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What to Know About Drug Testing

drug tests being conducted in glass lab vials

Drug testing uses different methods to determine if a person has recently used a substance. The tests often do not detect the actual substance but the effects it has had on the person’s blood, urine, or breath. Substance abuse addiction treatment may be needed if a person tests positive for drugs. To learn more about drug testing, as well as our drug abuse treatment services, contact Northpoint Seattle today. Call 888.483.6031, or connect with us online.
Drug testing timelinesMany factors determine a positive result when drug testing for the most abused drugs. Age, body fat levels, height, and the frequency of drug use can all play a part in a drug test result.

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drug test

Why Are Drug Tests Used?

Employers use drug testing to ensure workplace safety and security. Drug testing can deter drug use among employees and identify those who may be struggling with substance abuse. It also helps employers reduce the risk of accidents, injuries, absenteeism, low productivity rates, high turnover rates, and other related issues associated with drug or alcohol misuse on the job.

Additionally, it can provide an extra layer of protection for customers if employees need to handle sensitive information. In many cases, employers are also legally obligated to ensure their workers are not using drugs on the job to protect the public’s health and safety. Therefore, drug testing is seen as compliance with regulations in many industries.

Some organizations may have specific requirements related to drug testing as part of their safety policies. For example, the transportation industry often requires drug testing due to its inherent risks to public safety. Ultimately, drug tests can help employers ensure that they have a safe and productive workforce and comply with laws and regulations.

Variables Involved with Drug Testing Timelines

How Are Drug Tests Given?

Usually, drugs are tested through urine, blood, or saliva analysis. Sometimes, more scrutinous tests involving sweat or hair collection are performed since many substances stay in the skin longer.

Urine Tests

An easy test to administer, urine tests are the most popular drug tests employers require. The test usually screens for a broad range of substances, from amphetamines to nicotine.

A urine test is usually taken by:

  1. Using a designated bathroom at the testing facility.
  2. Urinating a substantial amount in a specimen cup.
  3. Returning the cup to the administrator or putting it in a designated place.

The administrator may be required to be in the room with you to ensure the sample is not tainted. After collection, the administrator will begin testing the urine, including the temperature, to determine the drug test results.

Why is there Drug Testing

Saliva Tests

Often used to determine recent drug use, saliva tests often screen for marijuana and amphetamine use. Usually, these tests can only find evidence of substance use for a few days.

Saliva tests are taken by:

  1. Meeting with the administrator at the testing facility.
  2. Spitting in a sample cup or having your mouth swabbed.

The administrator will then test the saliva for drugs and alcohol.

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Drug Testing Option Urine

Blood Tests

Blood tests are the most accurate way to screen for the alcohol concentration in a person’s body. The tests can also screen for other recently taken drugs.

Blood is tested by:

  1. Meeting with a technician at the testing facility.
  2. Having your blood drawn from your arm or hand.

The facility will then run the drug tests on the blood collected from you. The results of this test can take up to 10 days in some cases.

Saliva test for drug detection

How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your Body?

Every drug will have a different lasting effect on your body and be traceable for a different amount of time. However, no matter the substance in question, long-term addiction and substance use will show up on a drug test for a longer time.

For example, if you use marijuana only occasionally, it will likely only be traceable for about three to four days. If you are a chronic marijuana user, it can be traced for up to three months after you quit using it.

Blood test for detecting drug

What Is Detox?

Detox is how your body cleans its system of the substances you use. Many addictive substances come with severe withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking them. These symptoms occur during the detox process.

While going through withdrawals, your body is learning to function without substances again. Some substances have mild detox processes, while some can be life-threatening.

Attempting to detox alone increases your risk of relapse and can be extremely dangerous. Withdrawing from drugs like heroin can cause severe physical illness and even suicidal thoughts. Medically-assisted detox programs supervise your recovery in a safe place.

Drug Testing Timelines

How Long Do Withdrawals Last?

Depending on what drugs they took and the length of time in use, every person will experience a different withdrawal process. Each drug will also be traceable for a different amount of time. 

How to Detox from Drugs

Are Professional Rehab Centers Worth It?

The detox process alone is a dangerous and scary experience that must be medically supervised. After detox, rehab programs offer multiple ways to get back on track to a sober life.


By enrolling in a rehab program, you are more likely to build the tools you need to continue your recovery journey without relapsing. You may also make a new support system that understands your journey and how they can help you succeed.

Drugs withdrawal timelines

Drug Testing and Rehab at Northpoint Seattle

If you or a loved one are ready to start the road to recovery, our testing and rehab programs are a great place to start. Testing can help begin the journey by removing the variables and telling the truth. Rehab can then be the beginning of a sober life.

Contact us at 888.483.6031 or via our online form today to get started.


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Drug Testing Methods and Timeline