Drug Screening
  • 08 Sep 2021
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Drug Screening

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GoodHire's drug screens use urine samples to analyze candidates for a variety of substances. It will show which drugs the candidate tests positive for, but will not show the specific amount that was found in the urine sample.

Ordering a Drug Test

Drug Testing with GoodHire is a three step process.

  1. First, you must order a drug test as an additional check with your basic, standard, or premium report for your candidate. For enterprise customers, you can also order a drug test as part of a custom package.
  2. Next, the candidate must provide their consent, select a test location, and provide a specimen in person at the test location.
  3. Lastly, the results are sent to a Medical Review Officer who then reviews them and sends the final result to you and the candidate.
Before You Order
In order for your company to order drug tests for candidates, you must have a drug testing policy that has been in effect for at least 30 days. Please ensure that your company has an existing drug testing policy before you attempt to place an order.

Employers can set a custom deadline for the candidate to complete their drug screen, ranging from 1 to 60 days. Should the candidate not complete their drug screen before the deadline, the employer has the option to cancel the order and receive a refund.

Each specimen will be have an associated Chain of Custody Form (CCF), which refers to the paper trail documenting the management and storage of a specimen as it is transferred from the donor to the collector and then ultimately to the final destination of the specimen where it is reviewed and a final result is reported.

Labs, Turnaround Times & Cost

All GoodHire drug tests are conducted in collaboration with Quest Diagnostics, LabCorp, and Abbott Labs. All labs use the same drug testing process, so you should not worry about any differences in testing outcomes.

Turnaround times depend on when the candidate provides their urine sample, and which lab is running the drug test. Some labs are equipped to conduct "Quick Tests," which requires the use of a special cup to collect the sample. For Quick Tests, results are typically returned within 1 to 5 business days.

For labs that are not "Quick Test" enabled, results will typically be returned within 3 to 5 business days.

If any further testing is required, results may take up to 10 business days to return.

Additionally, as part of the drug screen order flow, customers can view an expanded list of testing locations; however, these will not be "Quick Test" enabled.

As part of these prices, additional fees can apply, depending on the lab provider being used. Abbott Labs charges a flat $18 fee for all drug testing services. Other labs' prices vary, but do not exceed $32 at this time.

Testing Procedure & Results

Specimen Validity Tests:

Once a urine specimen has been provided by the candidate to the laboratory, the laboratory will conduct a Specimen Validity Test (SVT). An SVT is conducted on a drug screen specimen in order to detect whether it has been tampered with prior to the screening. There are three forms of tampering that SVTs look for:

  • Substitution is the submission of a specimen that is not characteristic of human urine. Typically, the substitution will be water or water with salt in it, and is identified by extreme creatinine and specific gravity results.

  • Adulteration is when a substance is added to a specimen after it has been collected. The product added is designed to mask the presence of or chemically destroy the drug or drug metabolite that the specimen may contain. An adulterant product may be added with the intention of adversely affecting the testing reagents.

  • Dilution occurs when a large amount of water is ingested, typically just before urine donation or as a result of physiological conditions.

All GoodHire labs will conduct an SVT before screening for drugs.


Once the urine specimen has cleared the SVT, the laboratory will run up to two analyses on the specimen. The results of the initial (or first) test generally determine whether a confirmatory (or second) test is needed. Regardless of the number of analyses performed, each result is reviewed, interpreted, and confirmed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO). MROs are medical specialists trained to read and confirm results.

Example Scenario:

  1. The applicant provides a urine specimen to the laboratory. The initial test comes back negative. The MRO interprets the results and determines that a confirmatory test is not necessary.
  2. The applicant provides a urine specimen to the laboratory. The initial test comes back positive. Because the initial test is positive, the specimen will be automatically sent for confirmatory testing.

For specific information regarding the individual substances, please refer to our Drug Test Cheat Sheet


Every test result is interpreted and confirmed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO). Every candidate who has a positive lab result is granted the opportunity to speak with an MRO before a report is made to the company.

The cutoff levels for initial and confirmatory tests are shown below. Drug testing cut-off levels are usually expressed in units of measure ng/mL (nanograms per milliliter). A nanogram is one billionth (1/1,000,000,000) of a gram.

Substance Initial Test Cutoff Concentration Confirmatory Test Cutoff Concentration
Amphetamines 1000 ng/ml 500 ng/ml
Cocaine Metabolites 300 ng/ml 150 ng/ml
Marijuana Metabolites 50 ng/ml 15 ng/ml
Opiates 2000 ng/ml 2000 ng/ml
Phencyclidine 25 ng/ml 25 ng/ml
Barbiturates 300 ng/ml 200 ng/ml
Benzodiazepines 300 ng/ml 200 ng/ml
Methadone 300 ng/ml 200 ng/ml
Methaqualone 300 ng/ml 200 ng/ml
Propoxyphene 300 ng/ml 200 ng/ml

*Initial and Confirmatory Tests are performed using different testing methodologies, which yield different cutoff levels.

The states of California, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland require or recommend SAMHSA cutoff levels. Illinois requires SAMHSA cutoff levels for contractors and subcontractors performing a public works project. In addition, the states of Louisiana, Hawaii, Maine, Arkansas, and Alaska have special rules concerning their cutoff levels.

Should the candidate’s test comes back positive, you will need to act in accordance with your company’s written drug testing policy, and applicable State and Federal laws.

Your candidate will receive an email with the completed background report at the same time that you do.


Laws for drug testing vary based on industry and state, as well as many other factors. Should you wish to drug test based on suspicion, on-site accidents, or for any other reason at all, we recommend and encourage employers to work with legal counsel to develop a legally-compliant drug testing policy. Remember that you need to have a drug testing policy that has been in effect for at least 30 days before you are allowed to order any kind of drug screening on a candidate.

Your compliant drug testing policy will also determine if you are allowed to run drug tests on current employees and the frequency with which you are allowed to do so.


Employers can set a custom deadline for the candidate to complete their drug screen, ranging from 1 to 60 days. Should the candidate not complete their drug screen before the deadline, the employer has the option to cancel the drug screen and receive a refund for the order. If the employer does not cancel the drug screen and the candidate completes the drug test within 60 days from the original order date, the results will still show on the report.

The drug screenings offered by GoodHire are SAMHSA compliant. At this point in time, drug screening is not available in US Territories or Canada.

Sales customers will have access to an extended network, but with an additional fee.

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