Drug testing is the process of collecting and evaluating a biological sample, i.e. urine or blood, to determine if a person has been using any drugs.
Under the Department of Transportation requirements all employees who perform safety sensitive duties under the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Motor Carriers Administration (FMCA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Federal Transit Authority (FTA), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration, and United States Coast Guard (USCG) are required to drug test for many reasons. Also many hospitals and health care related facilities require drug testing.
Drug testing in the workplace lessens the impact from drug abuse as well as keeping a safe and productive work environment for employees.
There are several different ways to drug test through urine collection, hair samples, blood test, and saliva testing. Urine testing is the most common way to test for drugs even after the effects of the drug have subsided. Hair testing will reveal drug use in a longer window of time up to 3 months. Blood testing is used to detect drugs and/or alcohol immediately present in a person's system. Finally, saliva testing is also used to immediately test for drugs but will only reveal drug use up to 3 days prior.
Most drug panel screens test for 5 of the most commonly abused drugs; marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines , Phencyclidine (PCP), and Opioids. In addition to the basic 5 panel drug screen there are 10 panel drug screens that include methamphetamines, ecstacy(MDMA, and MDA), codeine/morphine, hydrocodone/hydromorphone/oxycodone/oxymorphone, 6-acetylmorphine (heroin). Some laboratories offer custom panels to test for specific substances upon request.