Understanding The Primary Drug Testing Methods

07 May 2016

Drug testing has become so commonplace that it’s almost expected to take place in many instances throughout our lives now. From a pre-employment screening to a random drug test as part of a probation order, there are a lot of different reasons that drug tests are being used. But what many don’t fully realize is that not only are there numerous reasons for drug tests, but there are also numerous types of drug tests that can be administered.

Taking a closer look at a few of the most common types of drug tests one may undergo can help you learn more about the basics of what to expect and what they could do. Here are some of the basic things to keep in mind.

Hair Test

A hair sample drug test is just what it sounds like. Hair samples are collected and reviewed to determine whether or not a subject has used drugs. These tests are very in-depth and can detect drugs more accurately than other test methods. However, a hair sample drug test is usually more expensive and as such isn’t as commonly used as some other methods.

Oral Test

Oral fluid tests use saliva to test for drugs. They’re a cheap option, but can only accurately detect drug usage within the last few hours and as a result they’re also fairly uncommon due to their unreliability.

Urine Test

Of all the different drug test options out there, the urine drug screen is still the most commonly used. This is because it offers a lower cost than blood or hair tests while still providing accurate readings. Some inaccuracies do occur, but failures are usually retested to ensure the overall veracity of the test. They’re also easy for organizations to collect samples from, requiring no special skills.

Blood Test

A blood drug test is more common than the hair or oral fluid test but less commonly used than urine. However, the blood drug test provides much more accuracy than a urine test and can test for more substances and look further back in a subject’s history. The tradeoff is a higher cost, longer turnaround time, and the need for blood to be drawn in order to run the test.

Each of these drug testing options has its pros and cons, and each could be used in different situations. There are more possibilities than many people realize.