How Much Does a Drug Test Cost?

Back to blog
Posted by: David Garcia June 19, 2023

A sober workforce is key to a safe and productive work environment. 

While maintaining a drug-testing program may seem like a hassle, it only takes one incident to cause irreparable damage. 

So how much do drug tests cost, and what do they include? 

In this guide, we’ll get to the heart of the matter. Learn how drug tests work, their benefits, costs, and which substances are detected. 

How Does Drug Testing Work?

Drug tests work by analyzing a biological sample like hair or urine to detect illegal or legal substances. 

They’re commonly used for pre-employment screening to help employers maintain a safe work environment. 

Drug tests can be performed in many locations, such as labs, workplaces, hospitals, or treatment centers. 

The testing process works by collecting the appropriate amount of samples. Then, the samples are sealed and transported to a lab testing facility. The lab analyzes the samples for the presence of drugs using various methods such as immunoassay and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. 

The time it takes for results to appear will depend on the type of drug you’re testing for. Some results can appear as fast as 48 hours, while others may take up to 8 days. 

What Are the Benefits of a Drug Test?

About 40% of US employees are subjected to drug tests within the hiring process, and 4.2% of the US workforce fails them. 

That said, there are many benefits to performing drug tests, such as: 

  • Lower absenteeism: Substance abuse may lead to absenteeism, which can cause turnover. Regular testing will prevent substance abuse and can help to increase employee retention. 
  • Greater productivity: Drugs impair the mental state. This can lead to harassment or simply affect a person’s ability to perform their job function. 
  • Enhanced workplace safety: Drugs can increase the risk of accidents and injuries. Testing enhances safety and reduces worker’s compensation claims and lawsuits against the company. 
  • Legal compliance: Employers are mandated by federal law through the Drug-Free Workplace Act to prohibit the unlawful use of controlled substances in a work environment. 
  • Improved company reputation: Drug testing demonstrates a commitment to workplace safety. Other employees can feel safe knowing their coworkers aren’t under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 
  • Reduced healthcare costs: These tests can help prevent workers from having a substance abuse problem, which would lead to more serious health issues. 
  • Prevention and deterrence: The mere presence of randomized drug tests will deter potential drug use. Impairment in mental cognition can hinder performance and put others at risk. 

What Substances Are Detected by a Drug Test?

When a substance enters your body, the gastrointestinal tract absorbs and sends it to the rest of your body. The substance stays in your body within a certain time frame before it leaves through urine. A standard drug test typically detects whether a person has used the substance in the recent past. 

Here are the substances that a drug can detect, followed by their detection times: 

  • Amphetamines: 1 to 3 days 
  • Cannabinoids: Urine tests take up to 30 days, blood tests take 2 to 3 days, and saliva tests come in between 24 to 48 hours 
  • Cocaine: 2 to 4 days 
  • Opiates: Ranges between 48 hours to 3 days 
  • Phencyclidine: About 8 days 
  • Benzodiazepines: 3 days for short-acting and up to 4 to 6 weeks for long-acting
  • Barbiturates: 1 day for short-acting and up to 3 weeks for long-acting
  • Methadone: 7 to 10 days 
  • Propoxyphene: 24 to 48 hours

What Is the Cost of a Drug Test?

Costs will vary on the type of test and how it’s administered. At-home urine tests for illegal drugs generally range between $10 and $50. However, saliva or urine tests performed at a lab will cost about $50 to $80. 

The most expensive are hair or blood tests done at the lab, which can cost between $100 to $650. Drug tests are worth the cost for employers since they help prevent harm to the entire organization. 

Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re still curious to learn more about drug tests, we’ve compiled a short FAQ section to help. 

How Much Is Needed for a Urine Drug Test?

The urine amount varies depending on the type of drug test performed. Most drug tests require between 30 and 45 milliliters (mL) of urine, equal to 1 to 1.5 ounces. Each lab will use a fixed-size testing cup for urine samples. 

What Is Usually Tested in a Drug Test?

Drug tests help detect the presence of illegal drugs in the human body. Most labs conduct a standard 10-panel drug test, which includes illicit street substances and five prescription medications. This test screens for amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, opioids, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, phencyclidine, and propoxyphene. 

Final Thoughts

Workers’ drug use appears to be on the rise. 

With increased financial instability, a rise in mental health issues, and greater accessibility, some workers are turning to opioids, cannabinoids, and other substances. 

As an HR professional or organization leader, it’s essential to maintain a safe working environment free from drugs. 

While they can be expensive, tests are the expense of ensuring you make quality hires

If you want to make sound hiring decisions, background check services are a must. ScoutLogic provides a full range of background checks to meet your needs, including drug testing, employment credit, criminal checks, and more. 

Try ScoutLogic today, and let us help support your hiring process.

Latest blog posts
September 07, 2023
Should You Screen Job Candidates' Social Media?
There are few topics in the hiring world quite as contentious right now as whether or not companies should be screening the social media of job candidates. Some see it as a...
September 05, 2023
What Is a Diploma Mill?
Education is the latest sector of the economy to fall prey to widespread scams. Schemes, scams, and cynical manipulation have infiltrated education in a big way in the form of diploma...
September 03, 2023
How To Deal With Difficult Employees
At ScoutLogic, we understand that there can be difficult employees in any organization or business. Even more, the fallout from a difficult employee can have a hugely disproportionate...
September 01, 2023
What Is an SSN Trace?
Employers are faced with making sound hiring decisions, but with hundreds of applicants, picking the right one isn't so easy.  With a potential job offer on the line,...
August 12, 2023
What Is a Stay Interview?
You've heard of an exit interview, you've probably either given or conducted one. But have you heard of a stay interview?  Stay interviews are conversations conducted with...
Looking for a better background check company? Start by preparing with this free guide.

Download this free guide to go into the searching process prepared. This guide includes actionable steps to:

  • Gather your requirements
  • Determine vendors
  • Check references
  • Determine success metrics
get a free e-book

Get a free e-book