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Introduction:

Drug testing has become an inevitable part of the working economy across the world. There are numerous drug tests out there to detect the presence of illegal substances present in the body of a person. But the big question here is what kind of specimens gives the best and accurate results?

Drug testing labs have been using urine, saliva, hair, blood, etc. for the purpose of drug testing. But which one of these is the best to get a precise outcome? Let’s find out!

What used to be the gold-standard for specimens?

Earlier when drug testing was being introduced to workplaces, urine was the standard specimen for screening processes. It offered various benefits like easy to collect, easy to transport, non-invasive method of sample collection, inexpensive to test etc. It was also deemed the most appropriate way to collect samples.

Here’s the twist, the numbers from the drug testing results quickly started falling from double digits to single digits. Now that they were at a meagre 3%, the drug testing professionals started getting suspicious about the drug users being smart and manipulating the results by some means.

What changed the scenario?

Artificially low rates of positive results! That is what changed the scenario and urged the employers to have another system or multiple systems in place to detect the presence of drugs. Even the self-reported amount of drug usage was turning out to be thrice as much as the lab detected amount.

That is when the employers started shifting to a combination of specimens for drug testing. This makes the screening program more effective and accurate, and hence, the workplaces are safer for employees and other people as well.

Specimens, their pros and cons:

Urine:

Urine still remains widely used in screening procedures but the only problem with this specimen is that it is highly vulnerable to cheating. One could easily manipulate, exchange or tamper with the specimen in multiple ways.

Pros:

  • Comparatively dependable
  • Approved for federal testing
  • Useful for testing recent drug use
  • Inexpensive and trustworthy for preliminary testing
  • Useful for screening processes such as pre-employment, return-to-duty, random drug testing, post-accident, etc.
  • Proven track record in the industry and trusted by a lot of people

Cons:

  • Could be diluted because the collection is not under surveillance
  • Could be manipulated due to similar reasons
  • Can be substituted or tampered with in multiple ways
  • Does not help in measuring the frequency of drug use
  • Only helpful and reliable for recent drug use

Saliva:

Saliva is one of the best specimens one could rely on for drug testing due to various reasons. One of these reasons is that even though the donor is responsible for collecting the sample, there are no chances of tampering with the sample because the collection is a supervised process. 

Additionally, it is the best choice for drug screenings like post-accident testing or reasonable testing due to its narrow detection window.

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Can generate results for recent drug use (up to 48 hours)
  • Sample collection is easy
  • It is difficult to manipulate the samples
  • Useful for screening processes such as pre-employment, return-to-duty, random, post-accident, etc. testing

Cons: 

  • Can’t measure the frequency of drug usage
  • Not approved for federal drug testing yet
  • Narrow detection window doesn’t allow to test for drug use beyond 48 hours

Hair:

As you must have seen, saliva and urine specimens go hand in hand when it comes to drawbacks.  Both of them have a narrow detection window and both these specimens do not allow checking for long-term drug usage. When it comes to hair, this specimen is extremely useful to have a long-term detection window.

It is quite easy for a person to just stop using the drugs for a few days to negate the results obtained from their previous screening if saliva and urine are taken as the specimens. However, it becomes extremely difficult for a person to remove the traces of drugs from their hair for at least 90 days or more.

Pros:

  • The long-term detection window permits no manipulation 
  • Allows to check for drug usage prior to months before employment
  • Good for a return to duty screening  to make sure the person is clean
  • A good test for cocaine detection and reveals a lot about drug consumption history

Cons:

  • Expensive test to conduct if you are conducting just a reasonable suspicion check
  • Cannot be used to check for drug use as recent as 24-48 hours
  • The traces of drugs can only be found in hair after 4-5 days
  • Not preferred for post-accident or reasonable suspicion testing

Drug testing services and programs:

Each employer should consider structuring the best drug testing policy by incorporating the use of crucial specimens in the process. Drug addiction could be either a choice or a disease of the employee, but it is the employer that is responsible to find out if the person is addicted and help them get back on track.

The correct choice of specimens and a proper wireframe to conduct these tests is extremely important. To achieve an optimum and safe environment for you and your surroundings, it is very important to invest in services and professionals that help you achieve the same. 24/7 Onsite is the best drug testing service available at the Port of Corpus Christi, and you can avail of their services for each of the screening procedures mentioned in this article.

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