Difference between Drug Screening & Drug Testing

Drug testing and drug screening are frequently used interchangeably. However, both are related but not interchangeable. While both are meant to check traces of illegal drugs in persons, the procedure, timing, and cost are usually different.

Drug testing takes longer, is thorough, and a bit expensive, while the drug screening takes shorter. Drug screening will cost about $10, while drug testing can go up to $200 or more. While drug testing can take 1 to 7 days to get the results, drug screening takes just a few minutes. Finally, drug testing is very accurate, while drug screening is less accurate.

We will provide you with all the necessary information you need about the two, such that you can prepare to pass any of them when called upon.

What Happens to Your Body When you Get High?

When you use drugs, your body breaks down the substance you consumed into chemical compounds, namely the metabolites. During a drug screen, it is these metabolites that show you consumed drugs recently.

What is Drug Screening?

During a drug screening, you’ll be asked for urine samples most of the time. Sometimes, depending on the situation, saliva can be used to test the presence of metabolites. If you have metabolites from your sample, then your test will be positive. No metabolites mean you have not consumed drugs recently.

If your test comes out positive, you will need a confirmation test, usually the rigorous drug testing process. This testing double-checks to confirm the presence of traces of illegal drugs.

The major advantage of drug screening is that it can be done anywhere, and results are out within a short time. It favors parents who want to check their children, employers, and even parole officers.

The demerits? This method is not accurate. It is not a surprise to get a false positive. The false-positive can be attributed to the fact that most drug screens cannot differentiate between cold medicine and cocaine, marijuana and ibuprofen, or even opiates and poppy seeds.

If you have a positive result and saliva sample was used, you may be required to use urine as it is considered more accurate. You can also use blood or hair for drug testing as a confirmatory measure.

In almost all cases, urinalysis is used, unless circumstances will not allow.

What is Drug Testing?

Drug testing is a more rigorous and accurate process of determining the presence of metabolites. They usually cost about $200 and will take a few days, sometimes up to 7 days.

You will need a sample of your hair, urine, or blood, and CG/MS device does the analysis, and a positive result will indicate present metabolites.

Because of its cost and procedures, hardly will a sample start at drug testing. In almost all scenarios, it is done as a second stage following drug screening. However, for medical purposes, it is possible to have a drug test without drug screening.  

How can you Ensure Negative Results during Screening/Testing?

If you have an upcoming drug screening and you fear being found on the wrong side, there are few ways you can deal with that. First, you should be aware of the test to expect and the samples they will need. This info will help you make the required preparations.

If just a drug screen, you can take a few products that will detoxify your saliva and urine to make sure you have negative results. This works for light drug users. If you are a heavy drug user, your preparation may involve finding synthetic urine as a substitute for your pee.

If you have monitored drug screening, you can combine artificial urine and a fake penis or unisex products. With this pee, your responsibility will be to find ways of regulating the temperature to mimic that of the human body.

Final Thoughts

Drug screening and drug testing are not interchangeable terms.

Drug screening is usually cheaper, costing about $10, faster and can be done almost everywhere. You can easily acquire the screening kits and perform it yourself. That is why parents, employers, and parole officers choose that approach to determine whether there are traces of illegal drugs. The most common samples are urine or saliva. However, it is not accurate. Following a screening process, you may need a second confirmatory and reliable approach – drug testing.

Drug testing has to be done in a laboratory and is pricey. The advantage is that you will get accurate results. And mostly, samples of blood, hair, or urine are used. Further, they take more extended periods before getting the results. Some people have to wait for up to 7 days to get the results.

If you want to get negative results, but you are a heavy drug user, you may need to find synthetic urine, find ways of keeping it warm and enjoy a successful drug test.