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Lab Based vs Instant or Rapid Drug Testing

15 Apr 2016

Today, drug testing has become one of the most common ways used to screen potential employees, affirm insurance claims, and more. Simply put, it’s a part of life for millions of people and organizations.
 
But not all drug tests are created equally. Two options are lab based or instant tests, and while they can look for similar substances in one’s body there are some significant differences between the two. Taking a closer look at them will help you figure out which is right for your situation.

The biggest factor that helps most decide between the two is often time. Instant tests obviously provide increased convenience and faster turnaround times. However, lab based testing has come a long way over the last few years and today results are faster than ever. Because of this, looking at some other factors is worth doing.

  • How many substances do you want the drug screening test to check for? Often, instant tests will only provide a few simple tests and won’t cover all of the substances that can potentially be abused. Lab based tests can check for almost any substance.
  • How far back in the subject’s history do you intend to check? Using a hair based drug screening test will let you look further back, but it can only be processed by a lab. The instant tests usually only go back a few weeks or even just a few days in some cases.
  • Accuracy is probably the biggest consideration to take into account. Lab based testing is much more accurate. Not only does it turn up more accurate findings in terms of who is using what, but the chance of false positives is greatly reduced. This protects companies and organizations as well as the individual.
  • Finally, it’s worth considering whether or not a company’s employees are capable of handling test results. With instant tests an organization is responsible for collecting samples, running tests, and reading results. As such, there is heightened responsibility for those involved. Often, this is more than employees are capable of managing.

In general, cost is often considered as well but thanks to modern technology the overall costs when compared to the accuracy and results you receive are much better with lab based results. Instant testing does have some benefits and some uses, but when accuracy and depth of testing matters it may be worth looking more intently at lab based drug screening test options.