What Types Of Drug Screening Can Be Administered?

When it comes to employee drug screening, most people just figure they’ll be getting a urine test—probably because that’s the type of test that’s administered during pre-employment. However, there are different types of tests that may need to be used depending on the specific situation that’s going on with an employee.

The two things that determine the type of drug test are which drugs an employer wants to screen for, and what type of sample they want to test with.

Different drug tests can check for different amounts of drugs. For instance, there are 5 panel drug tests, 8 panel drug tests, 10 panel drug tests, and more. A 5 panel drug test checks for five drugs, an 12 panel drug test checks for eight, and so on. The type of screening an employee will receive will depend on how many or what drugs an employer is checking for.

  • A 5 panel drug test looks for marijuanacocaineamphetaminesheroin/morphine/codeine, and PCP. This is the test most commonly used for careers such as airline pilots, mechanics, truck drivers, etc.
  • A 10 panel drug test looks for the above, plus benzodiazepines (like Xanax), barbituratesmethadonepropoxyphene, and Quaaludes. This test is used more for those in the healthcare industry, such as those who may be using prescription drugs illegally.
  • A 12 panel drug test looks for the above, plus molly/ecstasy, and oxycodone/hydrocodone.
  • A 14 panel drug test looks for the above, plus Demerol and Tramadol.
  • A 20 panel drug test looks for the above, plus buprenorphinefentanylketaminenaloxonebutorphanol/meprobamate/pentazocine, and nalbuphine/naltrexone.

When it comes to the kind of sample employers can use to do drug testing, there are a few options:

Urine Drug Screening

Urology tests are the most common, and this the reason that so many people automatically think it’s the test that they’ll be given. A urine test is the most commonly used because the sample is easy to collect and allows for a quick result time, and is cheap.

Hair Drug Screening

Hair drug tests are very accurate, and have the ability to test for drugs that may have been taken months before. The reason that hair drug screenings aren’t more commonly used is due to their cost.

Saliva Drug Screening

Saliva testing is very cheap and easy to collect—however, it only tests for a few very basic drugs, and it also only shows if drugs have been taken a few hours before.

Blood Drug Screening

More expensive than saliva and urine tests, but less expensive than hair drug test, a blood test is very accurate and can show if drugs were taken months before. However, besides being more pricey, blood tests also require a specialized method of collection, and are therefore not administered very often unless a specific situation calls for it.

The bottom line is: in most cases urine drug testing will be used, but depending on a particular situation, others may be required.

Watch the video below for more information on the different drug screening types:

Drug screenings are typically given to employees pre-employment, under reasonable suspicion of drug use, after an accident at work, through a random drug testing program, through regular periodic testing, or when an employee is returning to work after previously testing positive and after having undergone required substance treatment.

If you want to learn more about drug screenings and the requirements involved, take a look at New Era’s Compliant Drug And Alcohol Testing page. New Era Drug Testing is a DOT drug testing company that provides companies that need to be DOT-compliant with programs and solutions. If you have any questions about DOT drug compliance for employers, please contact us.