What To Know

A drug screen is an examination of a biological specimen to ascertain the presence or absence of drug metabolites. During a screening exercise, a laboratory expert will carefully examine a patient’s urine, blood, saliva, sweat or even a strand of hair. Drug testing is a common practice in the sports sector and as a requirement during recruitment exercises in the labor sector. Nowadays, it is possible to conduct a screening at the comfort of your home thanks to the invention of ‘at home drug test kits’.

Why take a drug test at home?

There are numerous reasons why an individual would prefer to conduct a test at their residence. People who are to undergo screening as part of a recruitment exercise can make use of testing kits to track their journey to detoxification. If you suspect that your spouse or a loved one is doing drugs, then a testing kit can help you confirm or discard your suspicions. If you have a friend who is on the road to recovery from an addiction, at home drug testing kits will help you determine their level of discipline.

Types of drug testing kits

People tend to choose a home screening kit that will meet specific needs. However, it helps to know that kit selection should be guided by the sample you intend to use (sweat, urine or saliva). Note that kits do vary regarding detection range, the range of drugs tested and speed of relaying results.

For example, a kit that uses urine samples can detect drug usage that dates back to a week and gives feedback within five minutes. Urine and saliva kits have a shorter detection time but are more likely to mislead patients, unlike hair sample kits. Hair screening kits tend to be more expensive in comparison to saliva and urine strips.

Which substances can you test for at home?

A typical home drug test can detect most drug metabolites except anabolic steroids which require sophisticated equipment. A screening device worth its money can reliably detect any of the following substances; marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, alcohol, amphetamines, methamphetamines, PCP, opiates and codeine.

Most of the kits on sale at your pharmacy are substance-specific, meaning a marijuana kit cannot reliably test for the presence of cocaine or ecstasy. However, panel kits do exist, but you’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets to buy one of these. Panel screens can detect up to a dozen metabolites.

Is it advisable to carry out a screening exercise at home?

A majority of rehabilitation clinics do incorporate private drug testing into their rehab programs. The reason behind this is that by testing in secret, people tend to be more objective and are unlikely to cheat. Recent drug surveys also point to the fact that most people are not comfortable having their examination in a laboratory setting. In a bid to eliminate this phobia, numerous firms in the health industry have chipped in to avail private testing strips for home use.

How to carry out a home-based urine test?

The first step is to collect the urine specimen in a clean and dry container to avoid contamination. Remove the test strip from its packaging material and immediately dip it into the urine specimen for 10 to 20 seconds. Ensure that you immerse the piece up to the wavy line. Finally, remove the screening kit and place it on a clean flat surface and wait for 5 minutes before checking for results.

If a fault line appears on the “T” section of the strip, then the test is negative for that drug. If nothing appears on the “T” area, then the test is positive. Finally, note that the kits are not reusable.

How accurate are home-based testing strips?

Most kit suppliers boast a 97-99% accuracy. However, any strip that delivers 95% and above is regarded as accurate. Only purchase kits from suppliers who have the requisite certification from both government and health authorities. Prominent suppliers will usually subject their outfits to rigorous testing before they put up their products for sale. If you have trouble finding a suitable kit, it’s time to consult a specialist for appropriate guidance. A typical screening kit will cost between $2 and $20 depending on the type of test you intend to conduct.