With constantly evolving marijuana laws, the continuing opioid epidemic, and advances in technology, many employers are rethinking how they approach their workplace drug policies and testing procedures. Drug testing through oral fluid is rapidly rising in these changing times, primarily because sample collection is simple, efficient, and can be conducted onsite. What exactly is meant by “oral fluid drug testing?”
Oral fluid drug testing is a method in which donors provide a saliva sample using a specific collection device. The donor accumulates a sample and directs the oral fluid to the collection pad, resulting in a complete sample within an average of five minutes. According to Quest Diagnostics, “oral fluid testing offers confidential lab-based drug test results from a minimally invasive, observed collection. It is excellent at detecting recent drug use because it can screen for drugs in a donor’s system soon after use.”
Benefits to Oral Fluid Drug Testing
Oral fluid drug testing is becoming a popular option due to the small amount of sample required. When it comes to urine and hair testing, a certain amount of volume is needed to perform an analysis, but there are testing challenges to these methods. As Quest Diagnostics explains, donors are sometimes unable to provide enough urine to be tested in a urine drug screen. Other donors lack the necessary amount of hair to have a hair drug screen performed. “Oral fluid differs in that a specimen is usually easy to collect because almost every donor is able to provide a sufficient sample for testing,” which is usually provided in under ten minutes.
“Two of the biggest benefits [of oral fluid testing] are the observed collection and tamper-resistance,” explains Scott Kitchens, Employment Screening Services (ESS) Vice President of Drug Testing & Health Services. “Donors aren’t able to buy things off the internet to try to “beat the test,” as they may with urine testing.” Drug testing deception trends are on the rise, making oral fluid screening a viable option for detecting drugs within 24-48 hours after use. The observed collection setting also decreases the likelihood of deception on the donor’s part; it is much harder to dupe the system with a collector observing the process.
Challenges to Oral Fluid Drug Testing
Although this method of drug testing is on the rise, it is not legal in every state. Prohibiting states include Hawaii, Maine, Vermont, and U.S. territory Puerto Rico. If an employer is looking to screen candidates or employees in these areas, they will be unable to use oral fluid testing results to make hiring decisions.
The small amount of sample required is a bonus, but there are some challenges that employers may come across. Donors may suffer from dry mouth or be unable to produce the appropriate amount of oral fluid due to dehydration or medications.
“When a person begins the donation process, they will be told by the collector to refrain from talking or swallowing frequently. Doing so can cause misdirection of oral fluid, resulting in an insufficient sample or increased donation time,” says Kitchens.
Businesses are having to rethink their drug screening policies and processes in today’s changing workforce culture. With its efficiency and simplicity, oral fluid testing is becoming an increasingly popular solution or additional screening method for employers. Contact one of our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org to rethink your drug testing programs.