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Employers: What Are the Turnaround Times for Drug Testing?

When you have to make a decision about hiring – or even disciplinary action – waiting on the results of a background check or drug screening can be incredibly frustrating. To help you know what to expect, here is a brief overview of standard turnaround times for the most common drug tests.

Basic urine drug screens

Urine drug screens generally test for at least five of the most commonly abused drugs: amphetamines, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, and PCP. This basic drug screen, commonly known as the 5 panel urine test, is adequate for most employment situations and is recommended by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other federal agencies. Depending on your needs, however, the urine test can be extended to search for other substances.

Urine tests have some of the fastest turnaround times. Almost all negative results will be available to you 1-2 business days after the testing lab receives the specimen. If additional testing is needed, we may need an extra day or two to confirm the results. Positive results may take between 4-6 days because of the repeated tests that are needed to confirm drug use.

Hair testing

A hair test can detect all of the same drugs as a urine screen. As a rule of thumb, you can expect the results of a hair test to take 1-2 days longer than a urine drug test. Negative results, therefore, are generally available within 2-3 days, while positive test results may take up to a week to confirm.

Though it may take slightly longer than urine tests, hair tests have the advantage of being able to detect drug use from many months before the specimen was collected. As soon as a drug – or any substance, really – is metabolized by the human body, it will be filtered from the blood and excreted somewhere. When these metabolized substances are deposited in the hair, they will stay there until the hair is cut.

Other forms of drug tests

Though urine and hair tests will satisfy the vast majority of hiring and disciplinary situations, we understand that our clients have diverse needs. Chane Solutions can help your business coordinate and complete a wide array of drug testing services; in addition, we offer comprehensive, flexible background screening services to meet all of your company’s needs. Contact us today to learn more about our services.


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