Preparation & Types of Drug Screening Tests

Submitted on March 27, 2012

What is a Drug Screening Test?

In today's time drug tests have become a common occurrence, and in many situations even mandatory. A drug screening test refers to the technical analysis of a biological sample for the presence of illegal drugs. The presence of drugs can be tested from several bodily fluids and hair samples. This is possible, as traces of the drug stays in the system much after it has been used, ensuring marijuana drug testing and niacin drug testing comes back positive despite a small time lag. As a result traces of the drugs show up when tested in a specialized lab for chemical analysis.

Preparation Required

Samples required for drug screening tests include:

  • Urine - Urine samples are one of the most common sampling items for a drug test. A urine test is less invasive and inexpensive. It is also an effective in detecting infrequent drug usage. However it is also very easy to substitute a urine clean sample for a tainted one.
  • Blood - Blood samples for drug testing provide the most reliable and accurate readings. However this method is invasive and also proves logistically expensive.
  • Saliva and Sweat - Fluids like human saliva and sweat also provide for accurate drug test analysis.
  • Hair - Traces of drugs can be detected in hair samples as well. However, this is usually effective in cases of extended drug use.

Types of Drug Screening

There are several reasons why drug testing is conducted. The most common reasons include:
  • Pre-employment drug testing - Most of us have gone through this type of drug screening when switching jobs. This is the most common type of drug test conducted in civil society. The test is usually conducted via urine sample and is a precursor to employment. Most big corporate and business houses make pre-employment drug testing mandatory. However, as is the case with urine samples, this test is easy to fake through substitution.
  • Post-incident drug testing - Post-incident drug testing is undertaken post an incident - usually an accident or an altercation. These tests check for drugs and alcohol usage that might have contributed to (or caused) the incident - DUI and breath analyzer testing is the most common example of this kind of testing. The results from this kind of testing are usually recorded.
  • Random drug testing - Random drug testing is used by many law enforcement agencies like police stations, prisons (especially for individuals out on bail or on probation), the armed forces, governmental agencies, and even business houses. Today schools and universities also enforce random drug test as a measure to deter drug use. Given its unpredictable schedule, it does have a high rate of detection.
  • Diagnostic screening - In medical cases displaying erratic symptoms, and unconsciousness, doctors will order for a precursory toxicology report. In such as case a blood sample is usually used.