Drug Testing Guide – Types and Benefits

Drug testing has become a vital practice in numerous industries and companies for pre-employment screening, random testing, and for reasonable suspicion cases to ensure a drug-free workplace. Undeniably, drug abuse causes a higher rate of absenteeism, accidents, and injuries that translate into lost productivity, legal liability, and insurance premiums. The significance of drug testing is not only limited to the security of the workplace but also for employee health and well-being. In this blog post, we will delve into the most common types of drug testing, such as hair drug testing, urine drug testing, and oral fluid drug testing. Additionally, we will discuss the various panels of drug testing, the DOT and non-DOT testing, and its benefits.

Hair Drug Testing

Hair drug testing is a method of drug testing that has gained popularity due to its accuracy, reliability and its ability to find drugs of abuse for up to 90 days. Hair drug testing is a fairly non-invasive test that provides results that go back several months to a year, depending on the length of the hair sample. The test detects the presence of drugs in the hair shaft by taking a small sample from the individual’s head or body hair. Hair drug testing is particularly useful in companies where drug use has a history of being problematic or where an employee’s drug history is needed, such as a 5-panel drug test or a 10-panel drug test. Some of the benefits of hair drug testing include its ability to detect drug use over a more extended period, which allows employers to detect long-term drug use and avoid potential liability issues.  Also the collection process allows for direct observation without the indignity of the observed collection for urine.

Urine Drug Testing

Urine drug testing is the most common type of drug testing that employers use in their workplace drug testing program. This test is the least expensive and most widely available of all the testing methods, meaning that it is affordable and easily accessible. It is a non-invasive test that involves collecting a small amount of urine specimen to check for adulteration or any traces of drugs in the system. Employers use 5-panel drug testing and 10-panel drug testing along with urine drug testing to test for a wide range of drugs in the body. The 5-panel drug test focuses on testing for the five most commonly abused drugs, while the 10-panel test checks for ten drugs, including prescription drugs, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine, among others.

Oral Fluid Drug Testing

Oral fluid drug testing or saliva drug testing is again, a non-invasive drug testing method that has become increasingly popular over the years. This type of testing is relatively new and has not yet been widely adopted. DOT has approved oral fluid testing effective June 1, 2023, however, labs need to get inspected certified before testing can begin.  Oral fluid drug testing involves collecting a small sample of saliva from the individual and testing the sample for drug use. Oral fluid drug testing is less invasive and easier to administer than other forms of testing. Some of its benefits include it being a better representation of recent drug use.  Also the collection process allows for direct observation having them directly observed in the restroom.

DOT & Non-DOT Drug Testing

The Department of Transportation or DOT drug testing is a federally regulated program that specifically tests safety-sensitive employees in the transportation industry, including aviation, trucking, and public transportation. DOT drug testing includes both urine drug testing, oral fluids (effective 6-01-2023) and breath alcohol testing.  Non-DOT drug testing, on the other hand, is any drug testing outside of this federal program. Non-DOT drug testing is less regulated and can include any testing that employers want to perform. DOT drug tests follow strict guidelines and protocols, while non-DOT drug tests do not.  DOT drug testing observes a 5-panel drug test while non-DOT tests can have up to 10 panels for a comprehensive and detailed analysis.

In conclusion, drug testing is a necessary practice that companies and employers must adopt for a drug-free workplace. The different types of drug testing, such as Hair drug testing, urine drug testing, and oral fluid drug testing, provide various benefits in terms of accuracy, reliability, and cost. Besides, panel drug testing, including the 5-panel drug test and 10-panel drug test, helps employers screen for a wide range of drugs, including prescription drugs and self-medication. The DOT and Non-DOT regulations ensure that employers are within strict guidelines while providing test results that guarantee their employees’ safety and lead to better decision making for the productivity of the company. Overall, drug testing is vital for employee well-being, safety and, ultimately, the success of any business or industry.  If you need assistance with a drug free workplace program or need to order a drug screen today, please call our Support Team at 844-573-8378 or support@workplacescreening.com