As an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure your employees are healthy, safe, and reliable. Part of that means running drug screenings at least once, and maybe multiple times. But you may be asking, “How much does a drug test cost?”
Drug testing costs can vary depending on what kind of tests you want to run and how many you run per year. Read on to learn more about drug testing costs.
Types of Testing
The first factor that affects how much your drug tests cost is what kind of tests you want to do. There are a variety that can check for different drugs and timelines.
For instance, if an employee has a poppy seed bagel for lunch, they’ll test positive for opium on a urine drug screen, but you can have them come back a few days later for a hair test since the poppy seeds will be out of their system by then. But any opium use will still show up in their hair follicles.
Urine tests are one of the quickest and simplest ways to check if a person is taking drugs. They can look at metabolites, which are residues that remain in the body for a few days after the effects of the drug have worn off. The downfall of urine drug tests is they only show up positive if the person has taken drugs in the last few days.
Hair tests can show drug use over a much longer period than urine testing. Residues from drug use can stick around in hair follicles for as long as 3 months after use. Hair testing cannot be used to test for alcohol use.
You can also use an oral swab to look for drug residues in much the same way that you might use a urine or hair sample. These are less invasive and harder to cheat at than urine and hair samples too, since the tester will be present when the sample is collected. But metabolites disappear from saliva faster than they do from urine, so this is mostly useful in determining if a person is currently impaired.
The prices of your drug tests may also vary by brand. As with any shopping experience, the key is to choose a brand that’s reputable and affordable. You don’t want to work with a company that either gauges their prices based on brand reputation or one that does anything to get the lowest price, including compromising their results.
Do your homework before you purchase drug tests from a particular company. A positive Better Business Bureau rating is a good sign, as are companies that are approved government vendors. An association with the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association also means a company is probably safe to trust.
How Many Drugs on the Panel
If you’re wanting to test for more than one drug at once, you have a variety of options in terms of how many drugs are on the panel. There are, of course, panels to test for just one drug, all the way up to testing for 14 drugs.
The most extensive tests may check for amphetamine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, buprenorphine, cocaine, methamphetamine, morphine, ecstasy, methadone, oxycodone, phencyclidine, propoxyphene, marijuana, and tricyclic antidepressants.
Keep in mind that your employees may be using some of the drugs on this panel entirely legally. Drugs like benzodiazepines, oxycodone, and antidepressants may be prescribed by a doctor. If an employee tests positive for any of these drugs, ask them to show a prescription from their doctor for the substance.
In general, the more drugs you include in a panel, the more expensive the test is going to be. The most common drug test is a 5-panel test. It generally looks for cocaine, marijuana, opiates, amphetamines, and methamphetamines.
How Many Tests Each Year
Your drug testing costs will also depend, of course, on how many tests you run a year. It’s common to run drug tests on new hires, but depending on your business, you may run them more frequently than that. In pharmaceutical businesses, for example, employees may get tested once a year or more.
If you expect to be testing multiple employees many times a year, you may want to look into buying drug tests online in bulk. You may be able to get bulk discounts that can help you save money on each test. You also have to weigh the risk that your employees may start using drugs illegally within the space of a year against the budget you want to stick to for these tests.
How Much Does a Drug Test Cost?
With all the factors we’ve mentioned above accounted for, the average drug test costs somewhere between $10 and $30 per person. Hair testing is usually a little more expensive since the process is more involved. Alcohol tests that can be performed on-site are usually less than $10 per test.
Why Drug Testing Is Important
Drug testing is not meant to be a punishment for employees who are battling addiction. Instead, they’re a way to alert employers to a problem so they can determine the best way to find help for that employee. In some cases, drug testing may also serve as a wakeup call for the employee, who may have been in denial about their problem up to that point.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that substance abuse costs employers about $740 billion in lost work productivity, health care, and crime each year. Drug testing can catch problems early enough to save a lot of that money and find the best solution for a problem.
Get Affordable Drug Tests
Drug testing can be incredibly important for employers, but you do have to ask the question, “How much does a drug test cost?” The costs depend a lot on the kind of test you want to run, but in general, drug tests cost less than an addicted employee does.
So sit down, take a hard look at your budget and the risks associated with your business, and start finding a good drug testing company to work with.
If you’d like the most reliable testing for great prices, then check out the rest of our site at Rapid Detect Inc. For the last 16 years, we’ve been America’s choice for quality, low-cost drug testing supplies. Check out our 5-panel tests today and start testing for cheaper.