Explains What to Expect During a Pre-Employment Drug Screening Explains What to Expect During a Pre-Employment Drug Screening

Pre-employment drug screening is a common practice in today’s day and age, especially in industries that require employees to operate heavy machinery, provide patient care, or drive company vehicles. That said, any company can require new hires to take a drug test as a condition of their employment. Applicants who want to know what to expect can read on to find out what happens during and after a pre-employment drug screen.

Why Drug Tests Are Necessary

Just about any employer in the United States is legally allowed to screen new hires for drugs and alcohol. Most companies only test for illegal drugs, though it’s not uncommon to find companies hiring for critical roles to test for alcohol, as well. Companies don’t drug test just because they want to weed out candidates who use illegal substances. These illicit substances can impact not just employee performance, but in many cases, other people’s lives, and according to, pre-employment drug screening is one of the best ways to protect workers.

Types of Substance Use Revealed by Drug Screening

There are different types of drug tests. The most common of them performed in pre-employment drug screening is the urine drug test. However, some companies also request saliva, blood, and even hair tests.

Each type of drug test targets a different window for detection. While standard urine tests can only detect prior use of most drugs for a matter of days, hair tests can detect drug use that occurred up to 90 days before the screening. Most drug tests offered by professional companies like Checkr look for common substances of abuse like:

  • Marijuana

  • Cocaine

  • Amphetamines

  • Barbiturates

  • Benzodiazepines

  • Opiates

  • Methadone

  • Phencyclidine

  • Propoxyphene

  • Alcohol

While it’s possible to screen for just one substance or to use less-accurate in-person tests, most screens use panels and send the samples to labs. Need a new job? Passing a pre-employment drug screen make take longer than ever. These days, many labs across the country have backlogs.

Don’t Try to Cheat Drug Tests

It’s not uncommon for applicants or current workers to attempt to scam drug tests by using products like false urine or detox drinks. It’s a terrible idea to try to scam a drug test. Not only are these methods easily picked up on by today’s advanced lab tests, but in some cases, they’re illegal. The only safe and effective way for job applicants to make sure they pass their pre-employment drug screens is for them to avoid using illicit substances and alcohol within the detection window for the test in use.

Drug Tests and HIPAA

Before heading in for a drug test, applicants or employees can click for info about drug screening procedures. They should also note that since drug test results are considered personal health information (PHI), they’re protected under HIPAA. Expect to sign a release form that allows the results to be accessed by the employer.

Start the Job Search Today

Ready to start looking for a new job and don’t mind the idea of taking a pre-employment drug test? There has never been a better time for workers to put themselves out there. Many employers across just about every industry are looking for new talent, so put together a resume and start submitting applications today.

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