Many employers require drug testing to ensure that potential workers are clear of harmful substance abuse. Drug screening is an important filter in the workplace hiring process. It helps reduce the number of employees with a quick turnover rate, saving employers time and energy. The spectrum of companies that ask for pre employment drug screening is wide, including government, healthcare, manufacturing, automotive, and many more. 

How Long Does Pre Employment Drug Screening Take?

All things considered, pre employment drug screening shouldn’t take longer than one week. 

The exact timing of the results depends on several factors. The kind of drug test that was ordered, the substances that were tested, the lab used, and whether or not the first results were positive or negative.

The most popular kind of drug screening is urine testing. However, some employers opt for hair or blood testing. Usually, workplace drug tests are quick in that the full results are out in a couple of days. Negative test results typically appear within 24 hours while non-negative tests require further examination. To determine what substance/s are causing positive test results, like any evaluation, scrutiny is implemented. The duration of each drug screening, however, depends on the test itself.

If it’s an instant test, a small urine sample is taken and placed on a device. In this case, the testing facility will take five minutes to determine whether the results are positive or negative.

If it’s a standard test, the potential employee sends a sample of their urine to the laboratory. Every lab operates with different time frames, however, they all fall within 24 hours to a 7-day maximum. 

Five and Ten Panel Drug Tests

A 5-panel drug test is a urine screening test that checks for multiple drugs in one sample. The five major drugs examined in this test are THC (marijuana), Cocaine, Opiates, Amphetamine, and PCP. 

Employers are interested in testing for the presence of drugs like cannabis because although its recreational use is becoming widespread, driving trucks for example requires an extra alert state of mind. Many jobs require focused concentration, which the regular use of marijuana may impede. Creating a drug-free workspace is important for liability, safety, and overall vitality of a company.

A 10-panel drug test examines the same substances as with a 5-panel screening, with the addition of other drugs like methadone, methamphetamines, THC carboxy metabolites (COOH), and benzodiazepines. It is the most complete drug test on the market. It works similarly to the five-panel test in that a liquid urine sample is observed on a strip which produces a color change. This color change is then analyzed by lab workers who go on to compare the results with the chart on the back of the test kit. 

Pre-Employment Drug Screening 

Before receiving a job offer from a potential employer, candidates must pass a pre-employment drug test. Whether it’s a 5-panel or 10-panel test, instant or standard, urine, blood, or hair medium, the results will come back within 24 hours to 5 business days.

Employers will be notified by the lab if a test is negative or positive. A negative test frees up the employer to continue the next step of the hiring process, usually an interview. If however the test returns positive, then the employer is contacted. The drug testing company can also provide employers with substance abuse resources to share with affected employees or applicants. 

Hiring people who pass drug screening maintains the liveliness and safety of a workplace intact. The potential hires who don’t pass are often referred to rehabilitation or assistance programs to help with their substance abuse. In either case, it’s a win for all. 

Soteria Screening Laboratories

Our mission is to help employers create a drug-free workplace by providing a simple and efficient drug screening process. We also provide employers with alcohol testing options. Learn more about how drug screening can best serve your company by contacting us.

Skip to content