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A Comprehensive Overview on Drug Testing for Employment

A Comprehensive Overview on Drug Testing for Employment

Testing for drugs and alcohol has been a part of many workplaces for decades. Employers need to test their employees, but it’s also important for employees to know their rights and understand how drug testing works. In this article, you’ll take an in-depth look at drug test for employment and the different methods used to determine if a substance impairs someone.

What is a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

A pre-employment drug test tests potential employees for drug use before they begin the job. This type of test aims to ensure that the individual has no history or current use of illegal drugs and will not be a danger or liability to others or themselves while on the job. Pre-employment drug testing can be done in one of two ways:

  • As part of a routine physical examination
  • With a specific test specifically called for by your employer

Why should employers require pre-employment drug testing?

Employers should require pre-employment drug testing to ensure the safety of their employees and customers, themselves, their property and their reputation. They must also be able to confidently assume that they are not liable for accidents caused by employees whose drugs have impaired. In addition, drug test for employees can help employers determine whether an applicant is fit for work. In addition, it allows them to test for drugs that may lead to injuries or fatalities in the workplace and other substances that might impair a worker’s performance on the job.

The legality of employee drug testing

Employers are allowed to conduct drug tests if the test is part of a routine medical examination or condition of employment. For example, an employer may require that all applicants take a drug test before they begin their job. It is also legal for employers to randomly test employees who have been granted access to certain sensitive information or equipment.

Employers may not discriminate against job applicants based on their current or previous use of illegal drugs. However, federal law does allow employers to refuse applicants who currently use illegal drugs or abuse alcohol.

Drug testing specimen types

  • Breath
  • Blood
  • Hair
  • Oral fluid (saliva)
  • Sweat/body fluid (sweat and urine are the most common tests)


Blood is the most common specimen type collected in a blood collection tube. The presence of drugs in the blood will depend on how long ago they were taken and how much drug was taken. Drugs are stored in fat cells, which can be detected for months after use. Therefore, drug testing can detect drugs for up to 3 months after use.


Breath testing is the most common drug test for employment. The simplest type of breath test involves blowing into a small tube, known as a “breathalyzer,” which measures the amount of alcohol in your breath. An employer or third-party service provider usually administers breath tests, and they can detect recent drug use (within the last few hours).

Breath tests are very accurate and can determine whether you have used drugs within the last few hours, but they do not provide information about how much alcohol was consumed over a longer period of time. They also cannot simultaneously detect all types of drugs as urine or saliva tests can. For example, if you smoked marijuana three days ago but no longer have any THC in your system now, there would be no way for a traditional breathalyzer to detect this fact. It is because there will only be residual amounts left over from that long ago smoking session.


Hair is the most accurate method of drug testing. It can be tested for up to 90 days and is not affected by external factors like diet or environment. This makes it a superior test compared to urine tests and blood tests.

Oral fluid

Oral fluid and urine are the two most preferred ways to conduct drug testing. They are both derived from the body, but oral fluid is an alternative that can be used in some situations.

Although this might not seem like a big deal, taking a mouth swab instead of urinating in a cup can help reduce privacy concerns brought on by certain drugs or illegal activities (i.e., marijuana).

Oral fluid is similar to saliva, which is collected through swabs placed under your tongue and rolled over your gums for about two minutes before being stored in vials for analysis. It can provide results within five minutes after collection. But only if they’re taken within 90 minutes of ingestion and test positive for drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, cannabis/marijuana, opiates and phencyclidine (PCP).


Sweat drug testing is a relatively new method of collecting a sample for drug testing. It’s non-invasive, so it doesn’t require any needles or blood draws. Instead, it involves placing the sample in an absorbent patch worn on your skin for several days prior to sending it off for analysis.

The advantage of sweat drug testing is that it can detect THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) up to 30 days after use — much longer than urine tests which typically show only recent use. The disadvantage is that some false positives are due to other factors like medications or exercise. If you have any reason to believe this might be an issue for you, consult your doctor before taking part in the test.


Urine testing is the most common drug test and the easiest to administer. Urine testing is less expensive than other types of drug tests because it requires no special equipment or expertise. It can detect drug use within a few days after ingestion, making it an ideal choice for some employers who need to know if employees have recently used drugs.

As you can see, many types of drug tests can be administered. The most common type is the urine test, which is also the least expensive method. However, given its poor detection rate for many drugs, it’s not recommended unless you want to catch people who are currently using marijuana or cocaine. Blood testing has a higher detection rate but requires more time and money from both parties involved due to its invasive nature. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand what is drug test for employment is and the methods in which it is conducted.

Irrespective of what method is used, drug testing is a legal and correct way to ensure you have the right employee in your organization. Research and invest in good drug screening services that provide accurate results.