Teens Health & Safety Drug Testing Methods and Their Accuracy By Denise Witmer Updated January 31, 2018 Pin Flip Email Print © Getty Images More in Teens Health & Safety Growth & Development Behavior & Emotions Teen Life Dating & Sexuality Drug testing methods vary depending on the purpose of the screening. Got a new job? Trying to clear your name after an accident? Or just going in for a random check? There are several reasons why you may have to undergo drug testing and your answer to these questions is closely related to how your drug test will be administered. Five Drug Testing Methods and Why They Are Used There are different methods used for drug testing. These methods differ in terms of cost, accuracy, intrusiveness, and where they can be administered. Each test looks for chemical metabolites, or traces, that the drug leaves behind after it is eliminated from the body. The five drug testing methods are: Type of Test Cost Intrusiveness Administration Detection Urine Least Expensive Generally At home or in a lab Within One Week Blood Most Expensive Highly In a lab only From current to longer period Sweat(Patch) Expensive Low Anywhere Extended Saliva Low Low Anywhere Within 2-3 days Hair Moderately Expensive Low Anywhere Beyond One week, tests for long-term drug use Five Categories of Drugs: The SAMHSA 5 Previously called the NIDA-5, testing companies usually check for these five common types of drugs. Amphetamines (speed, amphetamines, and methamphetamines)Cannabinoids (marijuana and hash)Cocaine (cocaine, benzoylecgonine, and crack)Opiates (morphine, heroin, opium, and codeine)Phencyclidine (PCP) Accuracy of Drug Testing While certain bodily excretions are more accurate than others, the accuracy of drug testing also weighs heavily on the following: The technology used in the test (accuracy varies considerably among types of tests)The chemical nature of individual drugs (varies considerably from drug to drug)The skills and abilities of the testing organization.The procedures used to ensure proper handling and processing of samples. What to Expect on Testing Day Rather than a specific time, most drug testing companies will give you a range of time when you can come in for the test, usually 24-48 hours. Whether your drug screening is for a job or is court-ordered, you will usually be given a list of acceptable drug test centers. Rarely is there only one location recommended. Even if you have never been a drug user, and seemingly have nothing to worry about, the process can be stressful. Choose the drug testing center that's closest to home for you, and check up on what others say about the facility, staff, and overall experience. Be sure that you have the proper paperwork with you when you arrive. Usually, additional paperwork, fingerprinting, or other identifying markers are required in addition to showing government-issued identification. Testing centers do this to ensure that you are the person who is supposed to be tested. After your sample is taken, you will usually not hear about specific results as many centers only report negative or positive readings based on a detection limit. Drug testing can be daunting, but if you prepare for what's ahead, you'll be able to get through the process with ease. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Get diet and wellness tips to help your kids stay healthy and happy. Email Address Sign Up There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. What are your concerns? Other Inaccurate Hard to Understand Submit Article Sources SAMHSA Continue Reading List Could My Teenager Be Using Drugs? Article How Harder Classes Keep Kids from Drinking Article Understanding the Mental Health Needs of Your College Student Article Telltale Signs of College Readiness and How to Instill It When Lacking Article 30 Things You Need to Know (and Do!) Before College Drop-Off Article 9 Important Conversations to Have With Your College Freshman Now Article Why Does My Teen Hate Me? Article Why Self-Medication Is More Likely for Girls Article How Dangerous Are Study Drugs for Your Teen? Article Study: Teens Don't Understand the Risks of Prescription Drug Abuse List Is My Teen Using Anabolic Steroids? Article Is Your Teen Using Drugs? Look for These Warning Signs Article Most Parents Think Drug Abuse Will Never Happen to Their Teen Article The Signs and Dangers of Teen Use of K2/Synthetic Marijuana Article Teen Heroin Use Facts Article What Are Some Common Youth Risk Behaviors?