Instant Drug Testing: What You Should Know

Perhaps you set out in search of how to pass a mouth swab drug test for FedEx. But somehow you came across home drug test Walgreens. So, now you know how to pass a saliva drug test for a job but you're wondering what the home drug test Walgreens mean. You're at the right place.

The home or at home drug test is simply a synonym for instant drug testing, and we'll be discussing it in more detail here.

By the end of this piece, in addition to your knowledge on how to pass a mouth swab test, you’ll know all about instant drug testing.

What Is Instant Drug Testing?

Just as the name suggests, instant Drug testing describes a test that is done instantaneously—the results are obtained right away. Instant Drug Testing may also be referred to as Point of Care Testing (POCT), at-home drug tests, rapid testing or rapid-result testing, and on-site testing. The at-home drug test conducted using a 5-panel instant drug test kit is a typical example of instant drug testing. An instant drug test usually screens urine or saliva samples for certain combinations of drug metabolites.

In What Cases Is Instant Drug Testing Used?

Instant drug testing is often used in workplaces for pre-employment tests. It may also be used for random testing to ensure workplace safety.

Federal and local government workers as well as law enforcement officials also use PCOT tests.

How Do Instant Drug Tests Work?

Instant Drug Tests usually screen urine or saliva samples and as such may be an instant pee test or an instant saliva drug test.

A mouth swab drug test detects substances in the body by screening the oral fluid for the presence of drug or alcohol metabolites while a urine test screens the urine for the presence of substances.

The result gotten from a rapid drug test is either negative or non-negative depending on whether or not substance metabolites were detected in the biological sample given.

  • Negative-substance metabolites are not present.
  • Non-negative- Substance metabolites are present. In this case, a lab test is further carried out as an instant Drug test cannot declare a positive result.

What Substances Can Be Detected with a Home Drug Test?

Instant Drug Testing may detect specific combinations of various drug metabolites: opiates, propoxyphene, amphetamine, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, marijuana, methadone, methamphetamin, oxycodone, and phencyclidine.

Generally, at-home drug test kits range from basic 5-panel drug test kits to 22-panel test kits.

Is it Legal to Have an Instant Drug Test in Your Workplace?

Whether or not you can have an instant drug test at your workplace depends on the federal and state laws as well as your organization.

For certain federally regulated organizations, only lab-based drug tests may be conducted. If your organization isn’t controlled under federal regulations, state laws come into play. While some states do not permit instant drug testing, those who do require that lab tests be carried out if the rapid drug test comes back non-negative.

Where Can You Get Popular Instant Drug Testing Products?

CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) Waived

CLIA Waived test kits are approved by the FDA for drug testing. They offer drug kits ranging from 1-panel to 16-panel. Their test cups are easy-to-use with straightforward, easy-to-follow instructions. CLIA Waived products (e.g. the cup CLIA) boast up to 99% accuracy and 24-month shelf life.


There are over 1000 Walmart drug test kits available for purchase. 1-panel, 4-panel, 5-panel, 12-panel, or 14-panel? You can get them all at Walmart. There are home drug test kits that screen for THC, some test for amphetamine, and there are various multi-panel kits. Before setting out to buy a test kit at Walmart, do your research to ensure you’re getting one that serves your objective as there are various types and brands available here.

Dollar tree

You can get the At Home Marijuana Drug test kit at most dollar tree stores. This test kit is easy to use, boasts of a 98% accuracy and its results can be easily interpreted without aid. Many people who have used the dollar tree drug test kit attest to its accuracy, however, if the drug concentration threshold for a lab test is lower than 50 ng/ml, you may test positive in the lab test despite a negative home test.

Summarily, this test kit is a great bargain for its price.

CVS Pharmacy

You can shop at-home drug test kits at CVS pharmacy. CVS pharmacy allows you to conveniently order an instant drug test cup that meets your needs.


Home drug test Walgreens are also within your reach. You may order 7-drugs home drug test kits, 14-drugs home drug test kits, and one-panel THC test kits among others. There are also test kits specifically for marijuana, methamphetamine, and cocaine.

Instant Drug Testing vs. Lab-Based Screening


Lab-Based drug tests are generally more accurate than instant Drug screenings as instant drug tests cannot officially declare a positive result. A PCOT test can only be negative or non-negative. A non-negative test result could be due to passive smoking, the presence of similar metabolites in medication, and the infamous poppy seed situation. For lab tests, however, some thresholds ensure that the substance detected is a result of direct use. Plus, as an employee, Lab-Based tests are justifiable in the law court.


