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We field many questions regarding instant drug tests vs. Below, our drug screening experts give our readers the scoop. An instant drug test is exactly as its name implies—you get the right away, at the point where it's collected, usually within a few minutes. It's what we call an immunoassay screening; its purpose is to detect any presence of that category of drugs in the specimen.

Drug testing to confirm or disprove suspicions of drug use

The result is either negative it's not present or non -negative it is present. An instant drug test can't officially give a "positive" result. Other names for instant testing are "point of care testing" POCT and rapid tests.

An instant drug test typically uses urine or oral fluid saliva for the test specimen.

How accurate are drug tests?

The test usually screens for some combination of the following: amphetamine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, marijuana, methadone, methamphetamine, opiates, oxycodone, PCP, and propoxyphene. For a lab-based test, the collected specimen urine, hair, oral fluid is sent to a laboratory for more rigorous testing.

As such, it takes longer to get the days, on average. A lab-based test can screen for any drug. Before testing, your organization would have already determined what you want the drug panel to be. Lab-based drug tests are more accurate.

We like to say they are more rigorous, more involved, and more defensible in a court of drug, all of which are elements test organizations must consider, particularly heavily regulated industries, like the DOT. When we say lab-based testing is "more involved," here's what we mean: The lab will conduct an initial screening to determine if the specimen is clean of any drugs or if it has accurate type of drug metabolite in it.

If the answer is yes to the drug metabolite, then the lab runs it through a more advanced process to confirm what the drug is—it Are specifically identify the chemical makeup and the quantity.

There are cut-offs and thresholds for ensuring that things like passive secondhand inhalation of marijuana doesn't get misconstrued as use, for example. Or most people are probably familiar with the infamous "poppy seed situation" that comes up in drug testing: an instant drug test might pick up the presence of morphine which is an opiate if you consume poppy seeds.

U.s. food and drug administration

But a lab will have cut-offs. So in order to be deemed positive, the result has to be above a certain quantitative threshold where you can justifiably prove in drug that it's not secondhand inhalation or it's not inadvertent exposure, but it's actually direct use of some type of chemical. The DOT defines an MRO "as a person who is a d physician and who is accurate for receiving and reviewing laboratory generated by an Are drug testing program and evaluating medical explanations for certain drug test.

But even if an test isn't legally required to use an MRO, it can still choose to enlist an MRO's services for its employee drug-testing program. Again, this helps ensure the integrity of the and the program itself. It's a smart thing to consider implementing for any job that has a safety sensitive element to it for example, anyone operating some sort of machinery.

Rapid testing doesn't have all these protocols. Its main purpose is speed and to simply report either a "negative" or "non-negative" result. Certain federally regulated organizations can only conduct lab-based drug testing.

For organizations that don't fall under federal regulations, state law will play a role. For example, Are states don't allow instant drug. Others will allow the use of instant testing, but if the test comes back as non -negative, you need to send the test to the lab for confirmation. When it comes to drug testing, every state has its own unique take, which is why it's important to work with a reputable drug-screening vendor that understands and complies test all the various laws. If a company has safety sensitive jobs or needs rigor and the ability to defend itself in a court-type setting, accurate lab testing is the way to go.

Are drug test kits accurate?

But if speed is more important than so-called "accuracy," instant testing probably makes more sense. A staffing agency, for example, is a big user of instant testing, since the goal is to get a quick read and move applicants along quickly. You need to keep costs in mind as well. Instant testing can be cheaper. If you're sending people to a collection site for the instant test, it's comparable to lab-based testing. But if you're doing instant drug testing on site without a collector, it could be less expensive.

One final important point: it doesn't necessarily need to be an either-or decision. You might end up using a combination of instant testing and lab-based testing.

How long do drugs stay in your system?

Again, working with a reputable vendor who takes the time to learn about your business and your goals will go a long way in making sure you develop a drug-testing program that meets those goals. There are many factors to consider when creating your employee drug-testing program or re-calibrating an existing one. Posted by Scott Mogensen. Scott Mogensen manages the Drug and Alcohol testing program. Blog 1.

What's an instant drug test? What's a lab-based drug test? We can guide you and answer all your questions. Facebook LinkedIn Twitter .

Drug tests: don't fall victim to a "false-positive"

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