Drug Testing 101: Understanding Drug Detection Time in Drug Testing
Workplace drug testing can be a tricky thing for employers who want to implement it in their premises. Regular or randomized drug testing indeed assures an employer that the workplace is drug-free, but it can still open a few cans of worms that may be a headache for human resources to deal with. There will always be employees who will create a ruckus about drug testing on various grounds, or at least put up a resistance against the idea. That is why employers need to be sure that they understand what workplace drug testing entails and what issues must be addressed regarding it.
One of the things that employers need to understand regarding drug testing is drug detection time. Drug detection time refers to the period of time after the drug test subject has taken drugs in which the test can successfully trace the presence of metabolites in the sample that the test subject presented. The success and effectiveness of the drug test depends on a number of factors, and these include drug detection time.
How Drug Detection Time Works
As stated above, drug detection time is one of the factors that determine how effective a drug test is. When a person takes drugs or illegal substances like marijuana, these substances stay in the person’s system for a while. The presence of drugs within the person’s system also leads to chemical changes called metabolites. Drug tests work by detecting traces of such drugs or metabolites in a person’s system.
However, these drug traces or metabolites will not stay in a person’s body forever. The body processes them through metabolism, just like it does food. It will take some time for the body to actually process these substances, and it still depends on the type of substances the person has taken in, the frequency of usage or intake, and the person’s metabolic rate. Still, the body will eventually flush these substances out.
In drug testing, drug detection time is crucial because a few days’ difference can determine whether someone fails or passes a drug test. It still depends on the specimen submitted for drug testing, however. For example, marijuana can be detected in urine from 3 to 35 days after one last smoked it. On the other hand, in hair drug test, marijuana can be detected even after three years of last usage, depending on the length of hair sample taken.
What Drug Detection Time Means for Employers
Understanding how drug detection time works can encourage employers to go for more effective ways of drug testing employees. For instance, they can buy testing products or engage the services of a laboratory that makes use of hair instead of urine. As mentioned above, hair retains metabolites longer than urine does, and it is reported that there are ways to cheat drug tests using urine samples.
Also, by understanding how drug detection time works, employers can become more sensitive when it comes to dealing with employees who have tested positive on drug tests. After all, it is entirely possible that a person who tested positive on a drug test only did so because he or she ate poppy seeds on a sandwich for lunch on the day the drug test sample was taken. This will make workplace drug testing a lot less stressful for everyone involved.