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When seeking a job today, many employers require pre-employment drug testing. This screening can cause some anxiety in some prospective job candidates, as they do not know precisely how the test works and what may disqualify them for the job. Laws regulating drug testing vary from state to state, with some states requiring drug testing for job applicants.


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Drug testing is one action an employer can take to determine if employees or job applicants are using drugs. It can identify evidence of recent use of alcohol, prescription drugs and illicit drugs.

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Pre-employment drug and alcohol screening

There are several preventive services an employer can take advantage of to improve workplace safety, such as personal protective equipment PPE training and worksite risk analyses. Another cost-saving, preventive measure is pre-employment drug tests.

A pre-employment drug test is used to determine if a prospective hire uses illicit substances or abuses prescription medication. It may also be used for employees who are returning to work after an injury or absence, at which time it may be referred to as a pre-placement drug test.

These drug tests typically screen for the use of the following illegal drugs but can test for others if needed :. The most prominent drug testing specimen types are urine, hair, blood, and saliva.

Urine is the most common and is mandated for regulated drug tests, such as those conducted by the U. Department of Transportation DOT. However, urine testing has a shorter window of detection when compared to other types, such as the costlier hair drug test. Illicit substances are detectable for only five to 10 days in urine ; whereas, hair drug tests can detect drug or alcohol use for up to 90 days.

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Blood testing is very accurate, but costly and invasive. It does have a shorter detection period minutes to hourshowever.

Finally, a saliva test also known as an oral fluid test is a less-invasive test that also has a shorter detection period hours than urine tests. A saliva drug test can be an effective alternative to urine testing if an employer wants to avoid issues that arise when an employee does not provide sufficient urine.

If workplace safety is of the utmost importance to a company, then conducting pre-employment drug tests can help mitigate risks associated with drug misuse. By indicating on a job application that an offer of employment may be contingent on the of a drug test, an employer can help to deter substance abusers from applying altogether.

What is tested in pre-employment drug screening?

For occupations that place employees in safety-sensitive environments, pre-employment drug testing is critical. The legality of drug testing is evolving and can vary from state to state.

There are some general best practice guidelines, which include the following:. While most urgent care clinicians can perform pre-employment drug tests, many lack the expert knowledge of all types of workplace drug tests. They also are not the most qualified to assist an employer with developing a company drug testing policy.

What substances do pre-employment urine drug tests screen for?

Workplace drug testing falls under the scope of services provided by occupational health providers. Concentra medical centers have trained occupational health clinicians who perform pre-employment drug tests based on the applicable state and federal testing regulations. In addition, Concentra clinicians have the expertise to advise employers on their substance abuse program and the staffing, facilities, and equipment to streamline the workplace drug testing process. Learn more about Concentra workplace drug testing or contact your nearby Concentra to schedule pre-employment drug testing.

By Lawrence E. What is a pre-employment drug test? These drug tests typically screen for the use of the following illegal drugs but can test for others if needed : Methamphetamines meth, speed, crank, ecstasy THC cannabinoids, marijuana, hash Cocaine coke, crack Opiates heroin, opium, codeine, morphine Phencyclidine PCP, angel dust Drug testing specimen types The most prominent drug testing specimen types are urine, hair, blood, and saliva. Why employers should require pre-employment drug testing If workplace safety is of the utmost importance to a company, then conducting pre-employment drug tests can help mitigate risks associated with drug misuse.

There are some general best practice guidelines, which include the following: The applicant must know in advance that pre-employment drug testing is part of the new employee screening process Applicants for the same job must undergo the same type of drug test Drug tests must be administered at a state-certified laboratory Pre-employment drug testing is an occupational health service While most urgent care clinicians can perform pre-employment drug tests, many lack the expert knowledge of all types of workplace drug tests. Featured Articles. Our Newsletter.