Instant Vs. Laboratory Drug Testing: What’s The Difference?

Laboratory Drug Testing

When it comes to analyzing the presence of drugs in the workplace, there are two popular testing methods: instant drug testing and laboratory drug testing. While these tests both aim to detect illegal substances, they do so in a different manner – meaning that in certain cases, one method may be more accurate or cost-effective than the other.

Drug and alcohol testing plays an essential role in staying DOT-compliant. In this blog post, we explain the differences between instant and laboratory drug testing, which is needed for DOT compliance, and the pros & cons of each method so you can decide which type of test is best for your particular situation.

What Is Instant Drug Testing

Instant drug testing is a quick and easy form of testing that yields instant findings. This form of testing is often employed in areas where drug testing is required on a regular basis, including transportation and construction, as well as for post-accident testing.

Immediate drug testing normally entails taking a sample, such as urine or saliva, and detecting the presence of drugs or alcohol in the sample using a gadget. This sort of testing is capable of detecting a variety of substances, including marijuana, cocaine, opioids, and alcohol, making it a versatile option for drug and alcohol testing.

Rapid drug testing, also known as instant drug and alcohol testing, is available for testing numerous drugs at the same time, which can save time and boost efficiency. While instant drug testing is a beneficial tool for companies and organizations, it should be noted that it has limits, such as the possibility of false positives and the inability to identify some substances. As a result, when selecting a drug testing method, it is critical to evaluate your organization’s specific demands.

Pros & Cons Of Instant Drug Testing

Instant drug testing is a popular form of substance assessment, but it’s not without its pros and cons. Quick drug checks can be incredibly useful for employers or law enforcement seeking to quickly identify narcotics use; however, they also have some drawbacks that should be taken into consideration before making the decision to implement this type of screening process.

Advantages of instant drug testing:

  • Fast results: Because instant drug testing produces results in minutes, it is a suitable solution for sectors that require regular testing or post-accident testing.
  • Cost-effective: As compared to laboratory drug testing, rapid drug testing is often less expensive, which can be advantageous for businesses on a tight budget.
  • Convenient: On-site instant drug testing eliminates the need to transfer samples to a laboratory and reduces wait periods.
  • Versatile: Rapid drug testing can detect marijuana, cocaine, painkillers, and alcohol, among other substances. Moreover, instant drug and alcohol testing can screen for many substances at the same time, enhancing efficiency.

Disadvantages of instant drug testing:

  • Restrictions on detection: While rapid drug testing can detect a variety of substances, it may not detect all drugs or alcohol. Certain compounds may be missed throughout the testing process.
  • False positives: Because of cross-reactivity with other substances, instant drug testing might create false positives, resulting in erroneous findings.
  • Reduced accuracy: When compared to laboratory drug testing, rapid drug testing produces more erroneous results.
  • Inadequate confirmation: Even if a positive result is acquired by quick drug testing, it must still be confirmed through laboratory testing to assure accuracy.

When deciding on a drug testing method for your firm, it is critical to examine the benefits and drawbacks of quick drug testing. While rapid drug testing is simple and inexpensive, it is not always the most reliable or thorough alternative.

Laboratory Drug Testing

Laboratory drug testing, often known as a lab-based drug test, is a thorough and accurate way of testing for drugs. A sample, such as urine, hair, or blood, is collected and sent to a laboratory for analysis.

The sample is analyzed for the presence of drugs or alcohol at the lab using advanced equipment, and the findings are available within a few days. A lab drug test can identify a wide variety of substances, including marijuana, cocaine, opioids, and alcohol, and can provide more specific information about a person’s substance levels.

Pros & Cons Of Lab Drug Testing

Lab-based drug testing is a reliable, comprehensive way to detect compounds present in the body. It has several benefits, such as accuracy and detection of more complex substances; however there are some drawbacks too – it can be costly and time-consuming. Understanding its advantages and disadvantages will help you make an informed decision about employing this method for your own needs!

Advantages of lab-based drug testing:

  • Greater accuracy: Because lab-based drug testing is performed in a controlled setting by skilled specialists, it has a lesser risk of producing false positives or erroneous results than quick drug testing.
  • Extensive: Lab-based drug testing can identify a wide range of substances, including marijuana, cocaine, opioids, and alcohol, and can provide more specific information about a person’s substance levels.
  • Addiction treatment: Hair testing can detect drug usage over a longer period of time, making it a valuable tool for drug addiction treatment programs.
  • Preferred by particular industries: Because of its better accuracy and more thorough information, lab-based drug testing is preferred by industries where safety is a key priority, such as transportation or healthcare.

Disadvantages of lab-based drug testing:

  • Longer turnaround time: Results from lab-based drug testing might take several days, which can be inconvenient for companies that require frequent testing or post-accident testing.
  • Pricier: Lab-based drug testing is often more expensive than quick drug testing, which can be an issue for companies on a tight budget.
  • Intrusive: Certain lab-based drug testing methods, such as blood or hair testing, can be invasive and unpleasant for the person being tested.
  •  Narrow detection window: Lab-based drug testing may not detect drug usage in a short period of time, such as the last few hours.

When deciding on a drug testing method for your firm, it is critical to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of lab-based drug testing. While lab-based drug testing is more accurate and comprehensive, it is more expensive and takes longer to obtain findings than quick drug testing.

When To Use Instant Vs. Laboratory Drug Testing

There are various aspects to consider while determining which drug testing method to utilize. These factors include the type of substance being tested, the number of employees being tested, the location of the testing, and the importance of the test results.

Instant drug testing, for example, may be more appropriate for pre-employment testing or scenarios requiring rapid findings, whereas laboratory drug testing may be more suited for random drug testing or testing a large number of personnel.

It is important to note that in order to remain DOT-compliant, laboratory drug testing is the only acceptable form of testing. DOT does not accept instant drug and alcohol testing, however, for non-DOT employers, rapid testing is an available option.

Why Choose New Era Drug Testing?

To fulfill the demands of our clients, New Era Drug Testing provides both immediate and laboratory drug testing services. We recognize that every case is unique, and we collaborate with our clients to establish the optimal testing approach for their specific requirements.

Certified labs execute our laboratory testing services, providing the greatest degree of accuracy and compliance with federal standards. We also provide short turnaround times for our laboratory testing, allowing you to have the data you need as soon as possible.

Our instant testing services are carried out with the help of high-quality test kits that are designed to offer accurate results quickly and conveniently. We also provide a variety of rapid testing choices, such as urine, saliva, and breath alcohol testing.

New Era Drug Testing will provide you with either instant or laboratory drug testing services. To learn more about our services and how we can assist you in keeping your workplace drug-free, contact our support team or call us at 800-801-0966.