Commonly Used Alternate Samples for Drug Testing

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A drug test checks for illegal drugs in a person’s system. Its purpose is to identify drug misuse or abuse, as it poses risks and dangers.

Drug testing is performed by obtaining a biological sample from the subject (person). The sample is then sent to a laboratory for screening.

For decades, urine has been the most commonly used sample for drug tests, and testing it is easy and inexpensive to process. Sample collection is also non-invasive.

While urine is the most common, there are other types of samples used for drug tests. Here are some of the known alternate samples.


Saliva (mouth swab) tests are becoming increasingly popular because of the ease of administration. The sample collection is also witnessed in full view of the person/s administering the test, unlike in urine tests where the specimen is collected privately. This significantly reduces the chances of cheating and sample contamination.


Sweat testing is another non-invasive method of drug screening. It only involves attaching an absorbent pad/patch to the subject’s skin for around a week and examining the patch afterward. It allows a wider detection window than blood or urine testing, which means even fast-clearing drugs can still be detected. The patch cannot be re-attached once removed, preventing alteration or tampering.


Hair testing is another method with a wide detection window. It can detect drug use even months after exposure (up to 90 days); only a small hair sample is required (around 100 to 120 strands, cut near the scalp). Similar to saliva testing, a hair follicle test is also administered in full view of the specimen collector.

Drug tests can be done using different biological samples. The manner of collection is crucial to the accuracy of the results. If you need a reliable drug testing facility in Texas, contact Drug Screen Compliance. We have been aiding businesses in their battle against illegal drug use for over 50 years.

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