solutions for employers
Maintaining a drug-free workplace can be a challenge. Recent changes in laws regarding THC make it even more difficult to hire and to ensure that your workplace remains drug-free. NW Testing can help with this, providing you with resources, education and guidance along the way. In most cases saliva, urine and hair are the most appropriate specimens for workplace testing. If you need help deciding what drugs to include in your drug screens, see our FAQ section.
Pre-employment testing is the first step in creating a drug-free workplace. However, to ensure that your workplace remains drug-free, consider adding random testing to your workplace policy. Implementing a random testing program is an affordable and reliable way to protect your company’s reputation, your equipment and your employees’ confidence that they are working in a safe environment.
Post-Accident and Reasonable Cause Testing
Accidents happen, but the ones that were due to substance abuse on the job can be prevented. Post-accident and reasonable cause testing can help provide answers you need to avoid costly claims.
Saliva provides a very limited window of detection, going back from time of ingestion to 72 hours. This test is appropriate for post-accident and reasonable cause testing as it provides short-term results. A positive saliva screen confirms that the employee very recently ingested the positive drug and was likely to have been under the influence of the drug(s) detected at the time of the incident or suspicious behavior. Due to the cost of test kits and the laboratory confirmation process for positive results, saliva tends to be more expensive than urine screening.
Pros: Less invasive of privacy than urine, shorter detection period (good option for THC-friendly employers), difficult to cheat on.
Cons: shorter detection period, more expensive than urine, instant saliva tests not legal in all states for workplace testing.
Urine is still the most commonly used specimen in drug testing due to it’s longer window of detection than saliva and it’s relatively low cost. Urine goes back from as little as 24 hours for stimulants like amphetamine and cocaine, and up to 13 weeks for THC for heavy or regular users. With an average detection window of 5-7 days, urine provides a low-cost solution for most employers not wanting to go further back in time.
Pros: Low cost, provides a fairly good detection window.
Cons: Requires privacy, requires both gender collection staff be available for problem collections, easy to cheat if conducted by poorly-trained collector/test site.
Hair provides a much longer window of detection, going back for up to 180 days. In certain industries with higher employment standards due to increased responsibility or safety concerns, hair testing provides a longer window of detection into the employees past habits. Scalp hair provides a 90-day detection period, and body hair provides 180 days detection.
Pros: Longer window of detection provides more assurance that an employee is truly drug-free and didn’t just abstain for a brief time prior to a urine or saliva screen. More difficult to cheat than urine.
Cons: More expensive than urine or saliva, accuracy affected by certain hair treatments such as coloration and bleaching. May seem more invasive if body hair is taken because scalp hair was not sufficient. Will not detect very recent use of drugs due to the 7 – 10 days required for metabolites to be deposited into the hair that is collected. (NW Testing recommends that a urine sample be tested at the same time to bridge this gap of time).
solutions for INDIVIDUALS
For individuals or parents seeking peace of mind, there is often a need to go back further in time than a saliva or urine test can provide. Alternative testing solutions include the testing of sweat, as well as fingernails or toenails. If you need help deciding what drugs to include in your drug screens, see our FAQ section.
Sweat Patch Testing
Throughout each day, we all excrete a measurable amount of water through our skin. This occurs at a nearly constant rate. The sweat patch test utilizes a unique system of an absorbent pad and adhesive cover which act as a collection device, trapping sweat as it leaves the skin. Oxygen and water molecules are small enough to pass through the patch; however, the larger molecules of drugs and their metabolites remain trapped in the pad. These metabolites are trapped for up to 14 days as they leave the body, providing an uninterrupted real-time monitoring system. This test is unique in its ability to provide results that indicate what the person wearing the patch ingested during the time it was worn rather than looking further back in history.
Pros: Provides real-time monitoring for use when proof of abstinence is required, less expensive than conducting frequent random urine tests, nearly impossible to adulterate/cheat the patch.
Cons: In rare cases users skin may not tolerate the patch, may require repeated applications for users that fail to care for the application site as instructed.
Fingernails and toenails are made of the same keratinized protein as hair follicles but are more highly compacted and thicker. Drug metabolites are deposited into the nail bed. Because nails grow both in width and length, and because metabolites are deposited and trapped throughout the nails as they grow—drugs can be detected for longer periods of time in nails. Fingernails provide a window of detection for up to 6 months and toenails provide a window of detection for up to a year.
Pros: Longer detection windows, cannot be adulterated/cheated.
Cons: Lack of sufficient nail length/quantity prevents specimen collection, nail treatments such as paint and gel must be professionally removed before collection, cannot be done if overlays have been placed onto nails. Will not detect very recent use of drugs due to the 7 – 10 days required for metabolites to be deposited into the nails that are collected. (NW Testing recommends that a urine sample be tested at the same time to bridge this gap of time).
solutions for legal professionals
Substance abuse screening is often required for cases involving parental rights and marriage dissolutions, as well as for individuals that are undergoing counseling for drug and/or alcohol abuse. Each case has unique needs and requires careful consideration regarding what substances need to be tested and how far back the testing needs to go. Children exposed to drugs at home (either passively or intentionally) may also require testing. NW Testing provides a wide array of innovative testing solutions to provide accurate, reliable and legally-admissible results to aid attorneys, counselors and judges with the information they need to determine these life-changing outcomes. We are also experienced in providing expert testimony to support the collection and processing of specimens. In many legal cases, the best approach is to test a combination of different specimen types to provide the answers you need. If you need help deciding what drugs to include in your drug screens, see our FAQ section.
Combining Specimen Testing
In cases where there is a need to prove if an individual has used drugs and/or alcohol recently, or in the distant past (up to a year), the combination of different types of specimens may be the best solution. By combining different specimen types it is possible to look back in time from the date of the test as far back as one year without interruptions to the detection window. Because each case is different, we recommend consulting with us before drafting your orders so that we can collaborate with you to determine which test or combinations of tests are needed to provide the best outcome for all parties.
ChildGuard© Hair Testing
Children are often innocent victims of substance abuse at home. Smoke, powders and other byproducts of the drugs being used where they live or sleep can settle onto their hair or bodies. Over an extended period of time, this passive exposure can lead to the absorption of drug metabolites into their bloodstreams. The ChildGuard© test can determine the presence of drug metabolites both on the hair (passive) or inside the hair (ingested). NW Testing specimen collectors have many years of experience in the compassionate and gentle collection of hair from children suspected of having been exposed to drugs at home.
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