If you are applying for a job, participating as a professional athlete, or are involved in a legal case, a request to participate in a drug screening could be issued.
Drug screening tests measure the levels of specific substances within an individual’s body. Substances tested for are alcohol and illegal substances, such as opioids, amphetamines, and cocaine.
These tests are carried out by medically analyzing samples of an individual’s bodily fluids. Fluids can be blood, saliva, sweat, and urine, urine testing being the most common. There are also tests that use hair, rather than a bodily fluid to check for the presence of substances.
Drug screenings are carried out by employers typically to ensure that an individual they want to hire, is fit for employment. Actively using individuals tend to be unreliable, and in some job settings, like construction, being intoxicated can be extremely dangerous.
In the case of legal dealings, persons suspected of being intoxicated during a crime often receive screen requests. Screenings performed help to determine if someone was drunk driving or confirm if drug influence was involved in a crime.
For sporting events, blood-doping is illegal as it gives some competitors an unfair advantage. Drug screenings ensure that none of the athletes are using banned performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids.
If an individual is not someone who has trouble with illegal substances and, in the case of alcohol, is of proper drinking age with a BAC within legal limits, then a drug screening is a formality often, especially in the case of employment. It merely serves to clear any possible concern about substance use definitively.
For those who are taking medications, over the counter or prescription, take care to inform the provider. Some drugs can show up as false positives on screening tests and cause you to fail a screening if you do not notify the provider.
Failing a drug screening; however, if medication is not the cause of positives will often bar you from employment and possibly have further legal consequences.
If you receive a request to participate in a drug screening, you will typically need to go to a lab. A medical professional will collect a sample, be it urine, blood, or hair, while you are there. The sample will be processed, and the wait time is typically two weeks for results.