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Blood Toxicology Testing

Best for active use suspicion

In the context of drug screening, blood analysis is most appropriate when active use is suspected. In contrast to hair and urine collection, traces of substances in the bloodstream are rapidly metabolized and quickly eliminated. This makes for a rather narrow detection window. However, blood analysis allows for more rapid detection. Depending on the substance and the dose, traces of drugs can be detected in the bloodstream within minutes of use as opposed to one to several days in urine, and even longer with a hair sample.

Empty laboratory test tube against light blue background

Common Questions

Screening components tested for include but are not limited to:

  • Amphetamines
  • Barbituates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cocaine & Metabolite
  • THC
  • Opiates
  • Methadone
  • Fentanyl
  • Buprenorphine

Minimum sample: 1mL (roughly 20 drops)

Preferred sample: 3mL (roughly 60 drops)

A blood sample will be stable at room temperature for up to 5 days and will maintain its stability in a refrigerator for 7 days. A frozen sample can last for up to 30 days (though freezing is not recommended).

Blood test results are typically returned within 72 business hours (after collection).

Yes. Blood samples are tested in a medical laboratory using equipment and procedures that allow for a very small margin of error.

If an error is suspected (a rare occurrence) a re-test can be administered.


Employment blood toxicology testing can be very valuable depending on the use case. In many situations, hair, saliva, and hair samples are not ideal for the detection of recent use. This can potentially pose problems when conducting post-accident or even reasonable suspicion drug tests. If substance use occurred within one to three hours prior to testing, blood analysis will likely be the best option for detecting it. In short, blood testing for substance use can be practical for many employers depending on the situation and the unique needs of their organization. However, blood tests are not a good option for routine workplace drug testing.