All about Drug Test Questions and Problems

Some employers might choose to administer a drug test before or even after employment to keep the workplace safe. The tests are especially crucial if you are in an industry that requires people to be alert or work with heavy equipment. However, many questions arise when it comes to drug testing. This is why most institutions and organizations invest in a lot of training to address some of the concerns such as which drugs are tested, which method to test, consequences of trying to cheat a drug test, and the measures taken to avoid having a test positive. However, if you are new to this world, here are some common issues regarding drug testing.


What are some of the types of employment drug tests?

There are several tests employees can be subjected to when it comes to drug testing. Due to company policy, some companies might opt to pick some of these tests or have all of them. Some of these tests include:

1.    Pre-employment drug test

These are tests usually conducted by an employer before formally inviting you to join their organization. The primary purpose of a pre-employment drug test is to prohibit individuals who use illegal drugs from joining the organization. Some organizations usually do the drug screening before and warn applicants that they will be subjected to a drug test.

On the other hand, some do it during the probationary period at random to curb cheating before the test. Some employees stop using drugs well before the date they are due for the test. However, it is essential to note that the America Disability Act forbids pre-employment testing to check for any alcohol use in a drug test for employment purposes.

2.    Reasonable Suspicion

This test is also known as the “probable cause” or “for cause.” This test is usually conducted when a supervisor or HR decides to investigate you and notice any signs or symptoms that you have been using drugs or violate drug-free workplace policies. This drug and alcohol test usually requires the employee to have clear, strong, and concise definitions, rules, and behaviors to justify drug and alcohol testing. Employees under reasonable suspicion testing need to take a leave of absence until the results are out. These tests usually require employers to carry out rigorous training of supervisors and HR personnel for the tests to be considered valid.

3.    Post-accident test

Post Accident testing is usually done in the event of property damage to determine if drugs or alcohol were a determinant factor. Employers need to set criteria to trigger a post-accident test. For instance, if there were fatalities in the accident, a reference issued by the police, or property worth a huge monetary value was lost. However, it is essential to note that even though a drug test might come out positive, it might not necessarily mean that it was the reason for the test. It is encouraged to do the test within the first 12 hours of the accident. Employees are usually advised to stay away from duty while awaiting the drug test results.

4.    Random drug tests

A random drug test is usually carried out without prior knowledge of the employees. A computer usually does the pooling through employee numbers or social security numbers to make sure the tests are random.

5.    Periodic tests

These tests are usually conducted during a particular time of the year. However, most employers conduct this annually when doing physicals as well.

6.    Return to duty testing

This is usually done when an employee has tested positive, undergone treatment, and is ready to come back to work. It is also done when an employee has taken a sabbatical to examine if they are prepared to get back to work.

Some methods include urine and oral drug testing, which is usually the most common testing method. Hair and blood testing are usually done if you want very accurate results. Other types of tests include sweat or breath tests.


Is it legal for an SMB to ask someone to do a drug test?

Small and medium-sized enterprises are not barred by any federal laws to carry out drug tests. However, you need to be very careful about what state laws say about random drug tests. Even with these considerations, small enterprises can still use a drug test for employment. However, they are still advised to carry out tests consistently, be fair and have formal guidelines on how to go about drug tests.


What are drugs or substances that can be detected in a drug test?

There is a wide range of drug and alcohol urine tests done by employers. However, most of them are used to detect opioids, codeine, cannabis, morphine, alcohol, and steroids, among other drugs.

A 10-panel drug test can detect the most frequently or misused prescription drugs. It is primarily used in law enforcement and occupational medicine testing. The 4-panel tests are usually used to determine if you are using opioids, cocaine, THC, oxycodone, and ecstasy. The 7-panel tests are usually done on employees suspected of abusing prescription drugs. It is also effective for professions that require someone to be on high alerts, such as transport.


Can you cheat on a drug test?

For some passing, a drug test might not be possible as they might have indulged in illegal drugs a few days before the test. As a result, they might use other means to pass the drug test. In some cases, some present synthetic urine or use someone else’s sample for their alcohol urine test. Others might dilute their samples by drinking a lot of water or directly adding water to the sample. In some cases, some might put chemicals such as soap or salt into the samples.


When can a false positive be received in a drug test?

A false positive is usually when your sample tests positive for drug use while you have not been using any drugs. The likelihood of a false positive occurring in a drug test is usually about 10 to 15%. If you take foods with high yeast content, such as bread or pizza, false positives can occur, leading to your sample testing positive for alcohol. In some cases, when taken in quantities larger than 800 milligrams, drugs such as Ibuprofen might lead to a fake positive for cannabis or barbiturates. Poppy seeds in porridge or cookies might result in a false positive for morphine or codeine. Passive weed smoking can also affect your results if the sample is taken a day after exposure to the smoke.


What are some of the factors that can influence drug test results?

Many factors might influence drug tests. For instance, the person reading your results needs to be well trained when interpreting the results of drug tests. If a person does not have proper training, it might result in an invalid result or conclusion.

The time of collection and testing are other factors that might affect the result. The effectiveness of the results depends on how long do drug test results take after sample collection. It is essential to ensure that the samples are not exposed to things that might affect their results, such as high temperatures or a place where they can be diluted. In oral testing, recent drug use is something that can influence results. The detection window is usually 1 to 2 days after, which means someone can delay and do the test when their sample is clean.



Most companies opt to hire reputable professionals to guide them through the drug testing process. Therefore, it is essential to be well informed about drug testing policies and procedures. What are some of your company’s drug testing policies? Are your organization’s drug testing policies easy to read and understand? Please share with us in the comments.