Your company has decided to include drug screening as part of your background check process. So, what do the results of a pre-employment drug test look like? And, how should you interpret them?
Although there are several ways to screen for drug use, urine testing is the most common. This method is cost-effective, capable of detecting a wide variety of substances and approved for federally mandated testing. Here’s a brief overview of what type of documentation to expect.
What Drugs Show Up?
Depending on how many panels you request (or your screener provides), you may receive information on the following:
- Amphetamines – A group of synthetic psychoactive drugs that stimulate the central nervous system to make users feel awake;
- Barbiturates – Sedatives or hypnotics that induce sleep and reduce anxiety;
- Benzodiazepines/Tranquilizers – The most commonly prescribed depressant medication in the United States;
- Cocaine – A highly addictive drug categorized as a stimulant;
- Opiates – Drugs like codeine, morphine and heroin that depress the central nervous system;
- Marijuana – A commonly used drug that has been legalized for medical use in many states;
- Methadone – A synthetic pain reliever used for medical purposes;
- Methaqualone – A barbiturate-like drug that has addiction and withdrawal symptoms;
- MDA – A stimulant that can provide some psychedelic effects;
- Oxycodone – Pain-relieving opiates that may be prescribed by a doctor;
- Phencyclidine (PCP/Angel Dust) – A drug that causes unpredictable behavior, hallucinations, paranoia and violent outbursts.
How Do I Read the Results?
Most urine screens don’t measure for the drugs themselves. Instead, they use a biochemical test or immunoassay. Immunoassays are based on the principle that certain drugs will stimulate a specific response from the body’s immune system. The antibodies produced can signal the presence of a given drug.
Results are listed in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL). Most tests include a cutoff concentration. Any number below the cutoff is a negative screen, while any number above the cutoff is a positive screen.
What Happens If Someone Claims the Screening Was Incorrect?
Urine tests detect recent drug use within the last 24 to 72 hours. Unfortunately, false-positives do happen. If you or your candidate believe the results are inaccurate, you may follow up with another test. Other forms of testing can be more expensive, but they usually are even more accurate. Talk to your provider to find out more about available options.
Are You Ready to Add Drug Screening to Your Background Check Program?
Metrodata Services goes to great lengths to provide high quality, affordable background screening solutions ranging from drug screening to criminal record searches to credit reports. We would be happy to customize a package based on your organization’s specific needs. Contact us today to learn more!