Many employers seek to create a safe work environment through pre-employment drug screening. A pre employment drug test can be an essential part of the vetting process when hiring new staff. It also means that a potential employee only gets offered a position if they receive a negative test result. But, is there a specific testing method that all companies should oblige by? Are employers obligated to test applicants? Let’s take a deeper look.

The Pre Employment Drug Screening Process

Companies or businesses that are heavily regulated by the government conduct regular drug testing (e.g., transportation or military contracting). Aside from positions like these, the federal government does not regulate non-governmental agencies and companies. However, there are states and local governments that do regulate drug testing. It is often up to the employer and the location’s laws and regulations. 

For those that do choose to conduct a pre employment drug screening, these are some general guidelines:

  • Applicants must be aware that this is a part of the screening process. Employers must add this to the application or to any online advertisements.
  • Tests must be administered by a reputable laboratory
  • All applicants for like-positions receive similar testing 
  • A job offer is contingent on passing the drug-screening process

These measures are not the same in every state. However, guidelines are intended to avoid discrimination or false results. The testing process typically encompasses the following substances to be screened: amphetamines, cocaine, THC, PCP, and opiates. 

A screening will consist of the following steps:

  • Collecting the sample and processing it
  • Confirming the result if the first screening returned positive, having a review done by a Medical Review Officer
  • Providing the job applicant and the employer with the results (one to three days, unless the applicant receives a positive result)

Why Conduct Pre Employment Drug Testing?

Pre employment drug testing helps employers vet their potential candidates thoroughly. In most cases, employers feel that drug-free work environments are better for their businesses. People are more apt to be on time, not commit theft, and have fewer accidents in the workplace without illegal substances. 

When a person is hired into a new position, oftentimes the company puts significant resources into the new hire. It takes a decent amount of time to train them. Not to mention, employers will likely invest in training aids or an outside training source. Why would employees want to invest their time, money, and resources into a potential liability? Pre-employment drug testing helps alleviate this risk.

Should You Use the Same Test on Everyone?

A drug screening can be conducted through urine, saliva, blood, hair samples, or sweat tests. An employer can request testing on more than the five substances listed above. 

The most common type is urinalysis. Often, this method is chosen by employers even if they’re not regulated by governmental agencies. One perk is that substances can be detected 5 to 10 days after use. If a position is federally mandated, then this is the only approved pre-screening method.

What if a candidate cannot provide a sufficient urine sample? An alternative method is the saliva test. Saliva can be collected on-site, in the presence of the employer. It is difficult for an applicate to alter their specimen. This testing method is not as invasive as others (such as a blood or urine sample. But, the detection window is only 7 to 21 hours. 

Although employers are not required to conduct pre-screening, urinalysis is the most commonly used method. Though this test requires less privacy than others, it is proven to be effective in detecting recent drug or alcohol use. 

We Would Love to Help You!

The mission at Soteria Screening Laboratories is to ensure employers can create safe, successful, and drug-free workspaces. This team prioritizes helping businesses with successful drug screening programs. Contact Soteria today to learn about the services offered!

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