Drug testing can serve a wide variety of purposes, including preventing drug and alcohol use in the workplace. More and more employers are electing to implement drug testing as part of their drug-free workplace policies, but doing so effectively requires a clear understanding of how a drug test works – as well as its limitations.
The Limitations of Drug Testing
In order for drug testing to be a successful deterrent for employee drug use, it’s important that employers take an informed and proactive approach. For example, scheduling regular testing at proper intervals will make a significant difference in your ability to detect – and deter – employee drug use. If your company doesn’t plan for frequent tests, it will be too easy for drug use to slip under the radar.
Coordinating an employee drug testing schedule that fits your company’s goals is much easier when you understand the specific limitations of each type of drug test, as well as drug test detection times for the substances you’re most concerned about. Although the amount of time a substance remains in a person’s system depends on several factors, including dosage, age, sex, weight, and general health, it can be helpful to have a general idea.
Here’s a useful breakdown of the average detection times for many commonly-abused substances, broken down according to drug test type.
Urine Drug Test Detection Times
Urine drug screenings are the most popular option for employers and can be customized to screen for varying combinations of substances. A urinalysis is capable of measuring the presence of a drug long after its effects have dissipated, although specific detection windows depend on the substance. Here are a few examples of average urine drug test detection windows:
- Alcohol: four to five days
- Cocaine: four days
- Marijuana: 30 days
- Heroin: four days
- Amphetamines: three days
Hair Follicle Drug Test Detection Times
Hair drug testing is another widely-used method for employers, particularly because it’s an effective, non-invasive option. This type of drug screening offers the widest detection window, averaging about 90 days from when the substance was used. If you’re looking for a “big picture” perspective on past and current drug use, hair testing can be an excellent fit.
Blood Drug Test Detection Times
Blood drug testing is typically useful in situations in which the goal is to determine whether an employee is presently under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You can analyze a sample for a variety of substances when using blood testing, but the detection window is limited. Certain substances, such as alcohol, amphetamines, and heroin, can only be measured within 12 hours of use. Others, such as marijuana and ecstasy, can be detected by a blood test up to several days after use.
Saliva Drug Test Detection Times
Saliva drug testing is another non-invasive option that is popular with employers and is better for measuring recent use (rather than long-term). Depending on the specific test, and the substances being screened for, saliva drug test detection windows can range from a few hours to a couple of days.
All Your Drug-Testing Needs in One Place: ARCpoint Labs of Seattle
If you’re searching for drug testing in Seattle, ARCpoint Labs of Seattle West can provide a wide variety of options to suit your specific needs. We work closely with employers, individuals, and legal professionals alike, providing an exceptional selection of lab solutions that includes saliva, blood, hair, and urine screenings. Our experienced technicians handle every test with the highest standard of professionalism, ensuring a hassle-free experience and reliable, rapid results.
Learn more about the drug test that best fits your situation by contacting ARCpoint Labs of Seattle today.