Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Testing

Q. Why do employers drug test their employees?
A. Employers primarily use drug and alcohol testing to ensure a safe and drug-free workplace for their employees. Drug screening has been proven to decrease drug abuse in the workplace and is a strong deterrent for on-the-job drug abuse.

Some employers must drug screen employees because they are required by the Federal Government. For instance, Department of Defense contractors must adhere to the Safe and Drug-Free Workplace Act. Some employee positions have mandated drug testing protocols because their work is safety sensitive and their position description places them under Department of Transportation guidelines.

Q. When can my employer request a drug test?
A. Testing is typically done for pre-employment, post-accident, random pool selections, reasonable cause/suspicion, return-to-duty or for follow-up after a positive drug test result.

Q. What types of specimens are tested for drugs?
A. Urinalysis screening is the most common; however, hair samples, oral swab testing and blood tests are also frequently used.

Q. Who will receive my drug test results?
A. Employee drug test results will typically go to the HR director, Safety Manager or hiring agent, depending upon how each company is structured and who is appointed to serve as the Designated Employee Representative. For very small companies, the business owner may act in that capacity and receive the test results.

Q. If I do not agree with my test results, may I request to be re-tested?
A. No you may not. Drug testing products and lab results are extremely sophisticated and accurate. If you have had a split-specimen sent to the lab, you may request that your second sample be re-tested to verify the initial results. This is typically offered at the donor’s expense and is costly, but the sample is sent to a 3rd party laboratory for the confirmation testing.

Q. Which substances do drug tests screen?
A. The D.O.T. five panel tests for: Amphetamines, Marijuana (THC), Cocaine, Phencyclidine (PCP) and Opiates. A typical non-D.O.T. five panel will test for: Amphetamine, Methamphetamines, Marijuana (THC), Cocaine and Opiates. There are several varieties of extended panels that can break specific metabolites out further, such as: Benzodiazepines, Propoxyphene, Barbiturates, Methadone, Ecstasy, Oxycodone, Buprenorphine, etc. Specific testing can also be requested for other substances, such as Nicotine, K2 Spice metabolites, and alcohol.
Q. What happens if I am taking medications?
A. If your prescription medication is detected in a drug screen, it is a simple process to verify your valid physician-administered prescription, which will result in negative test result by the Medical Review Officer.
Q. How far back can you test for drugs?
A. It depends on the drug and the specimen tested. Hair tests can detect drug use as far back as an entire year, depending upon the length of the hair sample. Most common hair tests detect 90 days of use. Urinalysis and oral swab testing are another matter. Approximate drug detection times can be found here:

Approximate detection times for urinalysis. Variables can depend upon amount of drug ingested, individual metabolism, time since use and amount of fluid intake. This is a general guideline only.

 Amphetamines  2-3 Days
 Benzodiazepines (Valium, Librium, etc.)  1-2 Weeks
 Barbiturates
     Long Acting (e.g. Phenobarbital)  1-3 Weeks
     Short Acting (e.g. Secobarbital)  2-3 Days
 Cocaine  2-3 Days
 Marijuana (THC) Approximate
     Infrequent Use  4-5 Days
     Moderate Use  Days – Weeks
     Chronic Use  Weeks – Months
 Opiates (Codeine Morphine, Heroin, etc.)  2-3 Days
 Phencyclidine  1-7 Days
 PCP (Chronic Use)  30 Days

Q. How long does it take to get results?
A. Negative drug screen results are usually received from the lab approximately 24-48 hours after the lab receives the specimen (weekends and holidays can increase the wait time). Positive drug screen results go through an additional testing process in order to verify the results, adding additional time before the test results are received.

Q. What about drug testing in schools?
A. Visit this page as a resource: http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/drug-testing/faq-drug-testing-in-schools

Q. Why should employers request background checks on employees?
A. 30% of applicants admit to lying on their educational background, seven of every 100 applicants have a felony record and 30% of business failure is due to theft. It is important that an employer take the steps necessary to know who is caring for their customer base and contributing to a safe work environment for their employees.

Q. How long does it take to get a background check report on a new applicant?
A. Most reports are back within 24 hours, and some are instant. In cases where court searches are required, extensive checks can take a week or more.

Q. What is the benefit of pre-employment fit testing?
A. The purpose of fitness testing is to ensure your applicant’s ability to perform essential job tasks safely. This helps mitigate the possibility of potential injury.

Q. How long does a fit test take to complete?
A. A fit test can be completed in approximately 45 minutes to one hour.

Q. Do you need a prior appointment for Conspire! services?
A. Appointments are always given priority if you choose to make them, but we welcome walk-ins during regular business hours.

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“Substance abusers are five times more likely to file a workers compensation claim.”