Facts about Pre-Employment Drug and Alcohol Screening

Facts about Pre-Employment Drug and Alcohol Screening | HealthSoul

Refusing to do drug testing can have negative consequences in some states. Your employer can suspend you or even terminate you.

Job candidates will be asked to take an alcohol and drug test during the assessment process.

Companies can do so before or even after the acceptance, depending on local or state laws and company policies. You can screen workers for alcohol or drugs in the workplace as allowed by federal rules.

Companies use various drug and alcohol tests related to employment. Blood, urine, hair, breathing, sweat, and saliva are examples of employee drug screening that indicate the existence of drugs or alcohol. However, you have the full right to refuse random drug testing.

Below, you will find information on the types of drug tests employers use, the screening times for applicants and employees, and the types of drugs you must test.

What is a Pre-Employment Drug Test?

Pre-employment drug tests are conducted to help determine whether potential employees are using drugs or misusing prescription drugs.

You can also use it for workers returning to work due to an injury or absence from work, in which case it could be called a pre-placement drug test.

Employers generally require job applicants to complete a drug test before hiring them. Job opportunities may depend on the applicant’s ability to pass the exam.

These drug tests usually screen for using these illicit drugs:

  • THC (cannabinoid, hemp, hashish)
  • Methamphetamine (methyl, speed, crank, ecstasy)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust)
  • Opiates (heroin, opium, codeine, morphine)
  • Cocaine (cola, crack)
  • Opiates (heroin, opium, codeine, morphine)

Here are the few things you should know before undergoing a drug screening!

Drug Testing Specimen Types

Blood, hair, urine, and saliva are the most common sources of drug screening tests. Urine is by far the most typical method of liquid used. It is necessary by the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) for controlled substance screening.

However, compared to other urinalysis types (such as more expensive capillary drug tests), urinalysis has a shorter detection window. Urine can hardly detect drugs for 5 to 10 days; a hair drug test can identify alcohol or drug use for 90 days.

Blood tests are very accurate but expensive and evasive.

That being said, the identification period is comparatively short, from a few minutes to an hour. Finally, the saliva test (also called a saliva test) is a less invasive test with a shorter test time (7-21 hours) than the urine test.

If employers want to avoid problems when employees do not urinate enough, a saliva test can replace a urine test.

Why Do Employers Require Testing?

As protection at work is of the utmost significance to an organization, pre-employment drug monitoring will reduce the risk of drug misuse.

By specifying in your job application that the job offered may depend on drug test results, your employer can help prevent drug addicts from applying.

Pre-employment drug testing is essential for workers in a safety-sensitive environment because it can reduce costly workers’ compensation claims for drug or alcohol use.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):

  • Up to 50% of all workers’ compensation claims are related to drug abuse in the workplace
  • Material damage can cause 3.5 times more accidents
  • Drug abuse can increase the possibility of workers missing eight or more workdays each year by 2.5 times
  • Substance abuse can reduce productivity by 33%

The Legality of Employee Drug Testing

The regulation of drug screening is continuously changing and may vary by state.

If employers are unsure whether their rules comply with all relevant national laws, they should consult their attorney. There are a few basic guidelines on the best technique, such as:

  • Candidates must anticipate that pre-employment drug testing is part of the current recruiting process.
  • Candidates for the same position must receive the very same form of drug screening.
  • It would be best if drug testing is done in a certified national laboratory.

Pre-Employment Drug and Alcohol Screening

When does an employer need to test? Employers may conduct pre-employment drug testing and, in some cases, may also conduct drug and alcohol testing on employees.

Employment may depend on passing drug and alcohol tests. Laws on drug testing vary by state. Some states have limitations on when and how screening tests are done.

In certain cases, drug screening is mandated by the law. For instance, the US Department of Transport controlled sectors are covered by state or federal drug safety regulations.

While employers can screen employees randomly, they must be consistent with those requesting drug tests. They cannot selectively test certain candidates for certain positions.

Company Drug and Alcohol Test Policies

Many organizations monitor job applicants for unlawful drug use during the job recruitment period. Similarly, you may screen employees for drug and/or alcohol use when permitted by state law.

Here are a few things you should know about drug screening before employment.

The company’s drug testing policy determines how and when the company tests drugs and alcohol by reviewing the sample.

Workplace Substance Abuse Regulations

Federal and state laws guide the rules that employers can adopt regarding drug abuse in the workplace. Employers can ban drug and alcohol use, conduct drug tests, and fire employees for drug use. Even so, state and federal employment and disability regulations cover employees with drug issues.

Passing a Drug Test

You can test potential employees for drugs and alcohol before employment. You will monitor your workers for alcohol or drugs in the organization.

What if you are worried about passing a drug test? Or how long alcohol remains in your body? The easiest way to do this is to ensure that there were no medications in the bloodstream.

Legal Marijuana and Company Drug Testing

The lawful use of medicinal and recreational drugs by employees is amplified because it has not approved marijuana.

In some jurisdictions, the law covers medicinal users of marijuana, although others do not. The New York City Compassionate Care Act, for obvious reasons, safeguards employees.

Patients who need medicinal cannabis are considered “exceptions” by the New York State for civil rights.

Blood Drug and Alcohol Tests

Blood drug trials may be used to monitor work candidates or workers for drugs. The screening test determines the level of alcohol or medications in the blood during the processing.

Drugs evaluated in a standard blood test contain cocaine, amphetamine, heroin, crystal meth, morphine, tobacco, and hard liquor.

Breath Alcohol Tests

The breath alcohol test kit, commonly known as a type of kit (breath analyzer), is used to measure the amount of alcohol in the blood. The breath alcohol test shows the current level of injury or poisoning, not the previous use level. Usually, one ounce of alcohol stays in the body for an hour.

Mouth Swab Drug and Alcohol Tests

The oral swab drug screening (also identified as a saliva or fluid test) requires collecting saliva from inside a workplace employee or candidate’s mouth.

Saliva is tested in the first hours (up to a day or two). Saliva is easy to gather and evaluate, allowing it the easiest and quickest appropriate drug test.

Hair Drug Tests

The hair drug test includes a 90-day cycle of use. It does not indicate the actual harm caused by the drug, only past use. The hair drug screening does not identify the use of alcohol.

It can test cocaine, marijuana, opium, methamphetamine, and phencyclidine on the hair. To conduct the procedure, specialists will remove 100 hair strands near the scalp to search for narcotics in the hair’s vein.

Urine Drug and Alcohol Tests

Urine drug monitoring is most widely used for screening work candidates or workers for illegal substances or alcohol use. Urinalysis shows that after the drug has worn off, some drug remains in the body.

The pre-employment evaluation may require a urine test, or your employer may perform a random urine test, especially for workers in certain professions.

Occupational Health Service

While most emergency physicians can perform pre-employment drug testing, many lack experience with all types of workplace drug testing. They are also not the most qualified to help employers formulate company drug testing policies.

Drug testing in the workplace is part of the services provided by occupational health professionals. According to relevant federal and state testing laws, some medical centers teach occupational health practitioners to perform pre-employment substance testing.


Also, doctors educate employers on substance abuse services and on employees, resources, and supplies to ease their drug review process.

Whether your company has more than 50,000 employees or fewer than 50 local employees, it is best to work with an occupational health professional to meet your drug testing needs.