Last Updated on June 9, 2022 by Fair Punishment Team
Drug tests are a common practice for employers in the U.S., often a requirement prior to or during employment. Many jobs will ask employees to undertake drug tests, either on a regular basis or at random. This is to ensure that no employee is under the influence of drugs in the workplace, which poses a risk to the company’s integrity as well as the safety of its employees.
Some professions need to maintain a high standard of safety, such as construction workers, delivery drivers, and other jobs that involve concentration and precision. If an employee is under the influence of a drug in dangerous situations, they put themselves and their colleagues in harm’s way.
As a result, drug tests work to prevent any issues with substance abuse in the workplace. DOT drug tests are regulated by the Department of Transportation. But this doesn’t apply to every job, and most employers will require you to take a Non-DOT drug test.
This article will explain what a Non-DOT drug test is, what they involve, and what you’ll have to do if you’re taking one. On top of that, it will also compare DOT and Non-DOT drug tests, so you know the difference.
What is a Non-DOT Drug Test?
If your job isn’t regulated by the Department of Transportation, then employers can request that you take a Non-DOT drug test. DOT drug tests look for 5 specific drugs: Cannabis, Cocaine, PCP, Amphetamines, and Opioids. Non-DOT tests can either look for these 5 drug groups, or an additional 5 alongside the core groups (but we’ll get to those in a bit).
Non-DOT drug tests are less regulated than DOT drug tests, although they still have to adhere to certain guidelines. For example, employers need to give their employees a certain amount of notice before they are required to take a drug test, although this time frame differs from state to state. A consent form is also required and must be signed by the employee for the results to be released.
Employers have to provide their employees with a copy of their drug test results, and these are often regarded in the same way as the employee’s medical records.
While Non-DOT drug tests are subjected to less regulation than DOT tests (amongst several other differences), they are still a great way for businesses to maintain professional standards and integrity in the workplace.
What Do Non-DOT Drug Tests Look For?
As mentioned previously, Non-DOT drug tests are able to detect an additional 5 drug groups on top of the 5 groups covered by DOT drug tests. But what are they?
Non-DOT drug tests can detect Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates, Quaaludes, Methadone, and Propoxyphene. On top of that, some Non-DOT tests also test for Ecstasy, as well as painkillers, steroids, and hallucinogens. A breathalyzer test is often frequently used to detect alcohol, just to top things off.
These tests come in several forms, and you might need to provide different samples depending on which test you are taking.
What Do They Involve?
Now you know what Non-DOT drug tests look for, let’s take a look at what taking one is like. There are a few things you may have to do, so we’ve broken down each variation.
Urine tests are one of the more common methods of drug testing. They are also the method used in DOT-approved drug tests. These tests involve providing a sample of urine, which is then tested for traces of drugs.
Different drugs have different windows of detection (when the drug’s presence can be detected in the sample). Not only does this mean samples need to be analyzed closely, but it also means that drug use doesn’t have to be recent for it to be picked up. For example, cannabis can be detected in urine for up to 30 days after ingestion.
While urine samples are effective for testing, due to how trace amounts of drugs can be detected, there are some downsides to using them.
Because urine samples are taken privately, it’s possible to tamper with (or even completely replace) a positive sample with a clean one.
Windows of detection can also cause issues, as a substance may not have been done in the right time frame to detect it.
That said, urine samples are one of the most accurate and more commonly used methods of Non-DOT drug testing.
Unlike urine samples, there’s no way to fake your saliva.
Drug tests that check the saliva aren’t as widespread as urine tests, due to a couple of reasons.
Firstly, they are more expensive. While urine tests are more invasive, they are cheaper to do.
Additionally, saliva tests only pick up on substance use within the previous 72 hours. This means that unless an employee’s drug use was recent, it wouldn’t be picked up by the drug test.
There is one thing, however, that gives saliva tests the edge over urine samples. Because the sample is taken directly from the mouth, there isn’t any way to tamper with the sample. Unlike urine samples, which are self-provided in privacy, a saliva sample only involves soaking a swab in the employee’s mouth. This prevents any false results and ensures the test’s accuracy.
Less common than both the previous methods, hair follicle tests check your hair for the presence of drugs.
This might seem strange, but hair follicles can be used to identify any drugs taken within the previous 3 months – a much longer window of detection than urine or saliva.
Hair follicle tests are also quick and easy. They are painless, and there is no need for privacy – if an employee is unwilling to show or cut their hair, or if they have no head hair, then body hair is just as effective.
Although hair follicle tests are more expensive and can take longer to analyze, they are still one of the most effective ways of testing for substance abuse. And with a low margin of error, they are also one of the most reliable tests.
As mentioned above, some employers will also require a breathalyzer test in addition to the Non-DOT drug test. This is to test for the presence of alcohol, and covers a base that regular drug tests don’t.
But if you’ve never undergone a breathalyzer test, what do you need to do?
