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Different Types of Drug Testing and What They Are Used For

A drug test is a technical study performed on your blood, hair, saliva, perspiration, or urine to assess the presence of one or more prescription or illegal substances in your system. Pre-employment drug testing, DOT physicals, legal or forensic investigations, and sports screening are all common uses for drug tests.

Drug testing can be done in a variety of ways, including oral, urine, blood, hair, and sweat tests. Typically, specimens are obtained and submitted to laboratories for analysis during these procedures. Let’s look at each of the many types of drug testing options and their applications to gain a better understanding:

Urine test

A urine drug test, commonly known as a urine drug screen or a UDS, is a simple and painless procedure. It looks for the presence of certain illegal narcotics and prescribed pharmaceuticals in your urine. Typically, a urine drug test looks for:

  • amphetamines
  • methamphetamines
  • benzodiazepines
  • barbiturates
  • marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Alcohol


A blood test is typically done in an accident, but it can also be used to detect drug substances for pre-employment screenings. Annual physical examinations frequently include blood tests.

Collecting the specimen is more invasive than other testing procedures because it needs to extract a tiny volume of blood from a vein.

Hair Test

A strand of hair from your face, head, or armpit is required for a hair or follicle test. It helps determine a person’s cumulative substance consumption. It is capable of detecting Cocaine, marijuana Phencyclidine (PCP) Amphetamines, Opioids, and others.

Because traces of the substance would remain in the hair for months after use, no amount of shampooing will be able to remove them, a person could have last used cannabis a few months ago and still be tested positive today. Hair drug testing is mostly meaningless in today’s workplace because so much of it is based on whether an employee is impaired while on duty. Hair samples are also expensive and take a long time to process, which is why few firms utilize them for workplace drug testing.

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Saliva Testing

Although urine drug testing is the most prevalent, saliva drug testing is becoming more popular simply because it is less invasive. Saliva drug tests, on the other hand, appear to be best utilized to detect very recent drug use to ensure accurate results. According to one study, saliva testing can only detect cannabinoids if the patients have used cannabis during the previous 4-10 hours.

Sweat Test

During this test, you may be needed to wear a sweat patch for seven to 14 days or have an absorbent pad placed on your skin for less than 24 hours. A sweat test, like a hair test, provides information about a person’s cumulative substance use.

Oral Fluid Test

An oral fluid test involves swabbing your mouth to collect saliva, which is then examined to determine the concentration of drugs taken orally. It can catch same-day use or residual drugs in the mouth in some circumstances.

Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s). 

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Sourabh Singh

Sourabh Singh (Medical Writer) - Dr. Sourabh Singh is a medical writing expert With over 17 years of experience writing and editing articles, blogs, product reviews, e-books, news, press releases, and more for various healthcare brands. Education specializing in Public health, Dr. Sourabh uses scientific material for general medical writing and translates medical research into simple language that patients can understand before undergoing surgery or treatment plans. His roles and responsibilities at credihealth include: Inquiring with doctors and other medical experts about their experiences with various treatments, clinical trials, or procedures. Adding graphics to support the text or illustrate points Put articles into different formats appropriate for different audiences, such as patients, providers, administrators/managers, etc. Final drafts must be proofread before publication. Sending all the writings for approval to the concerned doctor or health specialist listed at credihealth. Education : Ph.D. or MFA in English from a prestigious university in India B.Sc in Biology Certification: Registered Nurse Practitioner —--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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