Oral Fluid Drug Testing
Oral fluid drug testing is the up and coming form of drug testing in the occupational realm in Canada. Many employers have seen the usefulness because of the short drug detection time-frames, leading to a more accurate determination of recent use. Oral fluid drug testing is ideal for post-incident, reasonable suspicion, random or any other form of testing that requires knowledge or recent use.
Point of Care (POCT) / Express Testing
POCT testing refers to a ‘quick screen’ drug test. This method of oral fluid testing is not commonly used at the moment. To date there has been inconsistencies with POCT oral fluid devices. However, Health and Hearing Conservation Consultants is continually searching for and researching new devices to ensure that our clients receive the best quality, innovative testing available.
One of the benefits of oral fluid drug testing, is that there is no known way to effectively adulterate the sample, unlike urine. Because of this, adulteration testing is not performed on an oral fluid sample.
If the worker has a negative drug screen, no further testing is required and results will be available within 2 hours of testing completion.
If the worker has a non-negative drug screen, it is Health and Hearing Conservation Consultants’ recommendation that ALL non-negative sample’s be sent to the laboratory for confirmation testing and if laboratory results still remain non-negative on to a Medical Review Officer (MRO). Please note that non-negative drug screens CANNOT be called positive for legal purposes. To have a positive drug test, a sample would need to undergo the laboratory and MRO process.
- Laboratory confirmation creates a full chain of custody and legally recognized drug screen.
- Confirmation testing and MRO review will determine if there is any legitimate reason the donor may have a non-negative or positive drug screen (ex. prescription medication)
- MRO review will ensure that drug levels are within prescription limits in the case of prescription drugs
AT THIS POINT IN TIME – HEALTH AND HEARING CONSERVATION CONSULTANTS DOES NOT ENDORSE THE USE OF POCT ORAL FLUID DRUG TESTING.
Lab-Based testing is very similar to POCT testing, apart from the fact that a POCT drug screen is not completed in the collection facility.
Once the sample is collected, a chain of custody is complete and the sample is sent directly to the laboratory for initial screening. Health and Hearing Conservation Consultants utilizes the services of Gamma Dyanacare Medical Laboratories which has a full lab in London, Ontario and an initial screening lab in Edmonton, Alberta.
If the worker has a negative drug screen, results are typically available within 24-48 hours of collection.
If the worker has a non-negative initial drug screen, a confirmation screen will be completed and an MRO review will occur prior to releasing the final result as either Positive or Negative. This process typically takes between 48 and 72 hours from the time of testing.
This table should be used as a general guideline only. Many variables may affect the amount of time that a drug remains detectable in the oral fluid, including a drug’s half-life, the donor’s state of hydration and fluid balance, frequency of use, route of administration, or other variables.