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Rapid Testing VS Send-In



Rapid VS Send-In Drug Testing: Which test is appropriate and when.


Understanding the different types of drug testing options can better help you decide what type of testing is most appropriate for your needs. As a supervisor or human resources manager it’s important to know the difference between a rapid drug test and a send-in drug test.


Rapid drug testing is a type of testing that offers immediate results. The donor (aka your employee) will still have to provide a urine sample in a designated cup and would still need to follow the rules of not running water or flushing the toilet. The tester would then take a 5 or 10 panel test strip and dip it into the urine sample. Within a few minutes the results will appear on the strip (similar to a pregnancy test but faster). If the sample is non-negative (positive but awaiting confirmation) the sample will be split and sent into a lab for confirmatory testing. The need to send it in will depend on your company drug and alcohol testing policies. Though professionally we often recommend you proceed with a confirmation test just to ensure the non-negative wasn’t affected by prescribed medications.



A Send-In drug test is one that requires lab testing and confirmation without a dip strip. The donor (your employee) would follow all the same testing procedures of not running water, flushing the toilet etc. The urine sample that they provided is split into two smaller containers that are then sealed, labeled and the donor initials the labels. The samples are overnight shipped to the designated lab. Once at the lab one of the tubes is used for testing. The other is held for secondary confirmation such in the case the employee contests the results and wants it retested. Typically within 72 hours of the lab receiving the sample the results are sent to the employer.


So when would you want to do a rapid test vs a direct send in? Typically rapid tests can be useful if you are wanting a new employee to start immediately. Another good use is if you are doing randoms or have a reasonable suspicion. Though it's typically recommended in both of those instances to do confirmation send-ins for any non-negative tests.


Send-ins are preferred for any testing needed for DOT employees. The Department of Transportation oversees individuals with CDL licenses falling under FMCSA or pipeline associated work falling under PMCSA (more on this in another blog). Ultimately these employees are regulated by a different governing body due to the safety sensitive nature of their work and any testing needs to be lab based. A medical review officer is a doctor that will also review the results of the sample sent in and any non-negative results are notified to DOT and will be marked on their CDL.


Overall both are great options based on your needs and whether or not your employee is considered DOT. If you have any questions about which is best feel free to reach out and we will be happy to talk you through it!


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