What is the Best Way to Screen For Drugs? 

Are you looking incorporate a drug testing program into your organization’s human resources drug testing policy? Maybe you are a concerned parent who would like to drug test your child?

Whatever the reason you are inquiring about different types of testing, it is important to understand the similarities and differences between the two main methods of drug testing: lab based drug testing and instant on-site drug testing.

Read beyond the table for a breakdown comparison between lab based drug testing and instant on-site drug testing.


Lab vs. Instant Side-by-Side Comparison

Lab Based Drug Testing

Instant On-Site Testing

Ease of Collection Multi-Step Process, must hire a collector or send donor to lab Simple one-step process
Accuracy 100% Negative Results – 99% accurate

Positive Results – considered “presumptive”, 99% accurate, confirmation may be needed on case by case basis

Turnaround Time 24-72 hours Under 5 minutes
Cost $40+ per test $2-5 per test


Lab Based Drug Testing

Collection Process: Getting a drug test through a local lab is a multi-step process. It usually involves either:

     A) Having a certified collector come to your location to collect samples who then bring samples to the lab for testing


     B) Sending your donors to the lab directly for testing

Turnaround Time: Upon providing the sample, results usually take 24-72 hours to become available.

Accuracy: The main benefit of lab based testing is the accuracy, GC/MS testing allows samples to be screened at extremely low cutoff levels which provides 100% accuracy.

Cost: Lab based tests can vary in pricing depending on your volume, but usually range from a minimum of $40+ per test. Labs charge fees based on the number of drugs you are testing for. The price is usually pre-determined when you set up the initial contract with a lab.

Ex: you will submit about fifty 12-panel drug screen tests per month for all samples sent to Lab A. This would be more expensive than sending fifty 10-panel drug screens per month, for example.

Overview: If you are looking for a more hands-off approach and do not mind paying for it, lab based testing may be a viable option.  


Instant On-Site Drug Testing

Collection Process: With instant on-site drug testing supplies, samples are collected at your home/facility. Depending on which type of instant test you are using, this will be a one to two step process. Simply have your donor provide the sample into the test, wait about 5 minutes and results will appear. Any positive results are considered presumptive and should be sent to laboratories if the result is contested.

Hidden Bonus benefit for Instant testing – Did you know? Most labs use an instant test to screen samples before running expensive GC/MS tests. If you receive a positive result, you can send to the lab and have ONLY POSITIVE readings tested, saving you money on confirmation testing. Confirmations usually run about ~$10 per drug or testing panel.

Turnaround Time: 1 to 5 minutes. Instant tests are great for screening out negative results on the spot.

Accuracy: Negative results = 99% accurate; Positive results = 99% (considered presumptive, confirmation may be necessary and/or preferred).

Cost: Pricing usually depends on volume and size of test (number of drugs tested), but will usually average anywhere from $2-$5.

Overview: Instant on-site drug testing supplies are a simple, quick and effective way to screen for any major drug of abuse. Not only are they a much more cost effective option, they also offer results in 5 minutes or less so you are able to make any decisions contingent on the outcome right then and there.

Comparison Overview

Many people do not realize that instant testing is in fact part of the lab based testing process. Instant tests are considered “screening devices”. Labs will use instant tests to screen samples, followed by testing only the drugs the instant screen shows as positive.  Why pay for the entirety of a lab test ($40+) when you can screen out the negative results yourself ($2-5)? On-site drug testing supplies are so affordable, there is no reason to not include them in your testing procedures.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Drug Testing Supplies