Which Drug Test is Best For your Employer Drug Testing Program?

Which Drug Test is Best For your Employer Drug Testing Program?


Drug abuse in the workplace puts employers at risk for increased accidents, more absenteeism, lower productivity, and higher insurance costs. Employers want a safe and healthy workforce, and so two-thirds of them test workers for drug use, but which method of testing is most effective? There are many methods that have different levels of accuracy, sensitivity (detection threshold/cutoff), and detection times.

When Choosing a Test, Employers Consider These 5 Factors:

  1.                   Substances being tested
  2.                   Desired window of detection
  3.                   Specimen type
  4.                   Level of adulteration potential
  5.                   Notice required before collection


Fingernail Specimen

Fingernails are composed of keratin. Substances are able to pass into the nail as it is formed and from the blood vessels under the nails into the keratin fibers of the nails themselves and become trapped. As the nails grow longer and thicker, the layers provide a history of substance use.

Hair Specimen

Many people believe that the hair test is the best way to tell if someone has used drugs in the past because it can reveal if someone has used drugs within the last 90 days. Since hair testing has a bigger “detection window,” people can’t just stop using drugs for a few days before being tested to avoid getting a positive result. Hair tests can also be used to compare test results and figure out when the drug was used, for how long, and when use stopped.

Dried Blood Spot

Dried blood spot collection is the fastest and most convenient way to test for phosphatidylethanol (PEth).  PEth is an abnormal phospholipid formed in red blood cells following alcohol exposure. PEth in blood exists as a component of the red cell membrane. PEth is a mid to long-term alcohol biomarker, and a positive result is an indication of alcohol exposure during the 2-4 weeks prior to specimen collection.

Which samples are collected for drug testing depends on what each organization needs for drug testing. Contact us at MedPhysicals for more information.  We will help you determine which method is best for your company and your budget.

Graphic and information courtesy of USDTL  www.usdtl.com