Determining the best drug testing method applicable for your organization, it is very important to choose the set if standards that suits perfectly with your organizational needs. While in some organizations one of the most important considerations in their drug testing program is the window of detection. It is basically the time frame in which a drug can be detected since they were last used by a candidate. There are some other organizations on the other hand for whom drug testing costs or turnaround times are much more important consideration. Below we have made a list that will help you find an overview of the main drug testing methods which are adopted by various organization and the pros and cons to each method.
Urine Drug Test Method
Urine drug testing has been one of the most common and basic drug testing methods which have been in practice for many years. The setting of laboratories as well as the collection sites is the main reason behind this test being so popular among the pre-employment drug testing methods. Urine drug testing is also one of the drugs testing method mentioned in the government approved list of the pre-employment testing. All urine specimens that are collected from the candidates are sent through a strict screening process which is followed by confirmatory testing. This confirmatory testing is performed by gas Chromatography or by the process of mass spectrometry (GC/MS) which is used for testing the presence of a specific drug in the urine or body.Apart from all these urine testing has a vast nationwide network of collection sites and it is also cost effectiveness which makes urine drug testing the most popular method of drug test in most of the organization. It should be mentioned here that 85% of drug tests processed by most of the background verification companies are urine drug tests.
Window of Detection: Typically within 1-4 days
Following are the Pros and cons that mist be considered while using Urine Drug Testing at your organization.
- Certified laboratories follow the same standardized process for testing specimens to insure validity
- Cost effective
- Nationwide collection site coverage
- Customization of testing panels
- Most likely of all testing methods to withstand legal challenge
- Instant and Lab-Based testing options available.
- Limited window of detection
- Due to the lack of observation during collection, the specimen can be substituted, adultered, or diluted by donor
- Issues with Shy Bladder (Paruresis)
- Observed collections require same sex collector, which may not be available at the time of collection
- Biological hazard for specimen handling and shipping to laboratory
Hair Drug Test Method
Hair drug testing is primarily used by most of the employers are considering a longer window of detection that will show the traces of any habitual drug use in the prospective candidates. This method of pre – employment drug testing has also been proven to deliver accurate and more positive test rates in comparison to the urine drug tests directly. In the recent years it has been noticed that there has been noticeable rise in the number of the organizations adopting hair drug testing method.Studies have proven that about 10% of drug tests processed by the pre-employment background verification agencies are hair drug tests.
Window of Detection: Up to 90 days
Below in the lust of the pros and cons that must be considered while using Hair Drug Testing at your organization:
- Longer window of detection – measures chronic drug use
- Convenient shipping and storage
- Requires collection to be completed by a technician, thus decreasing the ability to adulterate
- More expensive than urine or oral fluid testing
- Limited testing panels available
- Does not detect drug use within 5-7 days of collection
- Collection complications due to length or lack of hair
Oral Fluid/Saliva Drug Test Method
Another method of pre-employment drug testing is the oral fluid drug testing which is largely adopted by many recruiters to find traces of drug usage by any prospective candidate. The samples required for oral fluid drug testing can be collected in spot by the employers. Lately it has been witnessed that there is a sudden a rise in oral fluid testing demand by the modern recruiters both in respect of pre- employment and roll on checks. Oral fluid testing is also a great option for recruiters who are involved in mass hiring, such as campus recruitments or hiring events. Due to the high level of convenience, ease of collection and the overall cost effectiveness, oral fluid testing may be a great fit for your company. Though this method of test is gaining popularity but still only 5% of drug tests performed by the background agencies are oral fluid / saliva drug tests and this data includes only the lab-based oral fluid tests.
Window of Detection: Traces of drugs can be detected up till a period of 48 hours even after use.
Following are the pros and cons that must be considered before you adopt oral fluid testing at your organization:
- Direct observation
- Reflects recent drug use
- Minimal risk of tampering with specimen
- Easy collection
- Cost effective
- Instant and Lab-Based testing options available
- Shortest detection window
- Not all collection devices are FDA Approved
- Inventory to be maintained by employer
Although urine drug testing is the most popular type of drug test used at organizations, there are many reasons why an organization may go with hair testing or oral fluid testing as an alternative. Understanding the basics of each testing type to compare with your company’s needs will get you on the right path for deciding on a new drug testing program or reevaluating the drug testing program you already have in place.
When determining an employment drug testing method for your organization it is important to decide the criteria that fit best with your organizational needs. This blog explains more.
cFIRST Think Tank is the team that researches and produces content for cFirst. This team comprises of seasoned content and digital design professionals and background screening industry veterans. Together we produce insightful blogs, infographics and reports meant for HR and background screening professionals.