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In This Article
Drug tests are great indicators to tell if someone is using certain prescription or illicit drugs. You have the option of having them done in a laboratory or doing it yourself at home.
At-home drug tests usually check urine samples for commonly abused drugs, such as marijuana or cocaine.1
“Samples of hair, sweat, blood, or saliva can also be used as specimens to check for these drugs,” says Dr. Rizza Mira.
If the test detects one or more drugs, doctors may order a lab test to confirm the positive result.
These lab tests are the best way to check for illicit drugs. But if you want a discreet and affordable way to detect early drug use, at-home drug tests are useful.
We looked at over 15 drug testing kits and evaluated them based on:
Using these criteria, we were able to pick the best at-home drug tests.
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We only choose at-home kits that provide reliable testing methods and science-backed reports to improve your health.
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At-home testing offers a private and convenient way to check for certain drugs in a person’s urine. These tests are sold online and you don’t need a prescription.
It saves you the trouble of having to visit a doctor or a laboratory for drug testing.
“Drug tests are used for purposes of employment, for sports clearance, for legalities, and for monitoring of possible misuse from prescription drugs,” says Dr. Mira.
The presence of drugs suggests they were recently used, which may indicate drug abuse or relapse. Although this isn’t always the case.
Some drugs are easily cleared by the kidneys, so a person may easily test negative for these drugs.
Some drug tests reveal a person’s compliance with treatment programs, such as pain management therapy and alcohol detoxification.
Other companies offer at-home drug tests for forensic use. Law enforcement uses them to look into any potential illegal drug use.2
Drug tests are also often mandatory for employment. Employers may ask applicants to take a test before hiring or provide drug screening for their employees.
At-home drug tests tell you which drugs are in a person’s urine.1
While alarms don’t need to be raised over every drug detected in an at-home test, signs of drugs of abuse are often what people look for.
Drugs of abuse are illegal drugs used for the purpose of eliciting a “high.” Drugs of misuse are prescription medications that are taken in ways and in amounts not recommended by a doctor.
At-home drug tests checks for one or several drugs, including:1
Some kits also test for other commonly abused drugs like fentanyl and tramadol.
Testing positive for illegal drugs and prescription drugs (even without a prescription) sometimes suggests that the testee has a drug use disorder.
A doctor can confirm if there is drug abuse, drug dependence, or drug addiction. They will order more tests and look into a person’s medical and family history.
Some tests also check for other drugs, such as:
Drugs and substances are classified into “schedules” based on their acceptable medical use and potential for abuse. When misused, these drugs can cause physical and psychological dependence.3
The lower the schedule, the higher potential for abuse.
Schedule II drugs such as MTD carry a high risk for abuse. Schedule III and IV drugs like BUP and PPX have a lower potential for abuse but are still dangerous.
Testing positive for these drugs isn’t always a bad thing. BUP, MTD, and PPX are used to treat pain and Opioid Use Disorders (OUD) such as methadone and heroin addiction.
If you’re on Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) or pain management therapy, taking these drugs as prescribed produces positive results.
When it comes to these drugs (as well as others used for treatment), further testing is often required to determine if it’s substance abuse or not.
This is because at-home tests only check for the presence of certain drugs.
They can’t tell you how much of a certain drug is present in a person’s urine or how long they’ve been using the drug before the test.1
Besides testing for commonly abused drugs, some test kits check for adulterations like creatine, nitrites, and oxides.
The presence of adulterations suggests that the urine sample was tampered with to produce false negative results.4
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|At-Home Drug Test||Cost Per Testing Cup||Number of Drugs Tested||Tests for Adulterations||FDA 501(k) Clearance||CLIA Waived||Speed of Testing|
|Areta 14-Panel Drug Test||$6||14||No||Yes||Yes||5 mins.|
|Identify Diagnostics 16-Panel Drug Test||$6.50||16||Yes||No||No||5 mins.|
|Exploro Highly Sensitive Marijuana Drug Test||$0.70||1||No||Yes||Yes||5 mins.|
|Easy@Home 5-Panel Drug Test||$2.60||5||No||Yes||Yes||5 mins.|
|Cost of Testing||About $6 per cup or $0.36 per tested drug|
|Speed of Test Results||5 minutes|
|Cup pack size||5, 10, 25, 50, and 100|
This drug kit is cleared by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration to check for all drugs of abuse and compliance to propoxyphene and buprenorphine treatments at a budget-friendly price.
Areta’s 14 Panel Drug Test checks for all the drugs of abuse listed by the FDA, as well as PPX and BUP. You can use it to test a person for:
It’s an affordable drug test if you consider the total number of drugs it tests for. You can buy a 5-cup pack for $24.89.
Unlike other tests, which are sold in bulk, you can buy them in smaller quantities.
|Cost of Testing||About $6.50 per cup or $0.30 per tested drug or adulteration|
|Speed of Test Results||5 minutes|
|Cup pack size||25, 50, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, and 200 or more|
Even though it’s designed for forensic use, it’s a good alternative if you want to test for more drugs of abuse, compliance with methadone treatment, and signs of tampering.
