Many employers in the US have policies that prohibit employees from using drugs and often go out their way to keep their offices drug-free by randomly checking employees for drug usage. The most common method of testing for drugs is screening the urine. A urine drug test kit tests the presence of prescription and illegal drugs in the urine.
Typically, a urine drug test can screen a person for the following illegal and prescription drugs:
It is prudent to remember that alcohol is usually detected with the help of breath tests and not urine tests. However, it is quite possible that certain organizations make alcohol screening a part of their screening tests.
Purpose of a Urine Drug Test
Different circumstances may warrant a urine drug test. For instance, a doctor may feel that a patient has a possible substance abuse problem and may decide to perform a urine drug test. If the result is positive, the doctor will initiate a treatment plan. Other possible reasons for a urine drug test include the following:
- Pre-Employment and On-the-Job Screening: Many organisations may mandate candidates get their urine tested to identify drug or substance abuse. There are some jobs that require employees to be clear headed and hence, such jobs will require not just pre-employment drug screen but also on-the-job drug screening to ensure employees judgment and physical abilities have not be impaired due to drug usage.
- Athletic Drug Testing: Athletes in college and professionals sports have to get their urine tested to ensure they are not taking performance-enhancing drugs.
- Post-Accident Drug Testing: If a vehicular or on-the-job accident takes place and human error is suspected, the people involved will be put through urine drug test to rule out drug usage or substance abuse. This is especially true if the accident results in property damage and/or casualties.
Drug testing is mandatory when apply for position in the airline industry, federal transportation, hospital, railways or any other workplace where public safety is important. This said, many employers in the US are now resorting to using urine drug test kit to minimize the negative effect of drug abuse and also address low productivity and safety concerns within their organizations.
How Long Do Drugs Stay in the System?
Many people who have to face drug test at their workplace or the hospital often wonder how long do drugs stay in the system. There are many factors that come into play and these include the following:
- The half-life of the drug
- Fluid levels in the body
- How often the person uses drugs
- How was the drug taken
- The cut-off concentration level used in the test to detect the drug
Most facilities adopt general guidelines for detection time. A majority of drugs stay in the system anywhere from two days to four days. However, if the person is a habitual user, it is quite possible to detect drugs even after three to four weeks. Also, some drugs, like diazepam, have a long half-life and these drugs can be detected weeks after a person ceases to take them.
Accuracy of Urine Drug Test
A urine drug test kit, which comprises a sample collection cup and a test strip, is designed to be sensitive to detect drugs in the urine. Hence, if the specified drug is present, the kit will yield a positive result.
It is prudent to realize that this test is a qualitative test and just shows the presence of the drug, but not the quantity. So, to find out how much drug is present in the system after getting a positive result from the urine drug test, it would be necessary to send the urine sample to a laboratory. This way, it will confirm the result of the urine drug test, as certain foods, beverages, medications and food supplements can have an effect on the result.
Other factors that can affect the result of a drug urine test include:
- The method of storing the urine sample
- The food or drink the person consumed prior to the test
- The prescription or OTC drugs that the person may have taken prior to the urine test
The Bottom Line
A urine drug test kit provides a quick and simple way to test for substance abuse or recreational drugs. When used correctly, the kit can provide instant results, which can be reconfirmed with a laboratory test.