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Different Types of Drug Tests: Urine, Saliva, Hair - Which One Do Employers Use Most and Why?

It's crucial to have a safe and healthy workforce. This is why the majority of employers test workers for drug use. But which testing method is most effective, and which methods are most commonly used by employers?

About Urine, Saliva, and Hair Tests

These are the primary methods of sample collection for drug tests. The most prevalent method is urine. According to Drug Policy Facts, 95% of employers use urine-based drug testing. Others use saliva (11%), and hair testing (7%).

Urine drug tests examine urine samples for the presence of drugs and their metabolites. When the body is trying to get rid of a drug, it breaks the drug down, and the products of that process can be detected using a urine test.

When there is a drug use problem in the workplace, there are instances where an employer might want to test and find out which of their employees are currently under the influence of drugs. This is where saliva tests come in. Saliva tests are perfect for identifying individuals who are acutely under the influence or those who would have taken drugs within the past 24 hours. Apart from that, it's also crucial to identify employees or potential employees who have been using drugs long-term. This is where urine and hair come in.

Drug Tests Detection Windows

The detection window for different tests vary according to the type of drug being investigated. The urine test, which is one of the most established techniques, has a detection window from 1 – 30 days, depending on the drug.  On the other hand, hair drug tests have the longest detection period. A scalp hair sample has a detection window of three months, while body hair samples can detect drug use from the last 12 months.

While this depends on the drug being tested, employers can also collect hair samples to determine when drug use occurred and whether it's been discontinued. Saliva samples have the shortest detection window. They can only be used to detect drug use from 12 - to 48 hours after use – depending on the drug.

Which Tests are Most Used and Why

Each drug testing method has its advantages and disadvantages. Naturally, employers are generally drawn toward tests with fewer limitations and more advantages. Saliva drug tests, for instance, are not widely used because of their short detection window. They are also unable to determine the frequency of use and are not currently approved for federal testing. On the other hand, while hair tests have a longer detection window, they are costly and cumbersome. They also have a long turnaround time. It takes approximately 5 to 10 days to get hair drug test results.

Today, one of the most commonly used drug testing methods is urine. There are several advantages of using urine tests. For instance, urine drug test kit samples are easy to collect and transport, the tests are inexpensive and accurate, and many employers deem the detection window adequate. Additionally, urine also enables employers to test for many different drug types.

Whether you are running a big company with thousands of employees, or a small business with less than 20 workers, it's crucial to ensure that your workplace is drug-free. You can achieve this by partnering with a reliable supplier of drug test kits.

Drug Test Kit USA, established in 2016, is a dependable source for drug test kits. Learn more about Drug Test Kit USA’s urine and saliva drug test kits and how they can help keep your workplace drug-free and safe.