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A recent survey has shown that 9% of full-time workers have a substance misuse problem. Saliva drug testing, also known as oral fluid testing, is ideal for workplace testing because it can be easily performed on site, quickly, without the need for dedicated collection facilities. It is one of the most popular methods of for-cause (or post-incident) screening when there are reasonable grounds to suspect that there has been recent misuse of drugs in the workplace.

However, when it comes to workplace drug testing you can’t afford to cut corners. You need to use an accredited testing laboratory, such as AlphaBiolabs, which is trusted for accurate and reliable results.

It has been brought to our attention that companies are purchasing saliva drug test kits from online sellers that are not fit for purpose. These ‘cheap’ testing kits, which are mainly manufactured abroad, are purported to detect up to 11 drugs. However, in-house tests by our toxicologists have proved that these testing kits are not accurate. When tested for cannabis, cocaine, amphetamine, opiates, methylamphetamine, methadone, PCP, barbiturates, benzodiazepine, oxycodone and buprenorphine, the kits were unable to detect the drug in 55% of cases.

Ramifications of inaccurate drug tests

If a drug test does not correctly identify drug misuse then the consequences could be severe and wide reaching.

An immediate negative result may reassure an employer that no further action needs to be taken and the employee can go back to work. But what if the test is inaccurate and hasn’t identified any drugs present? The employee may work in a safety-critical role, such as driving or operating machinery. Performing such tasks under the influence of drugs could be a major hazard to the employee, other members of staff and even the general public. The company is also breaching health and safety laws, and its reputation as a business could be impacted.

If a drug test shows a non-negative result, the samples need to be sent to a lab for quantitative tests to determine exactly which drugs are present and in what quantity. Whilst this confirmation testing is being undertaken, staff are usually suspended on full pay until the results are reported.

The outcome of a failed workplace drug test depends on the company’s drug testing policy. It could mean disciplinary action, dismissal or therapy. If the company has a zero-tolerance policy, just the positive test could be seen as gross misconduct resulting in immediate dismissal or suspension while there is an investigation.

You can trust AlphaBiolabs

AlphaBiolabs’ oral fluid testing kit is Home Office-approved and used by the UK police force. It is able to test for amphetamine, benzodiazepines, cannabis, cocaine, ketamine, methadone, methamphetamine and opiates. It has a period of drug detection from 30–60 minutes after ingestion up to 48 hours, although this can depend on the particular substance taken. The entire test takes 20–30 minutes and involves placing an absorbent collector (similar to a large swab) inside an individual’s mouth for up to 2 minutes to soak up sufficient saliva. The sample is then instantly screened to establish whether any drugs are present.

Should confirmation testing be needed back at our laboratory, we offer rapid confirmations to reduce the time your staff need to be suspended. Next day confirmations are offered as standard, and same day results are also available for urgent cases. The increased availability of inaccurate drug testing kits can lead to critical problems for a business or even legal action. AlphaBiolabs offers an extensive range of professional, confidential and comprehensive workplace drug testing services. Our laboratory has over 15 years of experience in testing, legally defensible results, protecting your business should an employee formally dispute them for any reason. For information on how oral fluid testing can tackle drug misuse in your workplace, contact AlphaBiolabs on 0333 600 1300, email info@alphabiolabs.com or visit our workplace testing services website at www.alphabiolabs.co.uk.

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