When Will I Get My Drug Test Results?

Waiting for the outcome can be tedious for both the employer and the applicant. There are several factors of which those who are asking themselves, “how long does it take to get drug test results?” need to be aware of. Here are some of the factors on which the turnaround time and the outcome will depend on:

  • whether or not a person is taking any prescription medication
  • type of test
  • class of drugs that are being tested for

picture of man waitingThe outcome as well determines the time turnaround. Negative results come back sooner, typically within three business days. Positives require some extra time, as the lab needs to do a confirmatory test to determine whether or not the result is a false positive or the real deal.

When it comes to false positives, prescription drugs are the usual culprit. You might be asked to present a copy of your prescription, or some other document that proves you are taking the medication legally. In that case, It takes four to five days to get the real, accurate results.

Screened Drugs

The five-panel screening is the most common as it is following the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration standardized procedure, which most employers follow. Such screening checks for THC, PCP, cocaine, opiates, and amphetamines. However, an employer might request testing for other substances.

In that case, a ten-panel test is administered. In addition to the substances mentioned above, it also looks for:

  • methadone
  • propoxyphene
  • methaqualone
  • benzodiazepines
  • barbiturates
  • alcohol

More substances mean more waiting, so it might take a couple of days longer.

Urine Testing

This is the most common method as well as the quickest. Typically, it takes 1 or 2 days. If the testing sample has to be transported from the lab to the testing facility, it might take one day longer.

In case the screen is negative, your employer will know the outcome by the third day. The results of a positive screen ought to be delivered after 4 or 5 business days.

Blood Testing

Such screenings are typically not administered as the drugs are not detectable in the bloodstream after two days. The time turnaround is the same as with urine tests.

Hair testing

This type of testing is the least invasive, next to saliva testing, and can detect drugs used up to three months before the sampling. For that exact reason, more employers are opting for it.

However, the results take more time to show. You can expect to get them in five to ten business days.