What is a Rapid Drug Test?

Ron Kilgarlin

September 19, 2022

What is a Rapid Drug Test?

What is a rapid drug test? A urine test is one of the most common ways to detect drugs in the body. However, it takes anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to produce a result. Although it is cheaper than immunoassay testing, it cannot determine the duration or quantity of substance abuse. Luckily, there are several options for screening and determining whether a person has taken drugs.

Lab-based testing is a rapid drug test

The main difference between a rapid drug test and a lab-based test is the level of detail the results provide. A lab-based test is more detailed and admissible in court, and its results are more reliable. A lab-based test will screen the specimen for different drugs and metabolites and identify the number of drugs found. This can prove whether an employee used a drug directly or indirectly.

Lab-based testing can be more expensive than a rapid drug test, and you should consider your situation and how important the result is. Rapid testing does not contain all the protocols required by a lab, so you may be able to find a cheaper alternative. However, it does have the disadvantage of requiring you to send a sample to a laboratory for confirmation. Moreover, the results of a rapid test are not admissible in court without confirmation from a lab, which takes anywhere from 24 to 72 hours.

Rapid drug tests are often performed at a collection site. However, these tests are not conducted in a certified laboratory. They use various devices that can test for different substances, including a combination of drugs. A rapid test can be subjective, and results can be inaccurate. In comparison, lab-based drug testing is objective. In addition to this, lab-based testing also has a more thorough process.

It takes 24 to 72 hours

Rapid drug tests are a good option for workplace drug testing, as they can produce results on the same day. They use urine or saliva samples and typically provide screening results within 4 hours. If screening indicates a positive result, a confirmatory test will be performed to determine the exact level of drug use. Confirmatory tests typically take two to three days. During the drug screening process, the applicant is notified that they are being drug tested and is given a specific amount of time to appear in the lab. To minimize the chance of undetectable drugs, the applicant must present to the laboratory within the specified time frame.

Depending on the lab, rapid drug test results may take 24 to 72 hours. If the test is negative, it can also take as long as 72 hours. These delays can be caused by different variables, including weather and lab closures. However, most drug testing companies strive to get your results as quickly as possible.

It is cheaper than immunoassay testing

A rapid drug test is a good option if you’re looking for a drug test that provides results immediately. It provides results in about two hours, and you’ll know immediately if you have a positive or negative result. The results, however, are presumptive and do not quantify the number of drugs detected. The positive result is then sent to a lab for confirmation testing, which can take two to three days.

However, this method can be inaccurate in detecting drug use, as the levels of some drugs can be below thresholds and therefore read as unfavorable. Moreover, immunoassay tests are usually based on screening tests, not confirmation tests. While screening tests are often less expensive than confirmation tests, they are often inaccurate and can lead to false positives.

The main benefits of rapid drug tests are their speed and convenience. However, they should only be used as a preliminary screening methodology. Rapid drug tests have a higher chance of giving false positives compared to enzyme immunoassay testing.

It cannot determine the quantity or duration of substance abuse

Although rapid drug testing is highly accurate, it is not foolproof. No lab test can guarantee 100% accuracy. The results of a rapid drug test cannot be used to determine the quantity or duration of a substance abuser’s drug use. Additionally, rapid drug tests cannot determine whether an individual has abused a particular drug over a certain period, which is an essential consideration for employers.

A lab-based test is more thorough and can identify a wider variety of substances than a rapid test. It also involves a more thorough screening process with specific thresholds and cut-offs. Rapid tests have no such protocols and can only tell employers if a person is abusing a particular substance in a short amount. A lab-based test can also determine whether an individual has abused a particular drug for a prolonged period.