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Drug Screening for Employers: Urine Drug Testing

Occupational Health

urine drug test, drug testing for employers, employee screening, drug screening for employers

Drug testing your employees can have multiple benefits. By administering drug tests, you can discourage and reduce substance abuse, which can make your employees more productive at work. In certain jobs, particularly those that involve driving or handling machinery, decreasing substance abuse could improve your company’s safety record and protect your employees while they are at work. With so many reasons to use drug testing in your organization, let’s take a look at how you can use urine as the chosen specimen to test your employees for drug and alcohol abuse.

How Is Urine Drug Testing Conducted?

  1. Specimens are collected either at a clinic or on the job site.
  2. Specimens are sent from the collection site to a laboratory for testing. The transportation process from a lab currier or FedEx typically takes one business day. (weather and time of collection permitting)
  3. At the laboratory, specimens are tested Monday through Friday. Typically, the lab can report the result to the Medical Review Officer (MRO) within 24hours, which can then be reported to the company.
  4. Specimens that show levels of a banned substance go further into confirmation testing. This is a secondary investigation performed on the same specimen. It verifies the specific drug levels, pinpoints the actual drug consumed, and reports to a MRO. Some substances can take up to 7 days due to labs ensuring their findings are correct.
  5. The MRO will speak with the donor directly. The completion time is now dependent on the donor’s ability to quickly and effectively communicate with the MRO and provide a prescription that may have caused a positive result. The MRO will confirm the prescription and verify it was not being abused based on the levels of the drug in their system.

How Effective Is Urine Drug Testing?

Urine drug testing is an effective test for marijuana, benzodiazepines, cocaine, opioids, PCP, amphetamines, among other substances. Most of these drugs can be detected in urine for a couple of days after use, although chronic use of some drugs, such as benzodiazepines, can show up in the urine for several weeks. Marijuana is extremely controversial in the workplace and can show levels of THC for days, weeks, and even months after the initial use. For alcohol testing, Urine is not the correct specimen to use. If an individual was to be tested on a Monday,  levels of alcohol that was consumed over the weekend could  show in the test. For this reason, a breath alcohol test (BAT) should be administered to properly reflect an individuals current sobriety state.

What’s the Turnaround Time for Urine Drug Testing?

In some cases, urine drug testing can provide results within 24 hours. Some labs can deliver negative results very quickly, but take longer to investigate tests that show levels of a banned substance. When you use a third-party service to manage your drug testing process, you can be sure of reliable and consistent drug test turnaround times.

Why Use Urine Drug Tests?

Urine tests aren’t the only option for testing your employees for drug use. You can depend on other specimens such as hair drug testing. However, urine is the standard type of specimen. Collecting the samples is easy, non-invasive, quick and safe. Lastly, the urine test itself is known to give reliable results.

Do You Need a Drug and Alcohol Company Policy?

The answer is yes. In order to comply with current state and federal laws, you need to clearly set out your substance abuse testing routines in your company drug and alcohol policy. You must communicate all the information in this policy clearly to your employees so that everyone understands when they could be selected for testing. Certain types of organizations, such as the Department of Transportation (DOT), are required to test their workforce during specific times throughout employment. Even if you are not required by law to keep your workplace free from drugs, discouraging substance abuse among your workforce has significant benefits for both your business and your employees.


Urine drug testing can help you keep your workplace free from drugs. Organizing your own urine drug testing regime in house can be an administrative hassle, which is why many companies choose to work with a third party. Origin has all the necessary supplies and experience to carry out urine drug testing, as well as digital integration with labs and clinics across the country and the ability to store the results of drug testing for future reference. Origin can help you comply with all state and federal laws regarding drug testing, as well as helping you to discourage substance abuse among your staff.

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