What is drug testing?

Drugs eventually show up in body fluids and hair in one form or another. There are five primary types of drug tests: urine, blood, hair, saliva, and sweat.

Urine analysis is less invasive than blood analysis, typically the least expensive and can detect infrequent or recent single use.

Hair analysis is the least invasive, but might not reveal recent use. In hair, certain drugs can be detected for longer periods historically, but typically only for heavy-duty and continuous use.

Blood analysis is the most accurate but most invasive.

Drug detection times are affect by frequency of use, type of specimen, test method, cutoff levels, metabolism, and other factors.

Drug testing cutoff levels are the minimum concentrations of drugs or metabolites that must be present in specimens, before labs will report the drug testing results as positive.

Pre-employment drug testing is by far the most common type of drug test used by businesses. It has the advantage of being inexpensive, since only one test per employee needs to be paid for by the company.

Random drug testing is the most effective drug deterrence method. The goal of random testing is to discourage drug use among employees.

Post-incident drug testing in not a very commonly administered test compared to the other two, but the financial ramifications of not testing employees after an accident (or other incident) on the job makes this test worthwhile for most businesses.