US Drug Test Centers Blog

The Most Common Questions We Get About Drug Testing

Posted: Feb 27 2020

hand and pill bottle

By: Ashlee Arnold

Drug testing should be a common practice for employers, especially with the rampant use of illicit drugs both outside and inside the workplace. However, not many people know enough about drug testing to properly implement it. People often visit centers not knowing what to look for. Employers don't know what kind of drug tests to require their employees to take. Others don't know how to handle suspicious drug use at the workplace.

So, to help you understand better, let's answer the most common questions we get about drug testing.

The Most Common Questions About Drug Testing

"Is it okay to drug test if we don't have a drug testing policy in place?"

Before requiring drug tests from employees, it's important to have a drug-free workplace policy, especially from a liability standpoint. Think about it – what will you do if a person tests positive?

A drug-free workplace policy outlines everything about the testing and the consequences of violations, so you can address situations accordingly and be protected under law. This ensures workers' safety from potential dangers of alcohol and drug use at work, thus boosting their morale and productivity.

US Drug Test Centers offers drug testing policies and can customize a manual that guarantees a comprehensive drug-free workplace program for your specific workplace.

"What do I do if I think my employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol?"

You must have reasonable suspicion to test an employee who might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It shouldn't be based on guesses or gut feelings. Rather, it should be documented by trained supervisors who can properly identify drug or alcohol impairment. Also, make sure you have another witness to support your observations.

If the employee becomes a threat, take them to a safe place like a conference room. Act in accordance with your drug-free workplace policy, following protocols on how management or HR should respond. Other measures include meeting them face-to-face so they can share their side of the story, and providing transportation to the drug testing location and their home.

US Drug Test Centers offers trainings to assist employers with proper implementation of policies and maintenance of a drug-free workplace.

"With medical marijuana, can I maintain a drug-free workplace?"

Various federal laws require all employers to provide a safe and healthy work environment, especially businesses related to public safety, security, transportation, and industries involving machinery. It's vital that employees are not impaired while at work. Otherwise, employers may face lawsuits should accidents, injuries, violence, or death occur because of drug use.

In states with medical marijuana, employers can decide whether or not to exempt this in their policy. However, management must consider all the safety and business risks involved, so as not to expose the company to any potential legal claims.

person holding marijuana plant

"When drug testing, what do they look for?"

Testing screens for different drugs depending on the company's drug-free workplace policy and their selected panels. Usually, it checks for amphetamines (and methamphetamines), cocaine, marijuana, phencyclidine (PCP), and opiates.

Employers frequently conduct our 5 panel or 8 panel drug tests. However, they can also choose to create tests for as many substances as they want. We can customize a panel for you.

"How soon does it take for drugs to show up in someone's system after consumption?"

Detection varies depending on the type of drug test done.

For hair testing, it usually takes about a week to show up. Oral fluid can be just a few hours, while urine testing can take around 4-5 to 8-12 hours.

It also differs between individuals based on several factors: which drug is taken and how strong it is, weight and metabolism, and what the person ate or drank. Nonetheless, illicit drugs show up at some point in one's hair, oral fluid, and urine.

"What's DOT drug testing?"

It"s the drug and alcohol testing required by the Department of Transportation for its individual agencies. This testing is mandatory for safety-sensitive employees to protect the public and other workers.

US Drug Test Centers provides complete drug and alcohol testing and program services. We adhere to DOT standards, helping you stay prepared for audits. We also develop a drug-free workplace program so your company is ready for random tests requested by the DOT.

trucks and cars on the highway

"What happens if I currently take medication that might interfere with my drug test results?"

Drug test results are sent to a Medical Review Officer (MRO) for review and verification.

If you test positive, the MRO will contact you to discuss factors, like legally prescribed drugs, that may have affected the results. If you're on medication, the MRO will ask for and validate the prescription and pharmacy information. If everything checks out, your test will be changed to negative.

"Are drug testing kits legal?"

Drug testing kits are rapid one-step screenings for detection of multiple drugs in human urine.

It depends on the state's laws if it's considered legal or "drug paraphernalia." Before purchasing or using drug testing kits, first read what it contains and how it works.

Even if these kits are legal (in your state), they may produce inaccurate results. So, it's still best to take a drug test from licensed center.

"Will my results be released to anyone else or is this private?"

Drug test results are not released to anyone else unless you provide consent to do so.

Another exception is with a subpoena or court order as the results can weigh heavily in legal and judicial proceedings. Also, results of drug tests for probation may be sent directly to your probation officers or drug courts upon your request.

Other than those scenarios, everything is confidential in the drug testing process.

"Which type of drug test is the best?"

Drug tests have different uses and benefits.

Oral tests can determine drug use within the first four to five hours. However, they can only detect use that occurred within the last two days. Urine tests can distinguish drugs in the system for up to four days, while hair tests can detect drugs up to three months prior to testing.

Collection of specimens for urine tests are typically done in private, although not always. For oral and hair tests, the sample is collected by the drug testing professional, making it harder (if at all possible) for the donor to cheat.

Ultimately, it depends on what you're trying to accomplish and why you're taking the drug test. Whether it's for employment, probation, court-ordered, or other requirements, we can help determine which approach best suits your needs.

It's everyone's responsibility to keep a safe, healthy, and productive environment. Our testing processes and program services help assure that this is possible. With over 20,000 locations nationwide and an online ordering service, we make drug testing fast and convenient for you.

Contact us today to learn more or to get started, or you can schedule an appointment online.

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