What goes on in a drug test? How accurate are these in detecting evidence to prove whether or not an individual is into certain drugs? If you were recently asked by your employer to undergo a drug test, or if you were a business owner who wanted to use drug tests as one of the criteria for accepting new recruits, there are some very basic things you need to know about it.
What is a Drug Test?
Otherwise referred to as drug screening, a drug test is performed to technically analyze a biological specimen for any traces of forbidden drugs and any of its metabolites. Depending on the specific drug test required, a certain human body specimen (like hair, sweat, urine, blood, and saliva) is collected from the person being tested. It is then used in the drug test to show look for anything that may determine that the individual is into illicit drugs.
Types of Drug Tests Available
There is now a wide variety of different tests that may be taken to detect the presence of drugs in the human body. The tests are categorized into two major components: home tests and professional tests. The difference between these two tests includes the following:
As of this writing, there are a number of home drug test kits available and may be purchased over-the-counter in stores or online. These tests typically include collecting urine or saliva, which you may do on your own. Once the specimen has been collected, the test strip is dipped into it for a specific amount of time before the results are revealed. Although these are fairly easy to use and come with detailed instructions, they may often be misleading and incorrect; such as in cheap drug test kits.
At the same time, there are drug test results from high-quality kits that may be affected by external factors. This is why it is best to be extremely careful with the process and to have some knowledge before conducting a drug test at home.
Professional drug tests are typically performed in a sophisticated facility complete with the tools and equipment to make sure the tests are more accurate than home kits. These are performed by trained and licensed experts as they involve more than just urine or saliva. The drug tests that may be performed in such facilities include:
- Urinalysis (Urine Test)
- Blood Test
- Swab (Saliva Test)
- Hair Drug Test
How Accurate are Drug Tests?
Whether or not you choose to get a home drug testing kit or go to a professional facility, the tests can show an accurate result once it was done properly. One of the key factors that may lead to a misleading result is how specimen was collected. For example, the collected urine should have a temperature between 96 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit. The urine should also be in a sanitized container to avoid contamination.
Another factor to consider is that there is a detection window that needs to be followed strictly. If the specimen was collected too soon or too late, it may not lead to accurate results. For this reason, random drug testing without prior knowledge is the best way to go about with the tests.
Drug tests in the workplace is a controversial topic. Here are some resources that can help you – whether you are an employee or employer – to understand the ins and outs of drug tests for business environment:
Cover photo credit: Alex E. Proimos / Flickrt