A major difference between instant drug testing and lab-based tests is that while the latter takes an average of 3-4 days, you can have your results in hours or less using an instant drug test cup.


Generally, instant Drug Tests are more affordable. Lab-Based tests are comprehensive and usually cost more.

Types of Instant Drug Panels

Drug panels may be grouped based on the type and number of drugs that they can detect. We have:

  • Instant 10-panel drug test kit
  • 5-panel drug test kit
  • 4-panel drug test kit
  • 7-panel drug test kit
  • 8-panel drug test kit
  • 12-panel drug test kit etc.

Of all drug test panels, the 5-panel and the 10-panel kits are the most common with the 5-panel kit being typical. The 10-panel urine drug test detects:

  1. Cocaine
  2. Cannabis
  3. Amphetamine
  4. Opioids
  5. Methadone
  6. PCP
  7. Barbiturates
  8. Benzodiazepines
  9. Propoxyphene
  10. Methaqualone

The 5-panel drug testing kit, on the other hand, detects:

  1. PCP
  2. Amphetamine
  3. Opioids
  4. Cannabis
  5. Cocaine

Pros and Cons of Instant Drug Testing Kits


· Saves Time

An instant drug test saves time since it gives a negative test result in no time. While you’ll have to wait 2-3 days to get lab-based drug test results, you can have your rapid test results within the hour.

· Inexpensive

Rapid drug test kits are generally inexpensive when compared to the lab-based drug test option. Moreso, with varieties of instant testing panels available, you may decide to compare prices and effectiveness before making buying your test kit.

· Easily Accessible

Rapid drug test kits are widely available and thus easy to access.

· Allows On-Site Testing

This might not be a significant benefit for pre-employment screening, however, it's often a huge relief for on-the-job drug tests. Since the test can be carried out on-site, there’s no need to leave the workplace for a relatively long time reducing productivity.


· Non-negative tests must be confirmed

If an instant drug test gives a non-negative result, further lab tests have to be carried out. This brings additional cost and time implications

· Drug panel limitations

While you may customize a lab test to screen for specific substances based on your objective for the test, you are limited to the instant test kits available. Thus, the best you may do is choose a test kit that best fits your objective.

· Lack of precision

An instant drug test cannot specify the quantity of substance abused nor can it give an accurate projection of the time it was used. A lab drug test, on the other hand, offers a more in-depth analysis.

· It may be unacceptable

Although instant drug testing is a comfortable go-to, its results are not acceptable in the law court. Moreso, certain federally-regulated organizations, for example, the Department of Transportation, do not accept POCT test results.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are instant Drug Tests as Accurate as Lab Tests?

Many instant drug test kits boast of up to 99% accuracy, however, lab drug tests are generally more accurate as they are more comprehensive.

How Long Does a Drug Test Take?

On average, rapid drug tests give screening results in about 4 hours. Lab-based drug tests, on the other hand, take 2-3 days.

Nonetheless, note that a non-negative instant test result may warrant a lab test.

What Companies Perform Drug Testing?

Here are a few companies that render drug testing services.

  • Laboratory Corp of America Holdings (LabCorp)
  • National Toxicology Center
  • Pharmatech
  • CVS

What Factors Should Be Considered when Deciding Instant Drug Testing vs. Lab-Based Test?

Before deciding what test type to conduct, consider:

  • Federal and state laws in your vicinity
  • The precision of both test types,
  • Turnaround time for the results
  • Cost implications
  • Company's objective for testing

What Companies Are Used for Federal Workplace Testing?

Here's a list of the certified labs for federal Workplace testing.

Does Walmart Drug Test?

Walmart generally runs background checks on its potential employees. However, you may be required to pass a drug test if you’d be holding a high position or handling heavy equipment. For example, if you’re coming into the Asset Protection (AP) office or in the maintenance department, you’ll most likely go through a drug test.

Does CVS drug test?

Yes, it does. CVS conducts pre-employment screening for potential employees as it is a strict drug and alcohol-free workplace. It also conducts routine drug screens to ensure safety and compliance.

Does the US Department of Transportation Accept the Instant Urine Test?

Although there are various types of drug tests available, lab-based drug tests are the officially acceptable form as there are regulations guiding the DOT drug and alcohol testing.

Conclusively, instant drug tests have their place, but they are not a replacement for lab-based drug tests, which are more comprehensive and precise. However, if you must do instant drug testing, be sure that federal and state laws permit rapid testing and that the test serves its objective maximally.