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Understanding Pre-Employment Drug Testing

Drug testing

A significant part of creating a productive and safe workplace is the employment of people you can trust and rely on. Pre-employment drug testing allows companies to make informed decisions when selecting employees.

Substance use and abuse cause issues that many employers must deal with. Drug use can be financially draining for employers and employees, can increase absenteeism and decrease capacity, and may pose risks to other staff members, customers, and clients.

ReliaLab’s drug testing assists workplaces in making effective decisions when adding to staff numbers. This involves a range of options that can be chosen depending on goals and requirements.

Why Do Workplaces Implement Pre-Employment Drug Tests?

The most common type of drug testing is pre-employment testing. Drug tests that are performed before a person is officially employed can determine whether they use illegal substances or abuse prescription medication.

It can be an effective and highly beneficial stage in staffing. It can also be effective when carried out when employees return after time off. Identifying drug use is particularly pertinent in working environments where risk is high, such as construction sites and factories.

Drug tests can identify a range of substances such as:

  • Cocaine.
  • Methamphetamines.
  • Opiates.
  • Phencyclidine.
  • THC.

Benefits of pre-employment drug tests can include:

  • Better productivity.
  • Reduced safety risk.
  • Less time off work.
  • Higher employee retainment.
  • Decreased number of compensation claims.

Types Of Drug Tests

There are four types of drug tests that are commonly used for pre-employment purposes. Choosing the most appropriate is reliant on the goals and requirements of the workplace.

Urine Test

Urinalysis is the most used method and is often conducted after a conditional employment offer has been made. This test can identify traces that remain after use in the previous eighty hours. The ability to monitor for reliability and honesty must be considered with this form of testing.


Using blood to test for drugs is accurate and effective and though it is more invasive and costly than other methods, it is the most preferred form of evidence in courts. At ReliaLab, we keep the samples after initial testing so that a second test can be run if an attorney or judge requests it.


A specimen is obtained by using a swab on the inside of the mouth. Utilizing the oral testing method means that the process can be monitored completely, reducing the risk of cheating or altering specimens. This type of test is also easy to conduct on-site, which reduces the time taken and costs.

Saliva testing identifies recent or current drug use, indicating a positive reading for substances used in the past twenty-four to forty-eight hours. The on-the-spot results can be gained within minutes, which can allow for swift action that requires ‘reasonable suspicion’. This preliminary result will then be tested in a professional laboratory for further action.


Drug testing using hair follicles is possible with a sample taken from the head or the body. This form of testing can be more comprehensive than other tests. It can also be more reliable because employees may be surprised and not prepare like they may do for urine tests.

Hair is tested for the presence of drugs or their by-products. A sample of 1.5 inches can allow for a detection timeframe of up to ninety days after drug use. It does not detect current drug use as it takes drugs five to ten days to reach the hair follicles. Due to differing hair growth rates around the body, results can vary depending on where the sample was sourced.

The Legality Behind Drug Testing

Laws regarding drug testing in the workplace differ from state to state. Employers should ensure they have a clear understanding of what is appropriate in their area.

General guidelines for pre-employment drug testing include:

  • Job applicants must know that a drug test will be part of the screening process for new employees.
  • The same type of drug testing method must be used for all applicants to the job.
  • A state-certified laboratory must administer and process the drug tests.

Ensure New Employees Are Drug Free

No matter the size of the workforce, ensuring you make the right decision when it comes to employment can have a significant impact on the outcomes for your business or company.

Drug-related issues can have a huge impact on output and success, costs and claims, safety, teamwork and motivation, and employees’ overall health and wellbeing.

ReliaLab clinicians are qualified to process pre-employment drug tests and can assist in developing a suitable drug testing policy and procedure program. Contact us to discuss the drug testing method most suitable for your workplace.


Order a Test

Whether you are an individual looking to get a drug test done today or an employer looking to get a pre-employment drug test done today, ordering a test online is easier than ever! Just submit your order online, receive your test authorization by email, go to your local clinic to be tested, and receive your test results in 24 to 48 hours.

Hours of Operation

Monday 8AM–12PM, 1–4:30PM
Tuesday 8AM–12PM, 1–4:30PM
Wednesday 8AM–12PM, 1–4:30PM
Thursday 8AM–12PM, 1–4:30PM
Friday 8AM–12:30PM, 1–3PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our lab.