The best drug test
If a family member or loved one is struggling with addiction, you're probably interested in supporting their sobriety. Performing home drug tests is an effective way to manage the problem and help keep them on the sober track. These easy-to-use tests can also be used for employment purposes or for parents who are concerned about their teenagers.
Not all drug tests will give you the results you're looking for, and they range in terms of the particular drugs they detect and the method of testing. Through our product research, we came up with this short guide on the considerations you'll need to make before purchasing a home drug test. We've included information about the top tests available on the market, like the marijuana panel by Easy@Home that boasts 99% accuracy.
Considerations when choosing drug tests
At-home drug tests won't test for every illegal drug available, but they can test for the following commonly abused ones:
Single-panel vs. multi-drug tests
Be sure to check the specifications as to which drugs a test can detect. A single-panel drug test will only test for one drug, like cocaine or marijuana. These tend to bring fast results. However, many addicts abuse multiple drugs, which is why choosing a multi-drug test that screens for multiple substances may be a better option, especially for employment or post-rehab purposes.
Another consideration you'll be faced with when purchasing a home drug test is the type of test: urine, saliva, or hair. All methods are effective, but you'll want to choose one that's right for your specific circumstance.
Urine drug tests require a sample of urine, which is collected in a small cup. A test strip is dipped into the sample, and results are produced within minutes. This type of test is affordable and can detect a substance for a week after use. However, collecting the sample requires giving an individual privacy, which makes the sample vulnerable to tampering.
Saliva drug tests require spitting into a sample cup or swabbing the insides of the cheeks. Test strips are also used, and the process is less invasive and less vulnerable to tampering than a urine test. Saliva tests, however, can only test the presence of a substance within a 24-hour window of use. Results typically take 10 minutes.
Hair follicle drug tests are the most accurate of the three types. These require a hair sample, cut or plucked close to the scalp, to be mailed to a lab in an envelope provided by the manufacturer. This test is tamper-proof and will show the presence of a substance within 90 days of use, though it won't show use as recent as three to five days. This is the most expensive test type, and results take about a week to get back from the lab.
FDA approval: Only select drug tests that carry FDA approval so that they are guaranteed to accurately test the drugs they claim to.
CLIA certified: For hair follicle tests, select one that's been CLIA certified to ensure the laboratory meets regulatory standards.
Drug tests range in price due to a number of factors, like how many tests are in the kit or how many drugs the test can detect. Typically, a urine drug test is priced at $10 to $30 for a kit containing five or more individual tests. A saliva drug test ranges from $11 to $85 for a kit with two or more individual tests. A hair follicle drug test ranges from $50 to $95 for an individual test that can detect multiple drugs.
Q. How accurate are home drug tests?
A. While home drug tests are sensitive, they aren't 100% accurate. False positives can result if an individual has taken certain legal medications, supplements, and even certain foods or beverages. This is why we recommend taking your sample to a professional laboratory to confirm the results.
Q. Can a home drug test give a false negative?
A. Yes. False negatives also occur for a number of reasons: the test is expired, the test was given too soon after an individual used a substance or too long after. You may also get a false negative if an individual abused a drug that the test wasn't designed to detect.
Drug tests we recommend
Best of the best: Easy@Home Panel Drug Test Kit
Our take: A urine test for THC with lab-level accuracy.
What we like: Results are 99% accurate and fast. Easy to use: just dip the strip in the sample. FDA approved.
What we dislike: Some results can be difficult to read.
Best bang for your buck: ÜTest Home Drug Test
Our take: An inexpensive urine test for THC.
What we like: Very sensitive test. Easy to use with almost instant results. Includes expert customer service.
What we dislike: Only tests for marijuana.
Our take: A multi-drug urine test that boasts over 99% accuracy.
What we like: Detects marijuana, meth, cocaine, opiates, and amphetamines. Ability to test opiates like morphine is six times greater than other tests.
What we dislike: Test lines can be hard to read.
Ana Sanchez is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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