Most employers would rather consider a saliva drug testing kit to the more traditional urine collection and drug testing procedures for workplace drug testing, and there is no reason why a saliva drug test should not be used for most employment drug testing.
Pre-employment drug screening is a little different. Employers are looking to screen for a longer period than is obtainable with instant near patient saliva drug tests. Urine drug screening will extend the detection period to 3 to 5 days for most drug groups. This will pick up more recreational drug use than saliva drug testing. If the drug screen has been notified, then the majority of potential employees will avoid recreational drug use in the week before the medical. To effectively screen for recreational drug use in this situation, the notification to attend for medical screening should be minimal. Otherwise you are only screening for hardened regular or dependent drug users, and the range of drug membranes included in the screen, should best reflect this.
We are commonly asked what to include in the employment drug screen, as there is no HSE list or specific guidance on what drugs should be included in the drug test, and what can be ignored. Our advice is to include the range of common recreational drugs which can affect performance, namely Cannabis, Cocaine, Amphetamines (and Methamphetamines) and opiates. We also recommend Benzodiazepines should be part of occupational drug screening, as most sedative tranquilisers affect performance, as can sedatives taken as sleeping pills. These should certainly be included in HSE high risk occupational drug screens examples being machine operatives, line side certification, PSV, HGV etc.
It may be worth contacting your local drugs team and finding out which drug groups are prevalent in your local area. We have noticed that Ketamine has started to become increasingly prevalent over the last 12 months and causes problems in an employment setting, as it highly sedative. Ketamine is in fact a veterinary tranquiliser, which gives you some idea how sedative it is. An increasing number of drug screens now include Ketamine, and we are being asked for drug testing kits that incorporate Ketamine now on a daily basis, although currently this option is only available in our urine drug testing kits.
SAMHSA have recently moved further in favour of saliva drug screening to become the first line method for federal employee testing in the US. This should see further developments in saliva drug screening with new drug test membrane options for saliva testing becoming available and a standardisation of the saliva drug cut off levels to enable direct brand comparison and greater covergence in testing results and quality.