We are a society who likes things fast. Fast food, fast cars, fast internet access and fast phone connections. Like the tag line says, “Faster is better.” So, why wouldn’t we want fast drug testing in Houston? After all, there is a lot of controversy and conversation around the topic of drug testing in general anyway, so why not get it over with more quickly?
Instant Drug Testing in Houston vs. Lab Based
You might be asking, "Is there really a difference? I thought a test was a test." Like cars, not all drug tests are the same. Some are fast and not made to withstand everyday bumps and others move slower, but stand up to the rigors of daily use. When it comes to oral fluid and urinalysis there are two types of drug tests in common practice.
The first is known as Instant, Rapid or Point of Collection testing. These tests are performed at the collection site by the screener or collector who utilizes an instant cup, dip stick, or swab that generally returns results in three to five minutes.
PROS: the test is fast and economical.
CONS: the test can return false “positive” results due to a bad device or because the test subject had taken over-the-counter or prescription medications. Also, instant testing is not widely accepted in courts and not approved for Department of Transportation required testing.
The second type of drug testing is Laboratory Based Testing. Laboratory based testing is recognized as the most reliable and accurate type of testing. It is conducted in a Federally Certified Laboratory, staffed with Toxicologists, Certifying Scientists and Medical Doctors who perform testing in a controlled setting.
PROS: the tests are widely accepted in legal matters, and with the help of Medical Review Officers, exclude over-the-counter and prescription drugs from the test results.
CONS: Lab based testing is slower and more expensive.
These tests, like cars, are designed for specific applications. An instant test can be great for quick screening in the case of a post-accident or reasonable suspicion case. Negative results mean the employee returns to work, non-negative results means the employee goes home and the specimen is sent to the lab for confirmation. Lab based testing is accurate, follows federally established levels, does not leave an employer guessing about his/her employee’s drug use, and most importantly for many of my clients, is the approved method to meet all DOT compliance protocols in your drug testing in Houston. As we know, each situation is different and that is why we recommend employers consult a testing professional to get the best solution for their unique situation.
Drug Testing and Timing. It’s All Relative.
When we talk about lab based testing being slower, the technology has changed so much over time that even those results can typically be ready between 24 and 72 hours. While that may seem like a long time, it’s all relative. As Albert Einstein explained, “When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That's relativity.” Think twice before implementing a drug testing program in Houston using only instant tests. It might seem faster and easier in the short-term, but the long-term costs and consequences of possibly inaccurate results could be expensive to the business and its employees.
What do you use in your business and why? Instant drug tests, lab based tests or some of each? Let us know and reach out to us if you want to receive an assessment or discuss when and how to use the different kinds of testing to keep your company and your employees safe. Finally, one way to ensure you save time is during the testing process itself. Instead of sending employees somewhere for testing, use a Houston mobile drug testing company that will come to you. That alone will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your Drug Free Workplace program without compromising quality. We are here to make drug testing in Houston easier for you and help create a Drug Free Workplace program that operates safely and steadily on cruise control because sometimes the need to simplify beats the need for speed. When it comes to a Drug Free Workplace, Simple is Better.