Drug abuse in the workplace puts employers at risk of lower productivity, higher insurance costs, and increased accidents. To mitigate these risks, employers can implement a drug and alcohol policy by screening out applicants and employees using an effective drug testing method.
Two of the more widely accepted methods of drug testing today are urine drug testing and oral fluid testing. According to the official journal of the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, urine drug testing remains a primary method for drug screening today. Still, due to some limitations like the inconvenience of collection, possible adulteration, and substitution, it has paved the way for alternatives such as oral fluid testing.
What is Urine Drug Testing?
Urine drug testing is a method of drug screening that can detect the presence of drugs in a person’s system through a urine sample. A doctor or a drug testing provider will provide a person with drug testing cups or a kit to collect the urine sample and analyze it in the lab.
Urine drug testing is widely used today because it is cost-effective, and the test incorporates standard testing protocols.
Advantages of Urine Drug Testing
Urine drug testing has more legal precedence in court cases. If anyone needs to provide evidence to the court, urine testing has more legal precedence because it is widely accepted to be more accurate and uses recognized standard protocols. It can be presented as strong evidence to the court.
It has standard procedures.
Urine drug testing follows standard procedures for testing, even those who use urine drug testing rapid results cup. Some drug testing providers offer urine drug testing rapid results cup that will allow you to collect the sample read the results as soon as possible. Even with the accelerated results, these kits are approved by the FDA.
Lab results are interpreted based on DHHS cut off levels.
If an applicant or an employee has been exposed to marijuana smoke possibly or have eaten food that contains small particles of certain drugs, they will not receive a positive result since urine drug testing uses a standard cut off levels. The cut-off levels are designed to protect employees in the event of exposures that are not related to drug use or abuse.
Disadvantages of Urine Drug Testing
Longer turnaround time.
The turnaround time for lab-based urine drug testing is longer, which is usually 24 to 48 hours. Luckily, there are already drug testing providers that provide rapid drug testing cups for faster results. However, if the company wants expert witnesses for all parts of the process, it will take more time to get results.
It can be challenged if the collection standard is not followed.
As with any other tests, if the urine specimen is collected in an unprofessional setting by an unqualified collector, a urine drug test can be challenged, especially if presented as legal evidence in a court setting.
There is a higher chance of contaminating a urine sample.
There are several ways and even products that anyone can buy to try to dilute or adulterate a urine specimen. This is why standard procedures and protocols should be followed and adulterants should tested for in conjunction with each test works towards preventing this from happening.
What is Oral Fluid Testing?
Oral fluid testing is a drug screening test that detects substance use by collecting saliva or oral fluid. It is conducting using a collection stick with an absorbent pad on the tip, which will be used to swab inside the cheek.
As an alternative to urine drug tests, oral fluid tests are being used by employers who wants a simpler procedure. Oral fluid tests are easier to administer and can be collected in full view of the person who is administering the test. Drug testing providers will provide oral drug testing kits for employers.
Advantages of Oral Fluid Testing
- Faster turnaround time.
- Results are received within minutes and even if sent to a lab instead of having instant results the confirmation and result will typically come back faster than urine tests.
- Unlike urine drug testing, drug test results from this method are almost impossible to tamper with. It eliminates the need for restrooms since all oral fluid drug tests are done under supervised observation making it virtually impossible to falsify the results.
- No special facilities are needed.
Oral fluid testing can be done nearly anywhere, and the oral specimen can be collected without the need for laboratories or special facilities. It has a better process for collection compared to urine drug tests. Once the oral drug testing kits for employers are provided, they can easily implement it and get fast results.
Disadvantages of Oral Fluid Testing
It can only detect drugs used recently.
Unlike urine drug tests, an oral drug test can only detect drugs that are used in the past few days. This may not be enough for some employers, especially in industries that have a strict drug-free policy.
Sample contamination is still possible.
People who are administering oral fluid testing should properly perform the test without contaminating the sample. Moreover, test subjects will have to avoid certain liquids, gums, mouthwash, and some medication to avoid contaminating the sample.
Some kits have lower cut-off levels.
If the oral fluid test kits that are used have lower cut off levels, it can produce incorrect results. It may interpret a false positive result even though the applicant or employee has only been exposed passively to drugs.
It is a common debate on which type of drug testing is more effective. The answer is both methods are comparable in terms of accuracy. If you are after convenience, an oral fluid test is a better option. If you need a certain range with the results, then a urine drug test might be a better choice.
Depending on your setting and requirements, one method might prove a better solution compared to the other. In the end, choosing the best method will depend entirely on the nature of your industry and the legal results your workforce requires.