As part of the application or onboarding process, you may be asked by your employer to complete a drug and alcohol test. More often than not, your job offer is contingent upon the results of this test. To attain these results, employers or their preferred drug testing services providers will use a variety of drug and alcohol tests, including hair follicle test, breath alcohol tests, saliva drug screen, urine drug tests, blood drug screen, and others.

In today’s blog, we at Affordable Evaluations are going to take a look at some of these methods as well as offer some more information regarding drug screenings. If you are in the Houston area and you are in need of professional, comprehensive drug and alcohol evaluations, contact us. We work with virtually every agency and profession, including DOT, ASAP, NASAP, CPS, FMCSA, FRA, and much more. Learn more about our confidential, accurate, and affordable evaluations and contact us today with any questions.

Pre-Employment Drug and Alcohol Screening

As we mentioned, many employers across the country require any new employee to submit and pass a drug and alcohol screening before beginning employment. The laws regarding pre-employment drug testing vary from state to state and from industry to industry. While some states require testing, others do not. Similarly, some industries like the Department of Transportation (DOT) are guided by federal and state drug testing requirements, which often means frequent testing. Other industries where this same type of rigorous testing occurs include aviation, defense, transit, safety, and others.

Random Drug Testing

As the name indicates, random drug testing happens randomly. Because it happens on an unpredictable and unannounced basis, it is also often regarded as being one of the most effective forms of workplace drug screening. For this type of testing, drug testing service providers will use scientifically arbitrary methods to ensure that testing is completely random and fair. Also, depending on the industry, state, and other determining factors a variety of testing methods may be utilized.  

Below are some common types of methods for drug screening employees.

  • Breath Alcohol Test—Also commonly referred to as a breathalyzer, this testing device measures how much alcohol is currently in the blood. These are used when there is a current suspicion of alcohol use since these tests are only able to show immediate levels of intoxication, not past use.
  • Hair Follicle Test—Whereas a breathalyzer test measures current use, the hair follicle test does the opposite but with drugs. The hair test allows employers to look into an employee’s drug use history for the past 90 days. This test is often used to detect the use of marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine.
  • Blood Alcohol and Drug Test—Like a breath alcohol test, a blood alcohol test also measures the amount of drugs or alcohol in the blood at the time that it is drawn. However, unlike a breathalyzer, the results are often regarded as being more accurate and precise.
  • Urine Drug and Alcohol Test—Perhaps the most common form of drug testing, this urinalysis evaluation is able to detect the residual presence of drugs that remain in the body after the effects have worn off. Oftentimes, this test is looking for amphetamine, cocaine, opiates, alcohol, and marijuana.

When Can an Employer Drug Test?

As we mentioned, drug testing laws and work-related substance abuse laws vary from state to state. Many states do have strict laws in place concerning drug testing. For example, some states only allow applicant testing when the potential employee has been given notice and after the job has already been offered. Additionally, regardless of the specific state laws in place, when testing, employers are required to follow laws regarding notice, procedure, and any act of discrimination or inaccurate sampling.

As you can see, there is a lot to the drug testing process. This is why it is important to partner with a professional drug testing service to help facilitate your preferred type of testing. If you are unsure what type would be best for you and your business, no worries. We can guide you through the process, answer all of your questions, and find you the type of drug screening that works best for you. Contact us today to learn more!