One of the most common types of background screening services requested by modern employers is drug tests and drug screenings. Beneficial for both pre-employment screening and existing employee tests, substance abuse assessments help ensure a drug-free work environment, increasing the safety and operations of your company.

While the terms drug test and drug screening are often used interchangeably in the background screening industry, there are some important differences between the two methods. 

At Barada Associates, we offer both screenings and tests for drugs, alcohol, and other illicit substances, and can help you identify which testing methods and frequency are right for you.

Contact Barada Associates to schedule your background screening service today. And check out this guide on the differences between a drug test and a drug screening compiled by our industry experts.

Comparing a Drug Test and Drug Screening

In the general public, most people don’t realize there are important differences between a drug test and a drug screen. While both will deliver results that identify if an individual has used prescription drugs, illegal drugs, alcohol, and other substances, there are some key differences that result in slightly different benefits.

What is a Drug Screening?

A drug screen is widely known as a faster testing process. This type of test is simpler than another drug test as it “screens” for specific drugs in a person’s urine, saliva, or hair. All types of drug screening from hair drug testing to a urine drug screen, are usually fairly priced, so they are sometimes more widely used.

At its core, a drug screen consists of a testing method called the enzyme multiplied immunoassay technique (EMIT). Performed in a certified lab, EMIT is efficient, but limited. To show sufficient evidence of substance abuse, the test sample must be collected in a fairly small window from the time the individual being tested used drugs. 

Otherwise, the amount of a substance in the individual’s system might not reach the necessary threshold to yield positive results, despite consistent or heavy use.

What is Drug Testing?

A drug test is a much longer process than a drug screen. This added time isn’t a negative though, as it’s the result of more in-depth testing. Unfortunately, more detailed and extended testing means drug tests often cost more than a drug screening.

Drug tests are conducted using a methodology called mass spectrometry/gas chromatography (MS/GC) testing. Also performed in a lab, MS/GC testing is more sensitive and therefore considered one of the most accurate testing methods. From the same blood sample, hair sample, or urine drug test, MS/GC can detect much smaller amounts of a substance in an individual than a drug screen.

Similarities Between Drug Screening and Drug Testing

Both drug screening and drug testing can yield a positive test result from a hair, blood, or urine sample. Both types can be used as an initial drug test for job candidates or as a part of a random drug testing program for existing employees.

All types of drug testing and screening can detect the presence of a variety of common substances in your employee’s systems, including” marijuana, amphetamines, opioids, cocaine, and alcohol.

Whether you identify an employee’s substance abuse with a drug test or a drug screen, you should always rely on professional drug testing resources for the most accurate results.

How Do You Know Which Type to Use?

According to a 2021 survey by the Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA), about 65 percent of employers said they conduct some form of drug screening or testing as a part of their overall background screening process. While the benefits of substance abuse testing are a nearly endless list, the specific needs and goals of your company can influence which type of testing you should implement.

Accurate, timely results are the priority of every type of background screening activity facilitated by Barada Associates. But when choosing between a drug screen or drug test, there are other factors including cost and ease of use to consider.

On one hand, drug screening is more affordable and provides results on a faster timeline, but isn’t as detailed. Drug testing can be more expensive, and may extend the testing period by a week or more, but it is a more thorough method, increasing the accuracy of the results. There are even times when it’s beneficial for you to choose drug screening for a large candidate or employee base, and then confirm certain individual results with a more detailed drug test later on.

Ultimately, the choice of which testing method to use is in your hands. But turning to our knowledgeable team can help ease your decision, and get you on track to meet your background screening budget and timeline with ease.

When Should You Implement Testing or Screening?

Whether you choose drug testing or screening, you can implement substance abuse prevention for your company at any time. Maybe you need to test a specific employee after a drug-related incident at work, or it’s simply part of your overall background screening process.

Drug testing and screening can be facilitated by professionals, such as the team at Barada Associates, whenever you need it most, including:

  • During the pre-employment process
  • Under reasonable suspicion
  • Post-accident
  • Random Testing
  • Periodically
  • When an employee returns from a planned extended absence
  • When an employee returns from a probationary period
  • Before an employee is promoted
  • Voluntarily

Professional drug testing and screening can benefit your company at any point in the hiring or employment process.

The Importance of Professional Services

Both drug tests and drug screenings can be beneficial in hiring qualified candidates and ensuring the safety of your existing employees when conducted and overseen by experienced professionals like the team at Barada Associates.

We’re well-versed in the complexities, similarities, and differences, between all types of background screening solutions and will develop a comprehensive plan based on your unique needs. We can facilitate a number of drug tests and drug screenings to ensure you have the information you need to operate a safe, healthy, and high-performing business.

Contact Barada Associates Today for Drug Testing and Screening Services

You need to ensure the safety, health, and wellness of every employee in your company. Barada Associates is here to help with quality drug testing and screening from the top laboratories in the nation. Since 1979, we’ve been the oldest and largest provider of all types of background screening solutions.

Contact Barada Associates to learn more about our drug and alcohol testing services.