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Drug Testing in the Workplace

Drug Testing – Frequently asked questions (FAQ’s)

Why drug test?

When considering drug testing in the Workplace, the first question you should ask is, “Am I required to drug test some of all of my employees?” If not, then ask, “Are there other reasons I should consider drug testing?”

Below are some of the most frequently given reasons why employers should have a drug testing program:

  • To comply with federal regulations, e.g., The Department of Transportation (DOT), Department of Defense, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Department of Energy.
  • To comply with customer or contract requirements.
  • To comply with insurance carrier requirements.
  • To match other employer efforts, and to minimize the chance of hiring employees who may be users or abusers.
  • To reinforce the company position on “No to Drug Use.”
  • To establish grounds for discipline or firing.
  • To improve safety in the workplace.
  • To reduce the costs attributed to alcohol and other drug abuse in the workplace.

Other reasons to employ a drug testing program.

  • To comply with the family court requirements.
  • To identify current users and abusers and refer them for assistance.
  • To settle family disputes.
  • To intervene where drug use is suspected among teenagers.
  • To convince “casual users” that the cost of using is too high.
  • To deter “recreational” drug use that could lead to addiction.
  • To give recovering users another reason to stay sober (relapse prevention).

What types of drug tests are available?

There are several types; blood, hair follicle, saliva, urine and sweat.

Which is more accurate?

It depends on the level of testing that is required. If the test results are needed for court or legal litigation, a certified lab test is generally required.

Which is a better- blood or urine test?

It depends. For blood testing you need needles and a professional, for urine tests you either use a certified technician, or do it yourself.  Urine testing has a wider detection windowand is the better option.

Regarding verification and accuracy, how is the collection conducted?

We follow our collection policy closely. We verify donor’s identification by photo I.D., and have them remove coats, jackets, or purses.  We use all methods to reduce efforts to adulterate the specimens. (i.e. specimen validity test prior to the drug test and urine temperature test.)

What are “on site” tests?

This is an instant drug test and is an immunoassay test, this will indicate a positive or negative results only.

How long does marijuana stay in the body?

Depends on the frequency, amounts and potency of the drug that the user ingests. Possibly up to 30 days because THC; the compound in marijuana blends with the fat cells.

What are the signs of a person using Marijuana?

Altered perceptions, blood shot eyes, dry mouth, reduced concentration and coordination, euphoria, panic reaction, impaired and short-term memory.

If I took a couple of hits of marijuana 1 month ago, will it show up on a urine test?

Most likely it won’t show up because the person would have to be a frequent or chronic user and by that we mean a frequent user.

My teenage child may be using Methamphetamines. How can I be sure?

Look for these physical signs: Alertness, talkativeness, increased blood pressure, loss of appetite, wakefulness, loss of weight, mood elevation, irritability, hyperactivity, fatigue, exhaustion, aggressiveness, severe anxiety, paranoia, and or depression.

First detection times in urine:
Drug type Time after ingestion
Amphetamines (AMP) 6-12 hours
Barbiturates (BAR) 6-12 hours
Benzodiazepines (BZO) 6-12 hours
Cannabinoid metabolites (marijuana) (THC) 4-6 hours
Cocaine metabolites (benzoylecgonine) (COC) 2-4 hours
Methadone (MTD) 6-12 hours
Opiates (heroin, morphine, codeine) (OPI) 6-12 hours
Phencyclidine (PCP) 6-12 hours
Drug detection times
Drug type infreq. user freq. user chronic user
Marijuana 2-5 days 4-14 days up to 2-3 months
Phencyclidine 1-3 days 3-7 days up to about 1 month
Diazepam 2-5 days 4-14 days up to about 1 month
Chlordiazepoxide 2-5 days 4-14 days up to about 1 month
Methaqualone 2-4 days 3-8 days several weeks
Amphetamines 1-3 days 2-6 days several weeks
Phenobarbital 4-8 days 5-15 days 1 month or more
Secobarbital 2-4 days 4-8 days several weeks
Cocaine (as the metabolite benzoylecgonine) 12-48 hours 1-4 days up to several weeks
Codeine 1-3 days 2-5 days up to several weeks
Morphine 12-48 hours 2-6 days up to several weeks
Methadone 1-4 days 2-10 days up to several weeks
Merpheridine 6-24 hours 1-3 days up to 1 week
Propoxyphene 1-3 days 2-5 days up to several weeks