Passing an Employment Drug Test

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Prospective employees may be required to be screened for drug and alcohol use prior to being hired. Employees may be tested for drugs or alcohol in the workplace, where permitted by state law. What can you do if you are concerned about passing a drug test?

Employment Drug Tests

Drug and alcohol tests could be conducted as a condition of employment, conducted randomly, because of an accident or injury, or because an employee appears to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol on the job, if unexcused absence from work or lateness is an issue, or if performance appears to be impacted by drug or alcohol abuse.

Types of Drug Tests

The types of drug and alcohol tests which show the presence of drugs or alcohol include urine drug tests, blood drug tests, hair drug tests, breath alcohol tests, saliva drug screen, and sweat drug screen.

Passing a Drug Test

The only way to be sure that you're going to pass a drug test is not to have drugs or alcohol in your system. With some drugs, including marijuana, residue may show in drug tests for weeks.

If don't believe the positive drug test results are accurate, you may be able to have the specimen retested at a lab of your choice at your expense. Check with the company for information on how to request a retest.

Here's information on how long drugs and alcohol stay in your system:

  • Alcohol – 1 oz. for 1.5 hours 
  • Amphetamines – 48 hours 
  • Barbiturates – 2-10 days 
  • Benzodiazepines – 2-3 weeks 
  • Cocaine – 2-10 days 
  • Heroin Metabolite – less than 1 day 
  • Morphine – 2-3 days 
  • LSD – 8 hours 
  • Marijuana – casual use, 3-4 days; chronic use, several weeks
  • Methamphetamine – 2-3 days 
  • Methadone – 2-3 days 
  • Phencyclidine (PCP) – 1 week 

Drug Testing Laws

Drug testing laws vary by state. In some cases, the law requires drug testing. For example, industries regulated by the U.S. Department are covered by federal or state drug testing requirements.

In some states, there are limits to when and how drug screening can be conducted and under what circumstances prospective employees or employees can be tested for drug or alcohol use.

Check your state drug laws for what drug testing is allowed in your location.

Drug and Alcohol Tests

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