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Methods of sample collection

There are 5 primary ways in which drug tests can be conducted, using different products of the body.


UrineThis is the most common and cost effective way that drugs are tested for. It is primarily used to test for drug use within the last week, but some things, such as cannabis, stay detectable for longer. Because of the nature of what is being tested, urine tests are seen as fairly intrusive, even though it is the most used method for job screening. It is possible to get immediate results, but the sample needs to be sent to a lab for accuracy.

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SalivaSaliva drug testing is a growing trend as it is considered less intrusive than a urine test, and a sample is relatively easy to take on the spot without giving the tested person time alone to tamper with it. Saliva tests are also better at detecting more recent use than its other counterparts. They do tend to be slightly more expensive than urine tests and require the samples to be sent to a lab for results.


Drug tests using hair are seen as not being intrusive, but cost substantially more than a urine or saliva test. They are not only more accurate than urine tests, but also they are also better than urine or saliva tests at detecting drug use from a longer period of time, nor are they really affected by periods of abstinence from drugs; however, hair tests are not very effective at recognising very recent use. It is also worth noting that the test cannot be done from one hair, a fairly large sample is required.


Sweat tests are relatively new and still fairly uncommon. They require the person being tested to wear a patch for an extended period of time, which is considered fairly intrusive. The accuracy of using sweat for drug tests has also been called into question, as it is possible for the patch to become contaminated.


BloodDrug tests using blood are the most accurate, most expensive and most intrusive. There is very little doubt in the result if blood is used. However, it is very rare for this to happen because of invasive nature of collecting blood samples and the large cost involved. It is only really used for serious instances, where there can be no doubt or risk of the person being tested using drugs, such as in the case of professional athletes.



Drug tests