Good employers know the importance of drug screening.  Having all new employees take a drug test is an important step in deciding if you want them to work for your company.  Random screenings of your current employees can also be beneficial.  Here is a list of the five most common addictive drugs and how to screen for each of them.

1. Tobacco

Tobacco products are by far the most common addiction in the United States.  According to the Addiction Center, about 50 million people are addicted to nicotine in America, whether that be cigarettes, chewing tobacco, or another product.

While being a smoker isn’t necessarily going to disqualify someone from a job, it is important to be aware of.  This is especially true if fire is a real hazard in your workplace.  People are generally up front about whether they smoke or chew.  You can also smell cigarette smoke on their clothes.  Be clear about where and when employees can smoke to keep everyone safe.

2. Alcohol

The majority of adults have a drink at least once in a while, but alcohol abuse is a different thing altogether.  Alcoholics are physically unable to go a long period of time without a drink.  Being drunk at work can be incredibly dangerous, so screening for alcohol is a good idea.  Breath alcohol tests can tell you immediately if a person has been drinking.  Urine tests can detect alcohol anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after consumption depending on the test.  Hair tests can detect alcohol for up to 90 days.

3. Marijuana

While marijuana is now legalized in some states, it is still illegal or only permitted for medical use in many others.  This is important to know because an employee that is abusing marijuana may be breaking the law along with the workplace code of conduct.  Several kinds of drug test work for marijuana.  Most saliva tests can only detect cannabis if they are given within 24 hours of use.  It can be detected in a blood test two to seven days after use, in a urine test for up to two months, or in a hair test for up to 90 days.

4. Painkillers

Prescription painkillers are another commonly abused drug.  The opioids morphine and codeine are both prescribed by doctors for painful injuries.  About 2 million people in the United States are addicted to prescription opioids.  Sometimes patients will become addicted and find ways to continue getting the drugs after their injury heals.  Other people obtain the drugs illegally from the start.

Almost every type of drug screening can be used to detect opioids.  Blood tests can only detect morphine within 12 hours of use and codeine with a day of use.  Urine tests are accurate one to three days after taking painkillers.  Codeine can be detected in salvia one to four days after use; morphine is detectable for four days in spit.

5. Illegal drugs

Obviously, drug screening for illegal drugs is incredibly important.  People who abuse these substances are often more hardcore addicts than someone addicted to nicotine or alcohol.  They are also breaking the law.  It’s not a stretch to consider any use of these drugs abuse.  These include illegal opioids like heroin, stimulants like cocaine, and hallucinogens like LSD.

Most drug tests can detect illegal substances.  How long they stay in a person’s system depends on the drug and the person.  For a urine test, heroin generally sticks around for one to three days; cocaine, two to three days; meth, two to three days; and MDMA, two to four days.  Generally, a hair test can detect most drugs up to 90 days after use.

Need drug screening?

Soteria Screening Laboratories can help any workplace with drug tests, no matter the need.  Call (202) 679-6670 or visit them online for more information. 



Skip to content