Drug Testing in the Workplace – 6 Important Things You Need To Know 

The general perception that drug users are street kids and people living in untidy flats can never be far from the truth. There has been an upsurge in the number of employed US citizens that are active drug users. People use drugs secretly either in their discreet locations in the workplace or on their way to the workplace.

This increase in drug use among employees has led to many employers subjecting their employees to random drug screening, and those found culpable of drug abuse may be punished. An intoxicated employee can cause destruction in the workplace and lead to significant losses. An intoxicated employee can poorly handle valuable customers, fail to concentrate on their work resulting in reduced output, and cause unnecessary damages to the assets of the organization or even injure other employees.

These disruptions can lead to severe consequences such as high employee turnover for safety reasons and the interruption of the business’s core activities. Employers request employees to provide them with samples for testing. Here are the typical samples they may require.

1. Breath

An analysis of one’s breath using breathalyzer is often the most reliable and convenient way to test for blood alcohol levels. The person that is being screened is required to breathe into a breathalyzer which has ampules dissolved in chemicals that undergo color change once alcohol is detected in one’s breath. The breathalyzer identifies ethanol, which is often the by-product of alcohol metabolism in the body. However, for one to be above the legal limit, their breath has to have a concentration of 0.04 or higher in most States.

2. Hair Follicle

Did you know that a hair sample drawn from your head or armpits can be used to test for drug usage? Hair follicles can be used to test for drugs used for up to three months before the drug test. Once you have used a drug, it will show in your hair provided the screening is done within three months after usage. Every inch can indicate up to a month of drug usage.

Therefore, if you have three inches of hair with all having traces of a drug like marijuana, then the indication is that you have used marijuana for the three months before the test. However, hair follicles may not be ideal samples to test for alcohol usage as traces of alcohol can be hardly found in your hair.

 3. Saliva

Recent surveys indicate that saliva has been taken as the most preferred biological sample during drug screening. Saliva is preferred to other biological samples as it is not only easy to retrieve but also takes about 10 minutes for one to get a preliminary result. Usually, the swab is placed in your mouth until it is damp.

The swab is then taken out of your mouth and the saliva sample subjected to the test. Saliva samples are convenient for testing of drugs which have recently been ingested into the body and are yet to be metabolized; hence, their by-products cannot be detected in other samples such as urine or sweat. A saliva sample may also be a crucial sample for testing intoxication levels.

4. Sweat

Your body’s perspiration can be used to detect any drug use. For this method, a testing patch is put on your skin for long periods to capture any sweat you may have. The piece is then lined with a protective membrane. This membrane avoids any contamination on the patch due to dirt or other contaminants.

This protection is vital as contamination by unnecessary substances may alter the integrity of the sample. The piece is drawn after some tie and subjected to tests to establish any drug usage. In most cases, many employers prefer other forms of testing to sweat as other alternatives are more natural and do not involve waiting for samples for long periods.

5. Urine

Employers may provide cups for employees to fill their urine for testing. Once the employees submit their urine samples, they are taken for examination either in a lab or the testing is done within the company’s premises. Typically, a urine sample may indicate drug use up to around 4 hours to 2 days before the test.

A urine sample is not an appropriate sample to test for current drug use as humans need about 3 hours for anything they have ingested to show up in some form in their urine. A human body usually excretes metabolism by-products in various ways. One of those ways is through urine; hence, a urine sample may indicate the by-products after drugs were metabolized in the body. A urine sample may not be appropriate while screening for alcohol as it quickly disappears from one’s system through urine.

6. Blood

Your employers may also request blood samples to be used for drug screening. Samples drawn from blood are often reliable as they can measure the illicit substances that are currently present in one’s bloodstream. These samples can also show the level of toxicity in one’s body system. Employers provide needles that employees can use to draw blood samples under supervision.

The blood samples they provide are taken to either off-premise labs for analysis or analyzed in the business premises using techniques such as immunoassay tests. Results from blood samples are often considered more accurate as they can not only show the presence of illicit substances but also their concentration in one’s body.

It may be necessary for you to undergo drug screening for various reasons. Some of the leading causes include as a condition for employment, as a requirement to ensure sobriety while working, for safety reasons and insurance, among others. In all these tests, a positive result may have serious consequences.

The Different Types of Drug Screening

1. Drug Screening Before Employment

Passing a drug test may be a requirement before you are employed to certain entities. It is vital for you to ensure that you get a result that shows you have not used any drug while auditioning for these vacancies. These entities may require you to pass a drug test as their work environment requires a sober person to diligently and safely perform their duties once employed.

For example, passing a drug test may be a requirement for you to be employed in an industry. This screening is necessary because while working in a trade, one may be subjected to operating heavy machinery. If you are running these machines while intoxicated, you are not only likely to injure yourself but also those around you and cause damage to the motor. It may be expensive and inconvenient to find solutions to these damages and injuries.

2. Random Workplace Screening

Entities may also subject their employees to random drug screening. These tests are necessary to ensure that they comply with the entities’ drug policies, and also as a measure to avoid unnecessary injuries and damages that may result from employees being intoxicated. These tests are often performed without warning, and since there is no law in the United States barring entities from occasionally subjecting their employees to drug tests, you are required to comply with the request to provide your samples for drug screening.

