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People often see both terms applied when taking a sample or urine saliva, blood, or hair to look for drug …
What is the difference between a drug screen and a drug test?
People often see both terms applied when taking a sample or urine, saliva, blood, or hair to look for drug metabolites within the person’s system. This may lead to confusion on what the difference is between a drug screen and a drug test.
In the drug testing industry, most people use the term “drug test” and “drug screen” interchangeably. This means that when you see a product tagged as “5 panel urine drug test” and another one tagged as “5 panel urine drug screen”, they are referring to the same kind of examination.
Some people do make a distinction between both terms, affirming that drug screening refers to the quick initial screening to determine if there are drug metabolites in the system and drug testing is the specialized analysis performed in a lab to confirm the results of the drug screen.
However, this distinction is not widely spread: most people within the healthcare industry believe that a drug test and a drug screen are the same (Healthline, Concentra). On the other hand, the distinction they make is better covered by the terms “rapid drug testing” or “instant drug testing” and “confirmatory drug testing” or “lab drug testing”.
Instant drug testing vs. lab drug testing?
You have probably heard of these two types of screening. An instant drug test, also known as rapid or point-of-care drug test, is a screen that detects drug metabolites within minutes. Instant drug testing is usually performed with a urine or saliva sample due to ease of collection and analysis.
Instant drug testing is easy to use and inexpensive, so that employers or medical providers may purchase them in bulk and administer them to employees or patients at a lower cost and with high accuracy. However, cases of false positives may occur, which is why positive results must be confirmed with a lab test.
A lab drug test performs a lengthier process to determine not only whether there are drugs metabolites in the system or not, but also to which level of exposure they correspond. If a person tested positive for marijuana for inhaling marijuana smoke, a lab test can determine that the levels of marijuana metabolite are too low to correspond to drug consumption.
This level of specialization means that lab drug screening takes 2-3 days to produce results, and that they are more expensive than their rapid counterparts. That’s why most organizations prefer to perform instant tests for general use and lab tests only to confirm positive results. To learn more about regulations around instant and lab drug testing, click here.
Which product should I buy?
As you can see, instant drug testing is more practical to test a large group of patients or applicants, as it is faster and keeps the costs down. Therefore, you need to find a rapid drug screen that is as accurate as possible to reduce the amount of confirmatory testing you need to do.
Halux Diagnostic offers quality instant drug tests with a high level of accuracy and ease of use, so that you can have the best drug testing experience. Some of the advantages of our drug tests are:
• FDA 510k approved
• OTC approved
• 99% accuracy
• Quick results in 5 minutes or less
• Easy to use and easy to read results
• Flat front to photocopy results
See our collection of urine drug test cups, urine drug test dips and saliva drug tests to find the product that fits your needs. Or call (407) 680-2209 if you have any questions!