Which Specimen Type to Choose?

Each specimen type (Urine, Hair, or Oral Fluid) has different detection times. From Quest Diagnostic’s By the Numbers: Drug Detection Window by Specimen Type:

  • Urine drug testing is the most commonly used testing method. It detects recent or new drug use, typically in the previous one to three days. Urine testing is suitable for all testing reasons and detects the broadest variety of illicit and prescribed drugs (i.e., prescription drugs, for which their use or misuse could impact workplace safety).
  • Oral fluid drug testing is the next most common screening method used by employers and detects recent drug use in the previous 24-48 hours (24-36 hours for THC). Unlike urine testing, oral fluid testing is primarily used to detect illicit drugs. Because collections are observed, it is drug test collection method that is very difficult for a donor to adulterate or substitute their specimen.
  • Hair drug testing provides a much longer detection window, giving a more complete drug-use history that shows a pattern of repetitive use as far back as 90 days. Like oral fluid testing, hair testing offers the benefit of an observed collection which is not easily adulterated or substituted.