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Drug & Alcohol Testing QuickGuide

Are you new to Drug & Alcohol Testing? Not sure which test type would be the best fit?

To those not already familiar with Drug & Alcohol Testing (or "screening") the amount of choices and test types available can be a bit confusing. This QuickGuide will lay-out the basic pros and cons of each test type and show you how to quickly locate the test you need from our catalog.

The two main categories are Drug Testing and Alcohol Testing.


The number of "panels" refers to the number of drugs tested for on the device. The "panel" consists of a drug test strip designed to detect the presence of a specific drug and/or its metabolite (e.g. oxycodone, methadone, cocaine, etc.). Rapid drug screens typically test anywhere from 1 to 14 panels on a single device.

The "configurations" are the specific combinations of panels (drugs tested for) on the test. Your choice of standard configurations available will vary according to test type and manufacturer. Generally speaking, there are more standard configurations available for urine-based tests versus saliva-based tests. And within urine-based testing there will be more panel configurations available for the "dip" and "cup" format tests than for the "cassette" format.


Current technology allows us to rapidly screen for the presence of drug metabolites in both urine and saliva. Choose your preferred method.


You have three different test type formats to choose from for Urine Drug Screening (UDS): dip, cup or cassette. See typical device type images below. 


Dip format

Pros: economical; many configurations available
Cons: separate sample cup required to collect urine (additional step involved in test procedure)

Cup format

Pros: self-contained urine sample (minimal exposure); easy-to-use; many configurations available
Cons: cost a little more than dip or cassette tests

Cassette format

Pros: economical; less specimen volume required (only a few drops needed!)
Cons: separate sample cup required to collect urine (additional step involved in test procedure)



There are two basic test types for Saliva Drug Screening, the cassette (pictured below left) and the integrated test which eliminates one step from the process (i.e. the "dropper" used to squeeze the saliva from the test swab).



Alcohol can be screened for using urine, saliva or breath-based testing. Breath-based alcohol screens are available in disposable formats (one-time use) and as electronic analyzer devices (breathalyzer).