Lab Vs. Instant Drug Screen: What You Should Know

instant drug screen

70% of the 1.48 Americans who abuse drugs get employed. Chances are, some of your employees are abusing drugs.

If you’re like most business owners, you want to keep drugs out of your workplace.

The best way to do this? Drug testing your employees.

Research has shown that implementing drug testing can lead to a safer and more productive workplace, reduce turnover and absenteeism rates, reduce your risk, and lower accident and workers comp incidence rates.

There are two options for employee drug testing: an instant drug screen and a lab drug test. Keep reading to learn more about these options to determine which is right for you.

Instant Drug Screen: What You Need to Know

Instant drug screening methods are widely available and just as effective as traditional lab screening methods.

They come with a host of benefits that make them a favorable option for both employers and employees. Unfortunately, there are some common misconceptions out there that hold people back from using instant screening methods.

The biggest misconception? That instant drug screens are only used as initial screening methods due to the potential for inaccuracy.

If an instant drug screen does detect a positive, the employee will have to have a lab test done to confirm the results. This leads people to assume that skipping straight to the lab test is the most accurate and efficient option.

However, thinking this way is a costly mistake.

The FDA sets forth regulations and requirements for safety and certifications for drug testing via the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA). Many rapid drug tests are now complaint with these quality standards, making them just as safe and effective as laboratory testing.

Instant drug screening allows employers to provide high-quality drug testing within their organizations.

How Do Instant Drug Screens Work?

Instant drug tests can get purchased individually for personal use or in bulk for employer use. They come in a variety of options with regard to scope and price.

You can choose how many drugs you want to test for. These tests can detect a variety of substances from alcohol to the latest new street drug.

They also use a variety of specimen types to do their job. These include urine, hair, and saliva.

Choosing the right type of drug test has a lot to do with the industry you’re in. For example, those in the medical field might get subject to stricter drug policy than those who work for an advertising agency.

Those in the medical field may also need to get tested for more specific drugs that are likely to get accessed and abused on the job. Most employers can get by with testing for only the most commonly abused drugs.

Most instant drug tests use the urine cup method. A sample of urine is collected from the employee or prospective employee and the cup is sealed. The results then show up on the side of the cup in as little as five minutes.

The results are interpreted by viewing the colored panels on the label of the cup. Instant drug screen urine tests that are high quality and CLIA approved are highly accurate.

The Scoop on Lab Screens

Lab testing can get used as an initial screening method or as a second test to confirm a positive test result.

Prospective or current employees will get sent offsite to a laboratory for the test. They will have to make it into the lab during its business hours within a certain set timeframe. For many employees, this is inconvenient and may take them away from work.

Employees often have to wait in line for hours at these labs. As you can imagine, it costs employers more to test employees at a laboratory.

Lab screens often have long wait times for results. It usually takes around 24 hours for a negative result and up to 72 hours for a positive result. Additional fees may be required to test for certain substances.

Benefits of Instant Drug Screens

The most obvious benefits of using instant drug testing are that the results are instant and the employees can get tested onsite.

This eliminates the inconvenience of requiring employees to take a trip to a lab and eliminates wait times. This means you can begin onboarding new employees who pass their drug screen more quickly.

With instant drug testing, the process is streamlined. Only one sample is needed and only one test needs to get taken.

By administring your own drug tests, you’ll save time and money. Instant drug screening supplies cost significantly less than the cost of laboratory testing. This makes hiring and testing employees less costly.

Benefits of Lab Testing

Sometimes, it is worth the additional cost to send an employee for a lab screening.

This is usually the case when you need empirical evidence to verify that an employee was using drugs for a court of law.

If your company doesn’t have personnel available to oversee onsite drug testing, you may have to use standard laboratory testing. This is a costly practice and it would be more economical to hire additional staff.

Get Started Today

Whichever method you choose, remember that it beats the cost of not having a drug testing method in place at all.

If you are considering implementing the instant drug screen method at your workplace, we can help you. Contact us today to learn more about our CLIA compliant drug screening options.

If you aren’t sure how many panels you need, we would be happy to help. You can find our contact information here.

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