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Drug Testing Hair or Urine? Depends What You’re Looking For

WDTC dot drug testing hair or urineWisconsin Drug Testing Consortium Helps Employers Determine Best Test

Employers who are trying to decide whether to conduct drug testing on hair or urine first need to determine what they are trying to accomplish. Detecting a long-term pattern of drug use as opposed to evidence of recent drug use requires a different test. Wisconsin Drug Testing Consortium (WDTC), an accredited Certified Third Party Administrator (C-TPA), provides random drug testing services including drug testing hair or urine in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.

Urine tests are the most common type of DOT drug testing and are used in pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable suspicion and other situations. Urine test results usually are available within one or two business days.

The most common type of urine drug test panel screens for marijuana (THC, cannabinoids), cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust), amphetamines (including meth), opiates (including codeine, heroin and morphine), propoxyphene, methaqualone (Quaaludes), barbiturates, and others.

“The limiting factor with urine tests is they only detect recent drug use,” explains Mike Bray, WDTC president. “However, it is the only testing method approved for federally mandated drug testing.”

Drug Testing Hair or Urine Can Yield Different Results

Drug testing of hair can detect drug use up to 90 days in the past, although specialized tests can go back even further. A standard 5-panel test includes amphetamines, cocaine, opiates, phencyclidine (PCP) and marijuana. However, it is important to note that the DOT does not accept hair for its testing purposes.

Laying off drugs for three months prior to a hair follicle drug test is far more challenging. The prevalence of marijuana use and its legal standing in a growing number of states makes this topic a little more problematic, although recreational marijuana use remains illegal in Wisconsin and Michigan.

“Even in states where recreational use is legal, employers must determine if drug testing hair or urine with a positive result is grounds for probation, termination, or non-employment,” Bray says. “No employers want to have these individuals operating heavy machinery or otherwise creating a safety issue.”

About Wisconsin Drug Testing Consortium

Wisconsin Drug Testing Consortium is an accredited, Certified Third Party Administrator (C-TPA), and specializes in Consortium Management; a variety of drug testing methods, including urine, hair and fingernails; post-accident testing; pre-employment drug tests; criminal background checks; supervisor training programs to keep employees compliant with DOT regulations; pre-employment DOT physicals; and paternity DNA testing. Headquartered in Green Bay, WDTC also has offices in Appleton and Madison, Wisconsin, and Escanaba, Michigan. Call 920-393-4168 or visit for more information.

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