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Three Common Pre-Employment Drug Test Screenings and their Pros & Cons

By hire-up-staffing in News and Updates
One of the main steps in the pre-employment process is to check whether candidates are positive for substance abuse. Strangely enough, there are people who use illegal narcotics while still being able to hold down positions either full-time or part-time.
A recent research by the National Study on Drug Use and Health found that among 22.4 million current illicit drug users aged 18 or above in 2013, over half, at 15.4 million or 68.9% were employed. Shocking, but fortunately a good solution is to institute a comprehensive drug testing policy, whether by the company itself or through staffing agencies, thus avoiding the issue of sending potential drug abusers to clients and customers.
While there is no be-all and end-all to this, there are three main methods of testing for drug abuse. Each method has its own pros and cons:
Urine Testing
This is probably the most common type of drug test, which can either be instant or laboratory. In instant urine testing, it is performed on the spot right after samples are collected. It may be through dip cards to testing cups that have the test within the container. When results come out positive for drug use, it will then be sent to a lab for further confirmation.
In the laboratory version of urine testing, samples may either be collected at the workplace or at a collection site, or even at the laboratory itself. Same thing goes as with instant testing.
·      Can detect drug use as early as an hour after use until up to several days, depending on the drug
·      Instant testing is inexpensive
·      Can be done with minimal training
·      Can detect multiple drugs at once
·      Must have proper collection facilities
·      Must have collectors of both genders
·      Easiest to cheat on
·      Sometimes employees experience “shy bladder” syndrome
Saliva Testing
Saliva or oral fluid testing, same as with urine, can be done either instantly via testing kit or in a laboratory.
·      Can detect drug use immediately
·      Can be performed anywhere, without the need for collection facilities
·      Doesn’t need collectors of both genders
·      Least expensive type of drug testing
·      Cannot be cheated on
·      Can test for multiple drugs
·      Can only detect drug usage for a few hours to two days depending on the drug
Hair Testing
While collecting hair can be done without specialized collection methods and facilities, the tests themselves may only be performed in a laboratory with specialized equipment.
It needs several dozen strands, often collected from different areas around the head. Body hair may also be used. The hair samples are then collected and specialized equipment at a lab will liquefy the hair strands, allowing the machine to break down traces of drug use.
·      Can detect drug use as much as 3 months prior to testing
·      Can even detect which kind was used on an approximate date
·      Near impossible to cheat
·      Collection is minimally invasive and can be done almost anywhere
·      No need for same-gender collectors
·      Can test for several drugs at once
·      All tests are done in labs, thus there is minimal chance of error
·      Drug testing cannot be detected until about a week after it has been used
·      Most expensive of the 3 common types of testing
·      No instant option
If you are hiring someone, we recommend you do the proper testing and benchmarking to ensure that your employee is the best person for your open position. Here are Hire Up Staffing, we take care of this whole process for you. You have the option to give your new employee any of the following screening tests:
  • ReferencesLetters of reference and previous work and employment experience and history.
  • BackgroundNational, state and local criminal background checks, credit reports.
  • CredentialsVerify all licenses or certifications and degrees.
  • Substance AbuseFive, seven or ten panel drug testing.
  • E-VerifyVerifies employee* I-9 data with U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Social Security Administration records.

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