New to drug testing: Drug testing alternatives

Image of Urine CupWeek #16

16 weeks ago, in my initial blog post, I mentioned the only exposure I have had to the world of drug testing was the pre-employment screening I took to get the position here at Quest Diagnostics. Before the screening, I assumed I would have to provide a urine sample because that was the only drug test I had ever heard of. However, one of the many things I learned in my first week of employment was that we offer a full line of lab-based and instant drug testing products and services that provide much of the same critical information that urine samples provide.

Our hair testing detects nearly twice the number of positives as our urine test. Unlike urine drug testing, which may only detect drug use within the past 2-3 days, hair testing is able to detect a pattern of repetitive drug use for up to 90 days. While urine testing is well suited to recent drug use for post-accident or reasonable suspicion testing, a hair test is the most effective way to evaluate long-term patterns of use, making it an excellent option for a pre-employment or random testing program.

When compared to urine and hair drug tests, oral fluid is best at detecting recent drug use. Drugs take time to metabolize and pass through the system in a urine test, and the same drugs need to grow into the donor’s hair in order to be detected. In contrast, an oral fluid test can detect drugs in a donor’s system immediately after use. This makes oral fluid testing ideal for a broad range of testing situations ranging from pre-employment, to reasonable suspicion, to post-accident testing where the employer is interested in assessing recent drug use.

After working for Quest Diagnostics for the last three months, I’ve learned a lot about the different products and services we offer. Since you may not have access to the same resources and training that I have had, I encourage you to view our webinar where industry experts, Dr. Barry Sample Ph.D. and Bill Current, discusses alternatives to lab-based urine testing and the pros and cons of each option relating to your testing program.

For more information about drug testing, visit our website.

As a new employee at Quest Diagnostics, there’s hardly a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new about the world of drug testing. Like some of you, I have a lot to learn about the industry. During my first year of employment, I’m going to write this weekly column highlighting drug testing procedures, products and processes as I discover them. To learn more about my journey, you can read my introductory post.