TYPES OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING
Choosing the Right Tests for Your Industry
Drug Alcohol Testing

BEYOND THE BASICS: WSS doesn’t believe in bare-bones compliance. Your industry may need tests beyond the standard.

Did you know there is more than one way to test for drugs and alcohol? The different types of testing available through Workplace Safety Screenings are used for various reasons. At WSS, our staff helps you choose the right testing for your industry, personnel, regulation compliance, and concerns.

For a closer look at the types of drug and alcohol testing methods that Workplace Safety Screenings offers, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide.

ALCOHOL TESTING

There are three types of alcohol testing:

  1. A saliva alcohol device that provides an instant read of 0.02 breath alcohol concentrate or better. These can be used by an employer to get an immediate read. All positive results should be followed up with a breath alcohol test for confirmation.
  2. Breath alcohol devices are the standard used by Workplace Safety Screenings. Workplace Safety Screenings conducts alcohol testing using the Lifeloc Phoenix 6.0, a DOT-approved evidential breath testing device (EBT) administering 100-percent accurate test results including a printed confirmation. We recommend that alcohol tests with results of 0.02 or greater are followed by an alcohol confirmation test.
  3. Urine alcohol testing tracks back as much as 80 hours of alcohol use. This should only be used in situations pertaining to alcoholism, when an employee has agreed to be part of a recovery program in exchange for keeping his/her position, or in private testing.

All Workplace Safety Screenings collectors are certified Breath Alcohol Technicians.

URINE DRUG TESTING
INSTANT/RAPID

Workplace Safety Screenings provides a 6- or 10-panel instant drug test that provides immediate results. If the employee is non-negative for any of the drugs, the sample will be sent to a laboratory for confirmation testing. It is imperative that an employer does not take final action on an instant drug test result without lab confirmation and an MRO interview. Clients can request additional instant panel options.

PROS
  • Results are available in 5–8 minutes.
  • Drugs and metabolites are highly concentrated in urine.
  • Specimens are obtained without physical risk to the donor.
  • Testing can be conducted on-site, anywhere.
  • Built-in adulteration testing available.
  • Test results are reported quickly.
CONS
  • There is a risk of adulteration, substitution, or dilution.
  • Detection is limited to 2–3 days.
  • Requires confirmation of non-negative result at laboratory.
  • Presumptive results may be acted upon inappropriately.
  • Cutoff concentrations are not always accurate.
  • Performance testing is lacking.
  • Quality control: the determination is subjective in nature.
LAB-BASED

When drugs are taken in any form, traces end up in the urine within about 3–4 hours. The drug will remain in the urine for hours, days, or weeks depending on numerous factors: metabolism, water consumption, exercise, length of usage, dose of usage, and more.

There are a multitude of panel options available depending on your business’ requirements. A standard 10-panel screen typically checks for the following drugs:

  1. Cannabinoids (marijuana, hashish, THC)
  2. PCP (Phencyclidine)
  3. Opiates (opium, heroin, morphine, codeine)
  4. Cocaine
  5. Amphetamines (speed)
  6. Barbiturates (downers)
  7. Methaqualone (Quaalude)
  8. Methadone (heroin substitute)
  9. Benzodiazephines (tranquilizers, Librium, Valium)
  10. Propoxyphene

Urine specimens are collected daily and sent to a laboratory federally certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Workplace Safety Screenings’ collectors are extensively trained and certified and always follow strict chain-of-custody procedures.

PROS
  • Drugs and metabolites are highly concentrated in urine.
  • Specimens are obtained without physical risk to the donor.
  • A vast body of scientific literature addresses all aspects of testing.
  • Numerous court cases have upheld urine test results.
  • Uniform testing criteria (cutoffs) have been established.
  • Performance testing (PT) is consistently practiced.
  • Minimal litigation risk is present if procedures are followed.
  • Provides meaningful statistical data to evaluate the testing program.
CONS
  • Potential issues with adulteration, substitution, or dilution exist.
  • Limited detection is 2–3 days.
  • No dose-to-concentration relationship exists.
  • Urine test may be viewed as invasive or embarrassing.
ORAL FLUID TESTING

There are several advantages to oral fluid testing. It is the most simple, observable, and non-invasive collection method, making adulteration difficult. Parent-drug metabolites may be identified, which is ideal for reasonable suspicion or post-accident testing. Drugs are identified in the sample almost immediately after digestion rather than in 3–4 hours after ingestion for urine testing or over 10 days for hair testing.

For these reasons and more, Workplace Safety Screenings will only conduct lab-based oral-fluid drug testing.

PROS
  • Drug are detected within minutes after consumption.
  • The collection process is quick and non-invasive.
  • Non-gender-based observed collection is possible.
  • Saliva is useful in the detection of recent drug use.
  • There are no restroom requirements; tests collected on-site anywhere.
  • The testing is difficult to adulterate.
CONS
  • Saliva specimens can be contaminated by oral and intranasal routes.
  • Collection of saliva requires disease-protection measures.
  • There is a narrower detection window.
  • Chronic use cannot be detected.
HAIR TESTING

Hair tests disclose as many as 12 times more positive tests or failures than a standard urine test. Hair testing allows an average of a 90-day window for drug testing and enables observed collection, implementing tougher safety measures. Hair testing is excellent for pre-employment or annual testing as chronic drug usage will be caught. Any drugs taken over the previous 10 days will not be identified.

PROS
  • Testing hair provides a longer estimate of time of drug use.
  • Obtaining, storing, and shipping hair specimens is easier.
  • A low risk of disease transmission exists when handling hair samples.
  • A second specimen can be obtained.
CONS
  • Hair testing does not determine recent drug usage.
  • A possibility of bias in hair color, ethnic origin, and sex exists.
  • Possible environmental contamination exists for some drug classes.
  • Performance testing is lacking.
  • Analytical results vary due to the lack of uniformity of the matrix.
  • Interpretation of dose and time relationships has not been established.
  • High to moderate litigation risk exists, depending on the drug.
SYNTHETIC MARIJUANA TESTING

Recently, studies have shown an increase in use of synthetic cannabis. This drug is constantly changing and consists of multiple components. It can be found in Texas under several different brand names and aliases, including Kush, K2, Spice, Black Mamba, Bombay Blue, Genie, Zohai, or Synthetic Marijuana.

A rise in synthetic marijuana use has been noted throughout the past several years in hospitals and testing labs since the drug’s inception in the early 2000s. Although this drug does not produce positive results in a standard drug test, Workplace Safety Screenings partners with a laboratory that tests for over 30 components updated a minimum of three times annually. We have had great success in testing in both oral fluid and urine samples for synthetic marijuana, or Kush.

Types Of Testing

Discover a better, more organized drug-free employment program.

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