What Is Rapid Drug Testing?

Rapid drug testing is a type of test that detects whether someone has recently used drugs or alcohol. These tests are often done as part of an employee drug testing program or as a check-in before allowing a person to enter some sort of program, facility, or place.
By The My Urgent Care Clinic Team
By The My Urgent Care Clinic Team

They can help you determine if someone has recently used drugs or been drinking, and aren’t able to detect long-term abuse of drugs or alcohol. Rapid drug tests are often handheld and give results within minutes after taking the test. This makes them different from other types of drug tests that may have longer wait times for results.

Additionally, the majority of rapid drug tests use saliva rather than urine since this is less invasive and is easier to capture during a brief period.

What Are Common Drugs Screened By A Rapid Drug Test?

Some of the most common drugs screened by rapid drug tests include marijuana, cocaine, heroin, meth, and prescription drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and benzodiazepine. Testing is specific according to each company, so you should check with your testing company to see what specific drugs they screen for.

Some rapid drug tests also screen for alcohol, which can be important in a few different situations. For example, if you work in a bar or with alcohol-dependent people, you may want to make sure they are not under the influence of alcohol. This can be helpful if you want to make sure a person isn’t too intoxicated to drive home after a night out.

How Do Rapid Drug Tests Work?

Most types of rapid drug tests use a method known as immunoassay. This test looks for the presence of certain drugs or metabolites (pieces of drugs broken down by the body) in a sample of saliva or urine. In some cases, a rapid drug test also screens for opiates, which is done using Gas Chromatography (GC).

GC testing is a technique that separates different components of a substance so that they can be identified. It can identify a wide range of substances, including drugs and their metabolites.

How to Read a Rapid Drug Test

Rapid drug tests come with instructions, but here’s a quick overview of what to do when taking a saliva test:

  • Break the seal on the test vial and cap
  • Place the swab into the vial – Keep the swab at the bottom of the vial for 5 minutes
  • Remove the swab from the vial
  • Place the swab in your mouth
  • Leave it in your mouth for 15 minutes
  • Remove the swab from your mouth and put it back in the vial
  • Put the cap on the vial
  • Cap the testing vial and label it Now put it in the pre-paid envelope and send it to the lab.

Is a Rapid Drug Test Accurate?

A rapid drug test is only as accurate as the test you are using. Each company making rapid drug tests sets its standards for what counts as a positive result and what counts as a negative result. Essentially, a positive result means the test found a certain amount of drug or metabolites in the sample. A negative result means there wasn’t enough to meet the minimum standard set by the testing company.

Because each company has its standards, you should find out what your company’s standards are for positive and negative results. A negative result doesn’t necessarily mean that someone didn’t use drugs that day; it just means they didn’t use enough to meet the standard.

If you’re looking for a test that can tell you whether someone is currently using drugs, you’ll need to choose a different test. That said, a negative result on a rapid drug test can be helpful if you’re trying to prove that someone wasn’t using drugs and has been sober for a long period.

Advantages of Rapid Drug Testing

  • Speed: Rapid drug tests are fast and can give you results in as little as 5 minutes. This makes them ideal for situations where you need to move quickly and don’t have time for a full drug test.
  • Ease of Use: Rapid drug tests are easy to use. They often come with instructions, but they don’t require any special training to use.
  • Collecting Sample: The collection of a sample is simple. It is easy to collect a sample with the swab included in the test kit.
  • Cost Effective: Rapid drug tests are less expensive than lab tests and pee drug tests.
  • Privacy: The collection method for rapid drug tests does not require someone to undress or be observed in any way.

Disadvantages of Rapid Drug Testing

  • Not as Accurate as Lab Tests: Rapid drug tests aren’t as accurate as lab tests. This means they can produce more false positive results and might not be able to detect low amounts of drugs.
  • Not as Accurate as Urine Tests: Urine drug tests are more accurate than saliva tests and can detect drug use for longer periods.
  • Not Useful for Long-Term Drug Abuse: Rapid drug tests are best if you want to know if someone has recently used drugs. They can’t tell you if someone has been abusing drugs for a long period.

Final Words

Rapid drug tests are an easy way to test for drug use in a person quickly. However, they aren’t as accurate as urine tests, and they aren’t useful for long-term drug abuse. Additionally, outside factors may affect the accuracy of a rapid drug test, so make sure you follow the instructions for collecting a sample.