Ensuring a safe workplace environment is top of mind for most employers. A drug test is an efficient and accurate way to protect employers from liability. It also decreases employee turnover and lowers employee absentee rates. 


Whether you are participating in pre-employment drug testing or because your current company requires you to take one, waiting for your results can be daunting. 


Depending on the type of test you’re administered, the wait time can look different. Let’s explore this further.

Typically, How Long Do Drug Test Results Take?


So, how long do drug test results take? In most cases, companies are looking to test for a variety of substances. Though there are many, some include:


  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Hallucinogens
  • Opiates
  • Narcotic Prescription Drugs
  • Alcohol


There are a few different ways to test for substances. Some methods include saliva, urine samples, blood tests, and hair follicles. Each method takes a distinct amount of time to process and produce a dependable result. Consider these important details before proceeding with each method.


Urine Samples


Using a urine sample is the most standard form of administering a drug test. Because of how standard this test is, many people research “how long do urine drug test results take?” Luckily, these samples typically have the fastest turnaround time. In some cases, results are determined between 24 to 48 hours. But, instant urine tests are available that generate results within ten minutes. 

Health professionals can perform these tests in schools, rehabilitation centers, workplaces, and walk-in clinics. They are fast, noninvasive, and reliable, rarely showing a false positive.




Though mouth swabs are accurate, they must be administered by a professional to be performed correctly. You’ll want this done in a laboratory setting so that results can’t be tampered with. All of this said, a saliva test has the potential to be more accessible than a urine sample. They take between 5 to 48 hours to process. 


Hair Follicles


Hair tests are a highly accurate way of drug testing. They can detect drugs and substances over a more extended period. The downside to using one of these tests is that they are the least time efficient. Of all the test types, hair follicles take the most extensive period of time – between seven to ten days. 


Because you can’t sabotage a hair follicle sample, they tend to be very thorough. These tests aren’t helpful for immediate results. For that, you’ll want to use a urine sample or breathalyzer.


Blood Tests


Blood tests are highly accurate, with the ability to indicate toxins within five minutes or less. Laboratories can specify the precise level of a substance in a person’s body. Though less cost-effective than a urine sample, a blood test is the most accurate way to establish what drugs are in a person’s bloodstream. 


Drug Test Results: What to Consider


You’ll want to practice patience while waiting for your drug test results. Some tests are reasonably quick, but getting the most accurate results takes time. Not to mention, false positives are very unlikely when tests are done correctly.


Once the negative result is in, the lab will inform your employer. However, the laboratory will likely call you if you have a positive test result. This is because they need to clarify why the test might’ve been positive (e.g., if you take prescription medication). Regardless, laboratories will inform your employer whether the result is positive, negative, or inconclusive.


Choose a Reliable Drug Test Supplier


Searching for a reliable drug test supplier can be challenging. Luckily, here at Soteria, we have you covered. We offer a variety of high-quality drug tests and company accounts for employers who prefer to manage their own drug testing program. 

Contact us to learn more information and get started!

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