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Groups That Commonly Drug Test

Many people routinely use drug tests today. Doctors, employers, and law enforcement are the most common. Some parents also choose to drug test their children. We will look at the most common groups of people that drug test and their reasons for doing so.


Doctors must drug test anyone taking long term scheduled medications including opiates and benzodiazepines. The goal is to make sure the patient is taking their medication in the correct dosage, and that they are not mixing them with other drugs. They require tests that check for prescription and illegal drugs.  Many times doctors will do an in office test, then send it to the lab for further analysis to determine the exact amount of the prescribed drug in the patients system. This way they can tell if the patient is taking the correct dosage.


Employers want to ensure their employees are drug free. Some states offer incentives for companies that drug test, and insurance rates are cheaper also. Of course, drug free employees are more productive, more dependable, and much safer workers than someone under the influence. Many jobs involve running machines or driving equipment, and being under the influence of drugs makes it very unsafe for the employee and their co workers. Many employers do on site  drug tests, while others send the test off to the lab.

Law Enforcement

Many people in law enforcement use drug tests. On patrol officers may use them when they encounter someone they suspect is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They may conduct a swab test. This will detect drugs used within the last 24-48 hours, and is easy to conduct on a routine traffic stop. Probation and parole officers routinely use them to make sure that people are complying with the rules, which include not using drugs or alcohol. Judges will sometimes drug test someone before sentencing. Most will use urine drug tests in these settings. Some will do the test on site, and some will send it to a lab.


Many parents will choose to drug test their children if they have any suspicion of drug use. Their teen may be acting different, hanging out with different friend, or have changes in sleeping and eating patterns. The type of drug test parents use will depend a lot on whether they want detailed results. A swab test may feel less invasive to parents and children, but it only tests for broad categories like THC, opiates, methamphetamine, benzodiazapines, and cocaine. It also only detects drugs used in the last 24-48 hours. Urine tests can be much more detailed and test for more drugs. Depending on the drug, they will detect a drug from 3 days to 30 days after it was last used. Instead of just testing for opiates, most will be able to differentiate between one opiate and another. They can also differentiate between adderall and other prescription amphetamines and methamphetamine. Some tests will even test for “gray market” drugs that aren’t illegal, but are still dangerous. K2 is one example of this. Meant to be a substitute for marijuana, it appears to be much stronger and more dangerous than its illegal counterpart.

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