Drug screening is a complex process of chemical analysis or test done to someone for drug abuse or to ensure that a patient is substance-free before undergoing a medical procedure. There are a variety of employment-related drug and alcohol tests or screening used by employers depending on the drug or substance that one is being screened for. Urine drug tests, blood drug tests, hair drug tests, breath alcohol tests, saliva drug screens, and sweat drug screens are some methods used. Some reasons screening is done to employees by employers are to eliminate chances of drug abuse by employees, increase productivity, reduce accidents in the workplace, reduce company costs in terms of medical expenses and even new employee recruitment.
Methods of Drug Screening
The most common method used is urine tests or it is called urinalysis. Urinalysis is the most commonly used method used to test for alcohol or any illegal drug usage and it is fast and accurate. It shows traces of the substance even after a long time. However accurate it is, someone can easily temper with the screening process very easily by simply providing another person’s urine if they know their urine sample is contaminated and thus providing wrong results.
Blood screening is the second best method that shows the presence of alcohol and any drug abuse in the body system. A blood test measures the amount of alcohol or drugs in the blood at the time the blood is drawn since substance taken stays in the blood for a longer than, unlike urine. This method is best used in athletes to identify drug traces in their body.
Breathe alcohol test
The breathalyzer alcohol test is an accurate testing method that is used to measure the level of alcohol one has taken in the past few hours. A breath alcohol test measures how much alcohol is in the air you breathe out. The test usually indicates the level of alcohol is present in the air one breaths out.
This test is performed using a gadget that one is asked to blow in the air and the gadget calculate the content present the air one has exhaled instantly. This screening method is only limited to alcohol only and cannot measure any other substance abuse.
Saliva is also known as oral screening. This is the best method since it is considered to be less intrusive and therefore employers and employees. Oral screening is usually for identifying drug abuse in the body system in the past 48hours and anything after that cannot be traced.
Hair drug screen
A hair drug screen is the least preferred method. It has 3 months window meaning any drug used in the last three months can be detected. Even though this method has a 90-day window it is less used by employers during this screening. The disadvantage with this test is it does not test the presence of alcohol.
In conclusion, the drug screening process is an expensive and time-consuming and every method of test is dependent on the type of substance being tested. First of all before one picks a method they have to know the substance they are testing patient for in order to pick a method.