Drug Advice

Why is Urine Testing the Most Frequently Used Method for Drug Tests?

pee sample for drug test

With the recent declaration of a national opioid crisis calls for increased drug testing in both private industry and public institutions have been sounding far and wide.

Employers want to be sure they can rely on the people who operate their heavy machinery, drive their expensive trucks, deliver their valuable products and interact with their customers.

There are many methods currently available to check for the presence of drugs in the system but one stands out above the others for a number of reasons.

That one is urine testing. Urine drug testing is without a doubt the most widely used type of testing to check for the absence or presence of specific illicit substances in the body.

It’s the best simple protocol designed for testing substance use in workplaces, hospitals, juvenile facilities and rehabilitation programs.

In an effort to cut costs, reduce risks and increase productivity, employers are turning in ever increasing numbers to random substance screenings of their workforce. And urine drug screening is the most effective method for filtering out drug users in an organization.

Let me walk you through some reasons why urine tests are the most frequently used method for substance screening.

Why Most Jobs Use Urine Drug Tests

#1 - Highest Assurance of Reliable Results

man holding bottle

Urine testing is the most suitable method of detecting recent drug use with a period of 72 hours.

For instance, alcohol in pee is detectable within 6 hours, heroin is detectable within two days and cocaine is detectable within four days. Also, scientifically advanced examination kits are used making it difficult for someone to interfere with the results.

Most centers use specimen validity checking which guarantees the full integrity of the test. This minimizes the chances of false negative or positive results. Although positive results are not an indication that a person is under substance abuse, it’s confirmation that a person has used illegal substances in the past few days or weeks.

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#2 - Flexibility in Testing Different Substances

The standard urine based drug test is called a “5 Panel Test” because it looks for what are thought to be the 5 most commonly abused types of drugs. Those are amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine, opiates and phencyclidine (also known as PCP or Angel Dust). Many in government and industry however believe the 5 panel urine test misses other widely abused drugs that could also interfere with workplace safety and productivity. As such newer urine tests have been devised that screen for 10 and even up to 12 substances at a time including barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methaqualone, methadone, propoxyphene, buprenorphine and oxycodone along with the original 5 substances. While the 5 panel test remains the standard for the moment most experts agree that 10 and 12 panel tests represent the way of the future and that most companies and governmental organizations will be gradually phasing in the newer, more comprehensive testing regimes over the next several years.

#3 - It Can Withstand Legal Challenge

pee in cup

Urine drug testing is one of the most popular screening methods mandated by law for illegal substance tests in the US. If an employer is required to perform drug exams, this is the most appropriate method to use thanks to technology advances. In case after case urine tests have proven their bona fides in court, withstanding numerous legal and ethical challenges and having their scientific accuracy confirmed over and over again. As such in cases where an employee wants to challenge the results in court, the employer will be in a good position when the court examines the testing method and the reliability of such results. Since blood tests have not proven themselves to be markedly more effective at detecting substances than urine testing and the ability of urine tests to stand up to legal challenges is firmly established it doesn’t make any sense for an employer to opt for the more expensive and time consuming blood test in most instances.

#4 - Cost Effective

When compared to blood tests urine substance examinations are relatively inexpensive and accessible making the exam process convenient for the employer. They also don’t require the presence of a health professional to draw blood and they tend to raise fewer employee objections and are generally safer than blood tests. Unlike blood tests urine test results are nearly instantaneous as well. Likewise, there are dozens of examinations centers in your local area. In addition, most tests can be done at home by parents who want to know whether their children are abusing drugs.

#5 - Fast Results

medical results hospital recordAs we touched on above unlike other methods, pee drug exam kits provide fast results. In fact, most of the results are out within 48 hours depending on the amount taken and the substances being checked for. As soon as you give out the pee sample, metabolites of drug substances can be detected within a few minutes.

In most cases, the process takes around 20 minutes. An initial exam can be performed on a portion of the specimen as well as an additional check to confirm the outcome. Urine examination covers medium time range which makes it the preferred method when carrying out random substance exam programs.

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The abuse of both illicit and legal medications is on the rise worldwide and employers are scrambling to respond effectively to the new reality. With this increased substance use in workplaces, pee exams have become the most frequently used testing method. Many examination centers have adopted modern analyses methods for accurate and reliable results. A positive result is an indication that one has ingested illegal substances. Unlike other tests, urine drug exams are less expensive, easy to use, provides fast results and can withstand any legal challenge.

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