Drug testing involves different lab methods that aim to find the presence of specific substances in your body. There are different ways to do drug testing, and the results of each method vary in availability and accuracy. This article will elaborate on what to expect during a drug test, its purpose, results in interpretation, and more.

What happens during a drug test?

The drug screening process may vary depending on the biological sample that goes into testing —   such as blood, hair, sweat, oral fluids, or urine. However, on On a general note, here is what you may expect:

  1. Before getting a drug screening, tell your doctor whether you have been taking either vitamins, supplements, or medicines since these could affect your drug testing results.
  2. A healthcare provider will collect a biological sample: urine, sweat, saliva, or hair.
  3. Wait around 24 to 48 hours to get your results back. Then, if necessary, take them to your doctor for interpretation.
  4. If you test positive for drug use, you may need to take another drug test to confirm that your results are not a false positive.

Drugs identified in toxicology screenings. 

A drug screening, also known as a toxicology screen, can detect the following drugs:

  • Cocaine
  • Opioids (heroin, morphine, oxycodone, codeine, hydrocodone, and fentanyl)
  • Marijuana
  • Steroids
  • Amphetamines
  • Phencyclidine
  • Barbiturates (phenobarbital or secobarbital)

What is a detection window, and how does each test vary? 

Unless the toxicity levels are too high, our metabolism is capable of naturally cleansing itself from drug intake. 

The time for detecting a drug varies depending on the biological sample. Here is how:

Small and rapid detection window

Depending on the substance, it could be detected from a couple of hours to even 48 hours. Also, the drugs can be seen after recent use.

Biological samples that apply for this category are blood, saliva, and breath.

Small and late detection window

The detection time-lapse could last from a couple of hours to even 48 hours, depending on the substance. But, at the same time, it has to pass some time (hours to days) after drug use to make a screening. Otherwise, the drugs won’t be detectable.

Sweat is a biological sample that fits in this category.

Intermediate to long detection window 

Drugs can be detected from intermediate to long periods that could last days, weeks, or even months. Also, drugs cannot be screened right after recent use since they could pass undetected.

Samples that apply for this category are urine and hair.

What are drug screenings used for?

The primary purpose is to detect or monitor drug use to ensure the individual is in good health. Circumstances that may require drug screenings are:

  • Employment. A pre-employment drug test can be part of the hiring process for specific jobs — this varies on state laws. In addition, other positions may require regular drug screenings, for example, healthcare, governmental, and transportation roles.
  • Legal purposes. If the employer has reasonable suspicion that an employee is under drug abuse during work hours, they are legally allowed to do a drug screening on them.
  • Health purposes. Healthcare providers may require regular screenings for patients who have opioids prescribed for chronic pain. This is to ensure that patients are taking the medication as intended.

Soteria Screening Laboratories handle drug screenings with discretion and high-quality standards. Don’t hesitate to contact us today if you have any further concerns or want to know more about our drug screening process. We are here to help.








Skip to content