term suspension drugs, generally narcotics||1 to 2 days negative 3 to 5 days positive||A wide variety you can create or use basic 4,5 and 9, 10 panels|
|Hair||A collection site or onsite||Certified DOTcollector||Approx. 90days||1 to 2 days negative 3 to 5 days positive||Limited to specific panels range 4 to 17 panel|
When deciding which drug test to use, you must determine the goals of your testing program, such as creating a safe workplace, reducing workers comp claims and costs, health care costs, avoiding being the employer of last resort, reducing downtime, workplace accidents, employee loyalty, and the morale of employees.
If you want to determine if someone is at-the-moment under the influence, your best option is to conduct a lab-based oral fluid test or a urine drug test. In general, oral fluid identifies use within 12 to 24hours, while urine testing has a longer detection window. Is the window of detection important to your organization? While not a guarantee that the person is impaired at the moment, a test result and first-hand observations can make a strong case for impairment. Unlike a breathalyzer for alcohol, there is currently no accepted standard form of drug testing that can determine at moment impairment this is most acutely the case for marijuana
Urine drug screening is commonly used for all forms of testing (post-offer, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, return to work, and follow-up). The US Department of Labor and the US Department of transportation standard for evidence of “current use.” For a Drug-Free Workplace Program, urine is an excellent option to deter use of any kind. Deterrence is often the most valuable and least appreciated benefit of a well-written and implemented drug-free workplace program.
Hair testing provides an approximately 90-day window of drug use. So a candidate who tests negative on a urine or saliva test may be positive on a hair test. Hair tests indicate past use but not necessarily use in the last couple of days. Hair testing is a good option for post-offer of employment in high-risk positions. It may also help monitor a person going through an extended and/or mandated substance abuse rehabilitation program.
As you decide which drug testing type will be the most effective and efficient for your organization, a combination of all two or three options may be the best choice. It is essential to follow all local, state, and federal regulations. Whichever route you choose, it is imperative to have a solid drug-free workplace policy in place, and it is a good idea to have your program overseen on your behalf by a qualified third-party drug testing administrator.