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4 Different Types of Drug Testing

Drug testing is performed in many different situations. Employers may require it of current or prospective employees to ensure that their work ability is not impaired. Athletes are frequently tested to check that they are not using performance-enhancing substances. Law enforcement may perform drug testing to determine whether alcohol or controlled substances were a factor in a traffic accident. Because there are different types of drugs, there are also different types of drug testing. Each involves taking a biological sample to evaluate whether certain substances are present in the body.

4 Different Types of Drug Testing

1. Hair Testing

Hair follicle testing Richmond VA is useful for evaluating long-term drug use. Substances such as methamphetamine, opiates, marijuana, and cocaine remain in the hair for approximately 90 days from the date of last use. Lab personnel usually collect the hair in the office to prevent substituting someone else’s hair.

2. Blood Testing

Blood testing requires a needle stick to collect a sample, making it a more invasive test. It works on a short-term basis before the body metabolizes the drugs. It has the advantage of being difficult to alter or adulterate the sample. Toxicology tests in emergency rooms usually involve blood testing.

3. Urine Testing

While the length of time that urine testing is effective varies by substance, many are still detectable within one to three days of use. This means that it can detect the presence of drugs in the system even after the effects have worn off. Employers who conduct drug testing of the workforce usually use urine testing.

4. Saliva Testing

Saliva testing is common in employment drug screenings, though less so than urine testing. It can detect usage within up to two days, but it is not good for long-term testing and requires the test subject to refrain from eating or drinking for up to 10 minutes prior to collecting the sample. This is accomplished with a mouth swab to collect oral fluid.

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