If you are applying for a job, then be ready to undergo a pre-employment drug test. You might even be tested for drugs and alcohol in your workplace depending on your state. Your employer might choose to use several different alcohol and drug tests. The most common tests used to detect the presence of drugs and alcohol are sweat tests, saliva tests, breath tests, blood tests, and urine tests.
Pre-Employment Drug and Alcohol Screening
The laws on drug testing vary depending on the state where you are seeking employment. In some states and industries regulated by the U.S. government, drug tests are mandatory for all employees. A good example is the U.S. Department of Transportation. If you are working in this department, you are required by both federal and state law to undergo a drug and alcohol test. However, some states place a limit on the method and location for pre-employment drug testing.
Types of Drug and Alcohol Tests
- Breathe Alcohol Tests
The device used to test for alcohol through a person’s breath is known as the breathalyzer. This device measures the blood alcohol level of the person being tested. The only drawback of the breathalyzer is that it is only capable of measuring your current and not past blood alcohol levels.
- Blood Drug and Alcohol Tests
Blood drug tests are used by most employers to screen an applicant’s blood for illegal drugs. This test can measure the applicant’s alcohol level at the time his or her blood sample was taken. Opiates, nicotine, methamphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and alcohol are some of the drugs this test can screen.
- Hair Drug Tests
If you have used drugs within the past 90 days, then a hair drug test can be used to detect it. Hair drug tests are only capable of testing for drugs you have used in the past. Also, this test cannot detect the presence of alcohol in your system. Some of the drugs that can be screened with this test are phencyclidine, opiates, methamphetamines, marijuana, and cocaine.
- Mouth Swab Drug and Alcohol Tests
This drug test is used to test for the presence of drugs in the subject’s system through his or her saliva. The other terms used to refer to this test are saliva and oral fluid tests. This test can only detect the presence of drugs used within a few hours or the last two days. This test is a favorite for most employers because it is very simple to administer and is noninvasive.
- Urine Drug and Alcohol Tests
A urine test is the most common type of test used to test for drugs before employment. This test is capable of testing for the presence of alcohol or illegal drugs after the effects of the used substance have dissipated. Substances detected by urine drug and alcohol tests are marijuana, nicotine, opiates, methamphetamines, cocaine, alcohol, and amphetamines.
Apart from drug tests administered before employment, a huge number of employers randomly subject their current employees to urine tests.