Airline pilots, truck drivers, college athletes, forklift operators, and new employees are just a few of the people groups routinely required to undergo a drug test. If you’ve been told you need one, there’s no reason to be nervous. It typically means that your employer or coach wants to make sure that you have no illegal drugs in your system that may put you or those around you in danger or give you a performance advantage.

At Calvary Urgent Care in Humble, Texas, our team of medical experts performs drug tests every day for people just like you throughout the greater Houston area. We understand that you may feel a little nervous about your drug test, especially if it’s your first time. To put your mind at ease, we put together this information about exactly what to expect during a drug test.

Types of drug tests

There are several ways to check your system for drugs. Drugs can be detected in your hair, saliva, blood, and urine. The most common type of drug screening is a urine test, because it’s easy to collect and test, and it gives quick results.

Urine drug test

If you’ve been asked for a urine test, make sure you drink plenty of water at least a half an hour before your appointment. It’s also important that we collect a clean sample of urine so that the test results are pure. Here’s the procedure:

  • Wash your hands
  • Clean your genital area with a cleansing pad
  • Urinate a little bit into the toilet, then stop the steam
  • Urinate into the collection container
  • Seal the container and hand it to our lab technician

Under some circumstances, we are required to be present during your urine collection. While this may feel embarrassing, rest assured that it’s a routine practice, and our staff members do their best to make you feel comfortable.

Blood drug test

If there’s a reason to determine whether you’re actively under the influence of a specific drug, such as after an automobile accident or in a legal matter, a blood test can detect drugs that are metabolized quickly. If you’ve ever had a routine blood draw, then you know the drill. If not, here’s what to expect. While you sit comfortably in a chair, we:

  • Place an elastic tourniquet around your upper arm to make your veins larger
  • Clean the skin over your vein with an alcohol swab
  • Insert a very thin needle into your skin to access the vein (you feel only a small pinch)
  • Release the tourniquet as the blood flows into a small collection tube
  • Gently slide the needle out
  • Place a cotton ball and bandage over the insertion site

The whole process takes about five minutes, and there’s no downtime or pain involved.

Saliva drug test

If your employer or a law enforcement agency needs to know about recent drug use (within the last few hours and up to two days), this method is ideal for that. But it’s not suitable for detecting long-term drug use. If you need a saliva drug test, you:

  • Refrain from eating or drinking anything for at least 10 minutes before the test
  • Open your mouth
  • Allow our technician to insert a cotton swab into your mouth and wipe it along the inside of your cheek

This is often called a swab test because of the collection method. It’s desirable because it’s simple and quick and isn’t susceptible to substitution or adulteration.

Hair drug test

When someone needs to know if you’ve used illicit drugs over the past 90 days, they might request a hair drug test. That’s because most drugs leave traces that can be detected in your hair strands for a couple of months.

This test is fast and painless because you just need to sit still for a moment while we snip a small lock of hair close to your scalp. We only need a small sample (about 100 individual strands), so it won’t be noticeable.

What to bring to a drug test

Regardless of which type of test you need, you should always make sure you bring your government-issued identification and any forms your employer has asked you to have signed or filled out by a doctor. At Calvary Urgent Care, we test for 10 different drugs, which covers you and your employer beyond the standard five-panel test.

That’s it. Getting a drug test is nothing to fear. The process is simple, and now that you know what to expect, you can rest easy. Call us at 832-680-2273 or book an appointment online, but keep in mind that we have temporarily changed our hours due to the COVID-19 restrictions. We are currently open 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.

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