Weigh the pros and cons of instant drug and alcohol testing

There are a number of specimen types on which a drug or alcohol test can be performed which include urine, hair and oral fluid. Additionally there are both laboratory-based testing and instant, or rapid, testing methods available. Each specimen type and testing method presents unique advantages. With Quest Diagnostics, all drug testing methodology is sound and, as such, it is not a matter of choosing the single best testing method, but rather the choice should center around what method or combination of methods best fit your organization's specific need.

The information below presents the pros and cons of several different drug test specimen types. 

Instant Urine Testing

Pros Cons

Rapid results, typically within a few minutes of the collection

Results interpretation is the responsibility of the collector

On-site collections

Restroom facilities required for collections

Several different U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared instant or rapid testing device options

A limited number of drug panel configurations

Generally provides dependable drug detection

Lab-based confirmation testing is required for non-negative initial screens

 

Somewhat susceptible to donor adulteration

 

Not permitted for Department of Transportation (DOT) testing

 

Somewhat susceptible to donor adulteration

Lab-based Urine Testing

Pros Cons
Reliable results when performed at a certified laboratory
Turnaround times ranging from hours up to days
Hundreds of different drug panel configurations
Collections generally performed by a nearby collection site
Most common drug test method and permitted for DOT testing
Somewhat susceptible to donor adulteration
Generally provides dependable drug detection
 

Instant Oral Fluid Testing

Pros Cons
Rapid results, typically within a few minutes of the collection
Results interpretation is the responsibility of the collector
On-site collections with no special location required
Lab-based confirmation testing by a laboratory is required for non-negative initial screens from an instant test
Detects drugs shortly after use
Poor detection of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), active marijuana metabolite
Difficult to adulterate
Limited number of different FDA-cleared instand or rapid testing device options
 
Not currently permitted for DOT testing
 
Not a test performed or provided by Quest Diagnostics

Lab-based Oral Fluid Testing

Pros Cons
Generally provides excellent drug detection, with superior detection of THC
Turnaround times ranging from hours up to days
On-site collections with no special location required
Not currently permitted for DOT testing
Detects drugs shortly after use
 
Difficult to adulterate
 

Instant Alcohol Testing

Pros Cons
Rapid results, typically within a few minutes of the collection
Breathalyzer confirmation testing by a laboratory is required for non-negative initial rapid test screens
On-site collections with no special location required
 
Permitted for DOT testing
 
Difficult to adulterate  

Lab-based Alcohol Testing

Pros Cons
Generally provides excellent alcohol detection
Blood testing specimen type is invasive to collect
 
Turnaround times ranging from hours up to days

Download our case study to hear from clients how Express Results Online delivers fast, dependable results.

Download our Guide to Establishing a Workplace Drug Testing Program.

Download our Drug Testing Solutions At-A-Glance brochure with a matrix comparing urine, hair, instant, and oral fluid drug testing.

Click below for additional resources about instant drug testing.

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To start an instant testing program, call 1.800.877.7484 or contact us online.