Screening Drug Test

Definition - What does Screening Drug Test mean?

A screening drug test is an initial drug test. A screening test is often done using an immunoassay method and some screening tests can return near instant results. Screening tests, depending on the type of screening test used, can be done either on-site or in a lab.

Screening tests allow an employer to quickly screen large numbers of employees for the most commonly abused drugs such as amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, benzodiazepines, PCP, and opioids.

Because of test limitations and the chances of a false positive on most screening tests, if the result is positive a second confirmatory test must be completed.

WorkplaceTesting explains Screening Drug Test

A screening drug test is usually taken by an employee within 24 hours (usually sooner) after notification that a drug test will be conducted. This is to reduce the ability of those being tested to abstain from drug use purely for the test or to adulterate the sample.

Drug screening tests are often conducted on site (using an instant or express test version) by trained staff, either external or trained employees, and offer a low cost method of quickly screening lots of employees. However, screening test samples can also be collected onsite but sent to a laboratory facility to be tested in more controlled conditions. Screening tests completed in a lab setting still use immunoassay technology and positive results must be confirmed using another testing method. Positive screening test results are usually confirmed using a more expensive and detailed laboratory testing to ensure accuracy. Usually, GC/MS or LC/MS is used for the second testing to confirm a positive from a screening test.

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