A comprehensive guide to establishing a workplace drug testing program

Effective drug testing solutions can help to improve productivity, reduce workplace accidents, decrease absenteeism, and job turnover. Every workforce is unique, an employer should make a careful determination about the program elements that are most valuable for their employees.

Reasons for Drug Testing

Understanding when to test is directly linked to which drug testing solution your organization should select. 

  • Pre-employment testing helps employers proactively protect themselves from the negative impacts of hiring drug users.  
  • Random testing is conducted on an unannounced basis. By using a random selection process, all employees have an equal chance of being selected
  • Periodic testing is typically performed at consistent periods throughout the year. 
  • Post-accident testing is performed after an employee has been involved in a workplace accident. This should be performed as soon as possible.
  • Reasonable suspicion testing is performed when employers have evidence or reasonable cause to suspect an employee of drug use.

Choosing a drug testing solution

Drug test program allows employers to design a solution that fits the organization and its specific needs.

Instant Urine Testing offers on-site drug test collections using a variety of products that provides employers rapid, reliable results when time is the most important criteria. A presumptively-positive drug test result rendered by an instant device requires confirmatory testing by a laboratory.

Oral fluid testing is the next most common screening method used by employers and detects recent drug use in the previous 24-48 hours (24-36 hours for THC) and is suitable for a broad range of testing reasons. Unlike urine testing, oral fluid testing is primarily used to detect illicit drugs. Because collections are observed, oral fluid testing is considered a tamper-resistant drug test collection method as it’s very difficult for a donor to adulterate their specimen.

Hair testing provides a much longer “detection window,” giving a more complete drug-use history that would show a pattern of repetitive use as far back as up to 90 days. Like oral fluid testing, hair testing offers the benefit of an observed collection process and is not easily adulterated or substituted. It is not recommended for reasonable suspicion or post-accident testing when you want to detect drug use as closely as possible to the time of a workplace incident.

Comparing Drug Testing Solutions

Drug test panels & cutoffs

There are a number of illicit drugs you can include in a drug testing program. Many employers follow the guidelines established for Federally-mandated drug testing by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and use a 5-panel test.

Cutoff levels are expressed in nanograms (ng) per milliliter (mL) for urine and oral fluid testing and picograms (pg) per milligram (mg) for hair testing. It is important to select a specimen type and cutoff level based on the desired window of detection and any regulatory requirements. Only when a drug or drug metabolite is identified at a concentration equal to or above the administrative cutoff is a specimen reported by the laboratory as positive. Consequently, a negative drug test does not necessarily mean that no drug is present. While that may be the case, other possible interpretations are that a drug was present below the cutoff or the testing panel did not include the drug the individual was using.

Our drug test collection site network

Employers can choose to complete drug test collections at their place of employment or our collection site. 

We have a robust collector network in nearly 70 cities globally to an intuitive drug testing portal, our suite of services is vast and helps to make the drug testing process easier from order to results.

To learn more about our suite of services, connect with us today.


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