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Drug Testing - The Facts!

All you need to know about Drug Testing

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Drug Testing has become increasingly common over the last decade.  Many employers now test their employees for illegal drugs and alcohol as a measure to improve safety within the workplace.  On-site drug testing kits are used in many healthcare settings to monitor abstinence or to offer prescriptions and increasingly, parents or partners are home drug testing their children or family members to help deter drug use in the home.

This web page is dedicated to explaining the various kinds of drug testing on offer and providing the advantages and disadvantages of each.

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Common types of Drug Testing:


On-site Urine Drug TestingDrug Testing Kits

On-site urine drug testing kits are a commonplace item in many hospitals, drug treatment and rehabilitation centres, doctor's surgeries and businesses.  They enable you to test a urine sample for a range of drugs in minutes, to laboratory screening standards.  Negative results can be read in as little as a minute, but positive results require typically 5 minutes before you can be sure of the drug test result.  Different drugs are detectable in urine for different lengths of time, but this window of detection is usually measured in days.  Visit our drug information page for more specific details.

The clear advantage of testing with an on-site test is the speed, but you have to confirm a positive result by laboratory means if you intend to take action against the donor when you get a positive drug test result - for example if a positive result will affect their employment, or status on a rehabilitation programme.

Using a two stage process which involves an initial on-site drug test, followed by GC/MS laboratory confirmation (using chain of custody procedures) will stand up in court but will also give you the advantage of speed.  Visit our drug test kits page for more information on the drug testing kits we offer.


Laboratory Urine Drug Testing

Drug testing via a laboratory has the advantage that both the screening stage and the confirmation stages of the test are carried out in one place - so you get the fully confirmed test result shortly after the screening result. 

However, laboratory drug screening is more expensive than on-site drug testing and you have the time delay brought about by shipping the urine sample(s) to the laboratory and the time it takes to run the tests and provide the report.  Many labs are automated, so this is typically 24-48 hours for screening results and 2-5 days for GC/MS confirmation results.  Visit our laboratory drug testing page for more details on how we can help.


Hair Drug Testing

Hair drug testing has the advantage that it can detect drug use for a long period of time - this is typically measured in months, although you can potentially screen back for as long as the hair has been growing from the scalp.  Hair tends to grow at the rate of 1cm per month, so a 3cm section of hair would represent a 3 month history.  You can test larger sections of hair for an overall idea of drug history, or individual monthly sections of hair to get a detailed chronological history of drug use.

The process is more time consuming than urine testing as the hair needs to be processed before it can be tested.  We consequently have to charge a processing fee, followed by a charge per drug, per section.  Hair testing normally takes around a week to complete, although we ask customers to allow up to 10 working days if workloads are high.  Contact us for details or visit our Hair Drug Test page for more information.


Oral / Saliva Drug Tests

Drug testing based upon oral fluid or saliva has been designed to be as non-invasive as possible - which is a significant part of its appeal.  However, with this being a relatively new science we do not yet have internationally standardised cut-off levels like we do for urine testing.  Having a standardised cut-off level for testing ensures that everyone is tested at the same level and that the level is correct.

Unfortunately, this means that different suppliers of Oral / Saliva Drug Testing Kits are currently using the levels they have determined themselves and this is not uniform across the industry.

Another difficulty is that while drug use is detectable in urine for days and in hair for months, oral testing only detects drugs for hours.  You need a high amount of drug in your body for it to come through into your mouth in sufficient quantities to be detected.  Consequently, monitoring abstinence is more difficult.  For example, someone using heroin yesterday is likely to test negative today on an oral test, but positive on a urine test.

However, as long as our customers understand these limitations we are happy to supply what we consider to be the best Saliva Drug Tests / Oral Fluid Drug Testing kits in the industry.


Surface Drug Detection Wipes

Drug testing doesn't always have to involve testing an individual - you can always test their environment.  A good example of this is our Cocaine Surface Drug Detection Wipes.

These user friendly postcard sized swabs are very useful in the workplace or public areas to detect the use or handling of cocaine.  One of our customers for these kits is The Daily Mail who recently mentioned our surface wipes in one of their cocaine surface drug testing articles.

Results from these simple cocaine ID wipes are immediate. Just wipe over any surface which could potentially be contaminated with cocaine and look to see if the wipe turns blue. They can detect cocaine from even trace amounts of drug residue left on any surfaces that have been in direct contact with cocaine or hands which are contaminated.

You can detect both Cocaine Hcl (powder) and Cocaine Base (crack or freebase) - and many companies use them to look for traces of cocaine in company bathrooms, lockers, desks, vehicles, door handles, on light switches or any other surfaces that are flat, smooth and frequently handled.

Contact us for further information - at a fraction over £1 plus VAT per test they are a highly economical way to protect your business from issues relating to occupier's liability under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Please note: These wipes are a screening test for information purposes only. Any preliminary positive results must be confirmed by an alternative methodology before any action is taken.


So why choose Drug-Aware for your Drug Testing requirements?

At Drug-Aware, we pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive solution when it comes to drug testing - we even offer training in drug testing and drug awareness.

Take a look at all of the additional extras we add as standard!


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    For technical information on various drugs and more information relevant to drug testing, please visit our technical drug information section.

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