While the standard for drug testing is urine, there are actually many different ways to test if someone’s on drugs. Hair, saliva and even perspiration can all be used as samples of drug testing – it just depends on what you’re looking for! We lay those out for you here:
The urine test is the most common and only federally mandated type of drug testing. It’s approved for measuring whether metabolites are present or absent in your urine – this means that a positive outcome doesn’t necessarily mean you’re currently using drugs, it could have been up to 3 days ago! With the use of a urine test, one can detect drugs such as amphetamine, cocaine, PCP (phencyclidine), methadone, opioids and marijuana.
Blood testing is an invasive and expensive test, but it’s also the most accurate type of drug screen. It can be used to detect a wide variety of drugs including fentanyl, nicotine LSD, codeine among others. The window for blood tests closes after about 8 hours on average which makes them more reliable than other types of screens when someone may have been under the influence very recently. Blood testing is typically only conducted for court-ordered purposes or when you have insurance.
Saliva tests are a common type of drug test that take 24-48 hours to complete. They’re used for detecting drugs like marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines but they can be tampered with so it is suggested you avoid eating or drinking anything before the procedure.
Hair Follicle tests: Cutting hair to produce a strand of about 1.5 inches long is the best option for accurate and reliable drug testing – even if it’s more expensive, time-consuming, or requires one to be clean-shaven in order to take them from other parts of their body like arms, legs etcetera (e.g., armpit). The detection window is 90 days! However, it can’t detect recent usage so there are chances that drugs could have been used recently but not detected on this test. It has an accuracy rate higher than 95% when identifying most drugs except alcohol which cannot get picked up by these types of screenings altogether because they don’t work with liquids/invisible substances
Sweat drug tests: A sweat patch is applied to the skin and monitors sweat for any detectable drugs. It usually stays on your body up to a week, testing for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and PCP among other substances that are most often used by those who have probation or parole.