Breathalyzers calculate the amount of alcohol in the blood by checking how much alcohol is in your breath. Blood Alcohol Content (or BAC) is often used to determine whether someone was driving drunk. They can also be used as part of a drug test to see if someone is drunk on the job.
Undergoing a Breathalyzer test involves providing a breath sample for analysis.
During a breathalyzer test, you’ll be asked to blow into the device’s mouthpiece. In order to give an adequate sample, you should take a deep breath and blow strongly into the mouthpiece for around 4 seconds. When the breathalyzer beeps, you can stop blowing.
You may be asked to repeat this if the breathalyzer didn’t get an appropriate sample (either from the blowing being too weak or too short).
Before you take a breathalyzer test, make sure your mouth is empty and fairly dry. Any particles, including saliva, can interfere with the test and necessitate a repeat.
These are very uncommon, and it’s incredibly unlikely that your job will ask for a blood sample as part of a Non-DOT drug test. That said, some jobs will require a blood test in place of a different sample.
In addition to being much more expensive than other testing methods, blood tests are also very invasive. Blood samples also have a shorter window of detection, making them less useful than other samples.
There is also the issue of needles, and many employees may be unable or unwilling to provide a blood sample.
What’s The Difference Between DOT And Non-DOT Drug Tests?
You’ve already learned some of the things that set Non-DOT and DOT tests apart. However, there are a couple of other things that separate the two.
On top of being able to detect many more drug groups than DOT drug tests, Non-DOT drug tests also involve less paperwork. While the DOT carefully and painstakingly regulates all their tests, you have no such worries with jobs out of their jurisdiction. Employees who have taken a DOT drug test are required to be signed back on after their test to ensure they are qualified to perform any safety-sensitive actions. This isn’t just limited to a person’s current job – any DOT-regulated job that involves safety-sensitive work will require a negative drug test before an employee can get that work done.
Non-DOT drug tests involve less hassle, and employees aren’t necessarily required to complete a return-to-work process after a Non-DOT drug test. That said, both types of drug tests are greatly important, and employers are within their right to terminate a person’s employment if they fail a drug test.
What is a non regulated drug screen?
A non regulated drug screen is a test that measures the levels of drugs in your body. It is typically used to detect illegal or recreational drugs, but can also be used to measure levels of prescription medications. The results of a non regulated drug screen can be used to determine if you are using drugs recreationally or if you have an addiction.
There are many different types of non regulated drug screens, but the most common is the urine test. This type of test can detect the presence of drugs in your system for up to 72 hours after you have used them. Blood and hair tests can also be used, but these are less common.
If you are taking prescription medications, it is important to tell your doctor or the person administering the test. This is because some prescription drugs can cause false positives on a non regulated drug screen.
Non regulated drug screens are generally accurate, but they are not perfect. If you are concerned about the results of a test, you should discuss it with your doctor.
What do pre employment drug test look for?
Drug tests are usually looking for traces of drugs in your system, as well as any medications you may be taking. The most common drugs that are tested for are:
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
- THC (marijuana)
Other common tests include:
- Alcohol test – this is usually given as a breathalyzer test. It can also be given as a blood or urine test.
- Breathalyzer – this is a machine that measures the amount of alcohol in your system.
- Blood test – this measures the level of drugs or alcohol in your blood. It is usually done by taking a small sample of blood from your arm.
- Urine test – this measures the level of drugs or alcohol in your urine. It is usually done by collecting a small sample of urine in a cup.
- Saliva test – this measures the level of drugs or alcohol in your saliva. It is usually done by collecting a small sample of saliva in a cup.
- Hair test – this measures the level of drugs or alcohol in your hair. It is usually done by taking a small sample of hair from your head.
The most common drug tests are urine tests, followed by blood tests and then hair tests. Drug tests can be given for several reasons, such as:
- To check if you have used drugs recently
- To see if you are addicted to drugs
- To check if you are taking medication as prescribed
- To check if you have been using illegal drugs
If you are being tested for pre-employment, it is most likely that the employer is looking for any recent drug use. Employers may also require you to take a hair test, which can detect drug use up to 90 days prior. If you are being tested for drugs of abuse, the employer is likely looking for evidence of addiction. And if you are being tested for medication, the employer wants to make sure you are taking the medication as prescribed.
If you are asked to take a drug test, it is important to be honest with the person administering the test. You should also let them know if you are taking any medications that could affect the results of the test. Drug tests are usually accurate, but there can be false-positive or false-negative results. This means that the test may show that you have used drugs when you have not, or it may not show that you have used drugs when you have. If you think that your results are not accurate, you can ask for a retest.
So now you know a bit more about what Non-DOT drug tests are, the different types of tests you may need to take, and what each test involves. Although there are several differences between DOT and Non-DOT drug tests, both of them are able to check employees for substance abuse and help maintain a drug-free workplace.
So whether you need to take a Non-DOT drug test for your job, or want to test your employees for drugs, or even just want to know a bit more about Non-DOT drug tests in general, we hope you enjoyed this article.
Drug tests help keep workplaces safe, and Non-DOT drug tests play their part in making every job professional and clean.