Things You Might Not Know About Drug Tests

Despite the growing number of states making their laws more weed-friendly, drug tests are still around, stressing out countless American employees every year. Many regular smokers and drinkers fear they’ll definitely lose their jobs when screened. Data provided to us by makes it clear — more and more people resort to buying fake urine to avoid being punished by these draconian measures employers take to ensure the sobriety of their workers. Before you follow in their footsteps, though, take some time to find out what drug testing is all about and how to prepare for it without risking your position. In this article, we’re going to explain when you may undergo the screening, how much time various substances need to get out from your system, and what to expect in the lab.

When Can I Be Screened?

There are specific situations that are likely to lead to drug screening. Learning about them all beforehand will help you avoid unpleasant surprises and worry less about the results.

Firstly, you can expect it when applying for a job and after being hired. This is especially probable in careers related to public safety, like public transport and medical care. Such employees should also be prepared for random testing at work. Another high-probability group is people returning to work after an injury or absence. Those working in other professions shouldn’t lower their guard either, as random screening has become quite popular in various workplaces across the US. It’s being done to lessen the impact of drug abuse on safety and productivity.

Other circumstances include entering sports organizations and events, both for college or professional athletes. You can also get tested due to legal or forensic purposes. Drug screening can also be a part of a criminal or car accident investigation or be ordered during a court case.

Even your physician can order a drug screening. This happens if you show symptoms of substance abuse. The list of worrying signs contains slowed or slurred speech, dilated or small pupils, agitation, panic, paranoia, delirium, difficulty breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate changes, as well as nausea.

What Is Drug Detection Time?

Detection time can vary depending on the kind of drug. Some of them (like alcohol or barbiturates) are only detectable for up to a few days, while others (e.g., marijuana) need way more time to completely disappear off the radar. For more detailed information, read this article about detection times of specific substances.

Bear in mind this is just a general guideline, though – the amount of time a given drug takes to be metabolized is affected by various factors. It depends on its half-life, dose, way, and frequency of administration, etc. Your metabolism, fluid balance, and medical conditions also matter. And finally, tests differ in their detectability – for example, hair tests have a much wider detection time window than blood or saliva ones.

If you’re not sure whether you’re already clean, you can speed up the detoxification process with the help of home-based methods. To metabolize illegal substances faster, engage in some physical activity, like jogging – it’ll help you sweat some of them out. This doesn’t mean you’ll get rid of it all, though. Another way our bodies get rid of the toxins is peeing, so try to drink a lot of water. More frequent toilet visits will shorten the time your organism needs to detoxify.

One more thing to know before the test is that consuming some legal substances can result in false-positives. Remember it to avoid additional stress, and make sure to recall all over-the-counter and prescription drugs you’ve taken recently. You’ll be asked to list them during testing. The more accurate your list will be, the smaller the chances of getting a false-positive result. Don’t panic if you get one, though – confirmatory tests are way more sensitive and will likely prove your innocence if the initial testing goes wrong. 

What Does the Test Look Like?

The procedure for blood or urine testing shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. It doesn’t deviate much from the standard lab tests you undergo during a routine check-up.

For a urine test, you’re supposed to wash your hands and then clean your genital area with a cleansing pad. While using the toilet, you have to collect at least 1-2 ounces of urine with a special container. Marks on it will tell you when to finish. Once you’re done urinating, all that’s left is to give the sample to the lab technician or health care provider. 

When it comes to blood tests, the sample is collected by inserting a needle in your arm’s vein. This should only be done by a healthcare professional.

Other kinds of samples you may be asked to provide are saliva and hair. In the case of oral fluid testing, a stick with a sponge or absorbent pad at one end is used to swab the inside of the person’s cheek. This method is really quick, simple, and non-invasive. A hair test, on the other hand, is more intrusive. You’re supposed to provide a 100 g sample (100-120 strands). It’s collected by cutting the hair close to the scalp.

Better Safe Than Sorry 

No matter what you do, there’s a chance you’ll be ordered a drug test at some point in your life. When that happens, you’d better be sure what to take care of before testing and what to expect during sampling. Read more on the way specific drugs and tests work. It’s also worth checking the local, state, and federal laws regarding such procedures. Plus, don’t think your boss or coach considers you an addict because they have you tested; this is just what they do to keep the competition fair or workplaces safe and respect the rules.

Knowing all this will help you relax and reduce the probability of seeing an unwanted result. If you prepare properly, you’ll have nothing to worry about.


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Written by Virily Editor

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