This article presents the benefits of oral fluid testing, commonly referred to as saliva testing. Its ease of use, established testing protocols at laboratories and the ability to collect a sample anytime, anywhere only scratches the surface when it comes to the long list of benefits that come with oral fluid testing. We have presented a summary of the article below with our added comments.
Oral fluid collections can be completed nearly anywhere and is a simple process of shipping the sample off to the laboratory for testing. [ R&A Comment – We always recommend the use of laboratory to process drug test specimens. Instant devices often give false negatives as the level of the drug must be higher to register than the level sent to a laboratory]
The simplicity of this may lend itself to the idea that a third-party administrator (TPA) is no longer necessary. Although this process can be handled directly by the employer, it is still a good idea to utilize a TPA. TPAs play an important role in the drug testing process as they act as an agent on behalf of the employer. The TPA works to establish connections between the various vendors needed for a successful drug testing program and can help manage the program with the employer. [R&A Comment – As a Third-Party Administrator for drug testing, we help assure drug panels are properly established with the lab, answer questions and provide counsel at no additional cost.]
Keep in mind that oral fluid testing does not force a company to make an all-or-nothing decision. Oral fluid testing can be performed in conjunction with other methods of drug testing i.e. urine. [R&A Comment – With the Intercept product a manager merely provides the donor with a sealed kit. The donor opens the kit, places the swab in their mouth for five minutes. Then removes the swab, places the swab in a tube, caps the tube, signs and dates the tube and then gives the signed sealed tube back to the manager. The manager does not touch any fluids.]
The actual testing cost per oral fluid sample tends to be lower than its closest counterpart, urine. Also, savings are essentially built into the oral fluid collection process. Oral fluid testing affords employers the option of performing sample collections in-house. [R&A Comment – Since oral fluid specimens can be collected in-house, the indirect costs of sending donors to a collection site are avoided. If drug testing an employee, the additional indirect cost of paying the individual for travel and wait time to and at the collection are avoided. And, typically, since the collection occurs immediately the drug test results tend to be returned faster.]
Despite not being around as long as urine testing, oral fluid testing is just as effective and accurate. It yields equally reliable results. It is virtually impossible to cheat an oral fluid test because a collection occurs in plain sight of the collector. Additionally, turnaround times for lab-based oral fluid tests are very competitive with urine testing.
Recent-use detection is becoming more of a critical need for employers. [R&A Comment – Oral fluid drug testing tests for the actual drug in the system of a donor. Thus, it captures recent use more effectively than urine drug tests. This contrasts with urine drug testing which tests for metabolites of the drug after processed by the body. This can result in a delay in obtaining a positive. Additionally, recent-use detection is ideal in post-accident scenarios where an employer is ultimately trying to determine if impairment was a possible cause of the accident or incident.
Panel options available for oral fluid testing are very similar when compared to urine testing.
The simplicity of the oral fluid collection allows for swift, easy-to-follow training guides. In most cases, a collector can begin conducting a successful oral fluid collection in a matter of minutes.
Despite improved turnaround times for lab-based testing results in recent years, lab-based testing simply cannot compare to instant testing options. [R&A Comment – We do not recommend the use of instant drug tests. It has been proven that they frequently produce a false negative. We think there is no substitute for having a specimen sent to a lab for very stringent drug analysis.]
Addressing common misconceptions of this type of fluid testing reveals many of the benefits oral fluid testing has to offer. The bottom line is that oral fluid testing is an effective, reliable means of drug testing that more employers are turning to. Key benefits of oral fluid testing are less time-consuming and invasive collections, increases in recent-use detection and the ability to make rapid hiring decisions.
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs since 1999. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the website at randisiandassociates.com