Identify Diagnostics 16 Panel Drug Test checks for MTD and all drugs of abuse, but not PPX. That said, it tests for a wider range of drugs and six adulterations.
It can check for potential drug use or if a person is complying with their methadone treatment. The test can also determine if the urine sample was tampered with.
But there’s a catch. This 16-panel drug test is for forensics use only or FUO. It isn’t CLIA-waived or FDA-cleared for at-home drug testing.
Law enforcers often use this type of test to detect drug use in suspected criminal offenders. But anyone who agrees to the fine print can purchase it online.
Overall, it’s a good alternative if you want to test for more drugs. You do have to buy it in bulk, with prices starting at $145 for a 25-cup pack.
|Cost of Testing||About $0.70 per cup or tested drug|
|Speed of Test Results||5 minutes|
|Cup pack size||15 and 25|
It checks for the recent use of marijuana and products containing tetrahydrocannabinol, such as edibles, delta 8/9, and THC vape.
The Exploro THC Urine Drug Test checks for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It’s the active compound in marijuana responsible for its psychological effects.
You can use the kit to test for THC in urine. This can happen if a person consumes products containing THC, such as:
Marijuana is the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the United States.6 As of 2022, it’s estimated that about 55 million American adults use marijuana.7
If you think a loved one is illegally using marijuana, this THC test from Exploro can help you find out. You can buy a 15-cup pack for only $10.45.
At only $2.60 per cup, this drug kit can test urine for 5 of the most commonly abused substances, including marijuana, opiates, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and cocaine.
The Easy@Home 5-Pack is a 5-panel drug test. It can identify THC, OPI, COC, AMP, and BZO in urine samples.
Marijuana, opiates, cocaine, amphetamine, and benzodiazepine are some of the most commonly used drugs with a potential for abuse and addiction.7
We recommend Easy At Home if you want a simple test that won’t cost a lot upfront. A 5-cup pack is priced at $12.98.
But if you consider the cost per tested drug, Areta’s 14-Panel Drug Test is still the best choice. It checks for 14 drugs and only costs $0.36 to test for each drug.
Most at-home drug tests sold online are self-testing kits. They usually include:
The temperature strip ensures that the sample is fresh and valid for testing. It’s usually built into the testing cup.
Taking these tests is as simple as peeing into the cup, dipping the testing strips into the sample for a few seconds, and reading the results after 5 minutes.
Depending on the number of lines that appear or how they change color, these may indicate a positive, negative, or invalid result.
Some at-home kits include confirmation testing. Here, a laboratory will test urine samples that were self-collected at home.
These tests can tell you the amount of the drug tested and include interpretations of your lab results.
When using an at-home drug test, you should read the bands on the testing strip using the instructions on the kit.
The color or number of these bands may indicate the following:
Negative test results can happen if you’re not taking the tested drug or if the last time you took the drug was too long ago to be detected.
“Negative results can also arise if there was only a small amount of the drug taken and if the drug is easily broken down by the body,” says Dr. Mira.
A false negative may also turn up if adulterations were added to the sample or the drug testing kit was expired.
Yes. At-home drug tests that are CLIA-waived and FDA-cleared provide accurate results. They can detect drugs in urine and have a low risk of error.
However, confirmation testing is still needed. Certain foods, drinks, dietary supplements, and medications can affect the accuracy of test results.1
At-home drug tests provide a practical and private way to check your loved ones for early signs of drug use and relapse.
There’s no need to visit a doctor, a laboratory, or a drug testing facility. These tests can be taken from the comfort of the home without strict monitoring.
They’re non-invasive and only require urine samples. Since these are rapid self-test kits, results are available within minutes.
Keep in mind that at-home tests only check for commonly abused drugs. They can’t detect all drugs of abuse, including new variants and less common drugs.
Even if a person tests positive for a drug, it doesn’t mean they’re abusing it. Follow-up laboratory tests are still needed to confirm the results.
If your loved one tests positive for one or more drugs, you’ll have the opportunity to get them the help they need at the earliest time possible.
You can schedule an appointment with a doctor who can order more tests, evaluate their condition, and provide guidance on the next steps.
Drug use disorder can affect a person’s brain and behavior in such a way that it becomes difficult for them to stop using drugs despite their negative effects.
Over time, drug tolerance, addiction, or dependence can happen.
“Tolerance is when the body doesn’t react to the usual dose of drugs like it used to. Dependence is when a person cannot function appropriately without the drug, and addiction is associated with signs and symptoms of overdosage,” says Dr. Mira.
This can lead to consequences in their health, relationships, finances, and professional life, such as:
Detecting early drug use can help you avoid these problems or keep them from getting worse. Drug addiction is a familial and societal problem.
Doctors can advise if your loved one needs withdrawal management and drug rehabilitation. They can also provide access to additional resources, support groups, and sober homes that will allow them to recover safely.
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