You may need to get a drug test for a variety of reasons. It could be for employment, admission to a sports association, or even legal purposes. There are many types of drug testing methods, and the requesting party will specify which type of method you are required to employ.
Here are the different drug testing methods commonly provided by medical practices across the country, as well as their accuracy rates.
Drug Testing Methods
Drug testing methods differ in accuracy, cost, and technique. These tests search for traces of drugs—or chemical metabolites—in the specimen you provide. They also have different detection windows, which is the period drugs remain perceptible in your sample since you last took them.
Below is a list of six common drug testing methods, as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
The urine-based drug test is possibly the most popular screening type for substance detection. You will likely find a lot of urgent care clinics offering urine tests near you. Reasons for its popularity include its inexpensiveness. In addition, you can carry out a urine test in a doctor’s office, a laboratory, or even at home.
- Urine is available in sufficient quantities.
- Drug and substance concentration detected in urine is higher than in blood.
- Point-of-care tests are available.
- The test is intrusive, and some individuals may experience a “shy bladder.”
- The window of detection is short.
- The specimen is easy to manipulate.
Blood drug testing is typically performed only during emergencies due to the invasiveness of getting a blood sample. Unlike in urine, blood sample tests do not detect metabolites but rather the drug compound itself.
- Blood samples generally detect recently used drugs.
- It can detect alcohol in the blood.
- There is a limited window of detection.
- There is a very small risk of infection in the injection site.
- Individuals with poor venous access may have a difficult time with sample collection.
- Blood drug testing is expensive.
3. Saliva/Oral Fluids
Oral fluid testing is an inexpensive and non-invasive screening for drugs. The use of saliva is uncommon, but it can produce accurate results as a method of drug testing.
- Saliva is easy to collect and hard to tamper with.
- It can detect substances or metabolites within a day.
- Point-of-care tests are available.
- Oral fluid testing can detect the residual drug in the mouth.
- The sample is limited in volume.
- Residual compounds in the mouth sometimes cannot be correlated with the drug concentration in the blood.
- It has a short window of detection.
- The patient needs supervision before testing.
Performing a sweat drug test requires sweat sample collection from patches placed on the skin for 3-7 days. Sample collection is non-invasive. You can do it anywhere, and the patches will be delivered to a lab facility for examination. It is a less common method of drug testing.
- It can detect the recent use of drugs and even allow cumulative testing.
- Samples are hard to manipulate or adulterate.
- Limited testing centers offer this drug testing method.
- Variable sweat excretion of individuals may contribute to results.
- External contaminants may affect the patch.
Hair tests detect chronic use of drug substances. Metabolites in drugs can stay trapped in the core of the hair as it grows. While it has a long window of detection, this test can be expensive and time-consuming. Nevertheless, it is an effective way to get accurate results.
- Has the longest window of detection out of all tests.
- Results can show changes in drug use over time.
- The sample is readily available, easily stored, and hard to degrade.
- It cannot detect recent drug use.
- Low-level use is hard to detect.
- Hair color may pose a bias due to melanin binding in hair.
- Contamination from the environment is possible.
Breath testing commonly uses a breathalyzer, a device that can immediately estimate blood alcohol content. Other devices can detect substances such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.
- Sample collection is easy with the use of a device.
- It is a well-established test for alcohol.
- The test is limited to alcohol and other volatile substances.
- Sample collection is challenging with very intoxicated or uncooperative individuals.
Accuracy of Drug Test Methods
The accuracy of drug screening methods varies. Some biological samples may generate more accurate results than others. Accuracy of results may also depend on:
- Technology or device used in the test
- Chemical nature of the drugs or metabolites
- Procedures and assays were done during testing
- Presence of external contaminants
- Skills and expertise of test providers or laboratories
Drug Testing Near Me In North Richland Hills, TX
Whatever reason you may have for getting a drug test, going to a quality testing center is crucial. If you’re looking for drug testing near you, visit EMC Express Care today!
We offer a convenient walk-in drug test service. When you get tested through us, we will provide you with comprehensive information about the processes involved in the test. We also value the integrity of our service, so rest assured that no tampering of samples will happen.