Random drug inspection does not only weed out drug users within the organization that poses a severe threat but also discourages other employees from engaging in drugs. The screening of the workforce is essential in ensuring that only people who serve without any risk are allowed to work in the place.

3. Post Accident Drug Screening

To ascertain the cause of an accident, your insurance firm may require you to undergo drug screening. Once it’s established that you were intoxicated, your compensation is withheld. For example, a driver involved in an accident who was driving under the influence of alcohol may not be entitled to compensation as their recklessness causes the accident.

While there are mitigating circumstances, any drug test carried out after a crash should be conducted within 12 hours and extra samples collected for further testing to rule out any false positives which can be gotten. The twelve-hour window is advised as it is within the drug detection times for a majority of the drugs one may have introduced into their system.

4. Drug Screening for Safety Reasons

Some professions are sacred and require a sober mind to deliver the best results. Businesses such as medicine and security services need their staff to be regularly analyzed to ensure they are fit to discharge their duties. For instance, an intoxicated doctor may shiver during surgery; hence, causing severe injuries or even the demise of the patient the doctor is operating on.

For security staff, intoxication may mean one incorrectly interpreting situations or also discharge their firearms, which can cause serious injury or even kill people that did not deserve to be killed. It is essential that the staff are sober while working. A random drug inspection can show whether they are sober or not; hence, warrant appropriate measures to be taken for safety reasons.

5. Drug Screening Among Athletes

To promote equality and fairness during competitions, athletes are often subjected to random screenings for drugs. The athletes are regularly tested to check for any performance-enhancing substances in their system. The typical samples used by enforcers are often urine, blood, or saliva samples. Performance-enhancing drugs offer an undue advantage to their users; hence, their users are usually identified and banned from events for life or suspended for specified durations. The unfair advantage brought about by performance-enhancing drugs may include more pace and improved strength.

What Happens If You Test Positive for Drugs at the Workplace?

At times, you may be tested immediately after that one event you recently attended. Maybe during the event, you had an occasional sip of alcohol, or a friend might have slipped in marijuana for you to ingest. However, if a test is administered and you turn out to have drugs in your system, do not despair. A positive drug test is not the end of a happy life for you or a loved one.

After a positive drug test, your employer may either give you time to try and become clean or fire you. Regardless of the course of action your employer takes, it is integral for you to find a recovery plan to return you to a life of sobriety. Rehabilitation centers can be ideal for you on your road to recovery. They offer tailored programs and are committed to ensuring that you get the best care such that you can fight off the urge to use a drug even when you are alone.

Ebb Tide Treatment Centers is one of the rehab centers that is fully committed to ensuring you get back to your life of sobriety. Ebb Tide Treatment Centers offer customizable programs that are aimed at delivering you from your life in drugs. Our qualified personnel are committed to help you 24 hours a day and offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment. We have professional staff who have impeccable customer service, and our world-class facilities provide an ideal environment to become sober.

Employers often administer a random drug screening at the workplace. Employers also subject their employees to drug tests where they draw biological samples such as urine, saliva, blood, or hair follicles, which they submit for analysis. The samples are subjected to immunoassay test and, in case of a positive test, additional confirmatory tests to verify the results obtained after the first test. These tests are necessary as a condition for employment, to ensure employees are sober and for safety reasons.

In case of a positive drug test, you do not have to worry as drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers offer a solution towards helping you living a clean and healthy lifestyle. We provide professional counseling and support to ensure you know your triggers and learn how to cope with the urge to use any drug. We have round the clock customer service ready to answer any inquiries you may have. In addition to this we offer personalized treatment plans to ensure the program works for you. 


Drugs have been a common feature in the workplace, a place once renowned for its seriousness. Today, people come to work well prepared not only for work but also for that treasured bathroom break so that they can get high. This break is just one of those times that employees use drugs. Employers are becoming aware of this trend; hence, are subjecting employees to random inspection at the workplace. Normally, they draw samples such as your blood, saliva, and hair and submit them for testing for certain drugs.

Employees who use drugs not only pose a threat to themselves but also those around them. They can injure themselves or those around them, disrupt normal operations of a firm, and damage the assets of the firm. All these threats can have serious consequences. Employers are wary of these; hence, the random drug tests. 

Additionally, potential employers may subject applicants to drug screenings before hiring them, and a firm may test its employees for safety reasons. Whichever the reason you are subjected to a drug test at the workplace, getting a positive result should not scare you. There is light at the end of the tunnel and you don’t need to worry.

Ebb Tide Treatment centers can help you once your drug test comes back as positive for any drug. In helping you to understand more about addiction we do so in an environment free from drugs. Our qualified personnel can help you delve into your addiction and comprehend what urges you to do drugs. Once you are capable of fighting off your urge to do drugs, you can develop new practices and habits that may help you live a life free from drugs.

Reach us today for professionally customized guidance to beating addiction and allow our qualified staff to help you walk down the road to a drug-free life.

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