Oral Fluid Testing in the US Workplace

04 April 2016

Approximately 50 million drugs tests are conducted annually in the United States of America (Current, 2015).  Whether it’s pre-employment drug screening, which is currently carried out on 40 percent of the US workforce, or drug screening for health and safety purposes, workplace drug screening can be an invaluable tool to promote a safe working environment (Pinsker, 2015). Often implemented to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and reduce the danger of accidents occurring at work, drug testing in an employment setting is essential to ensure employees are not abusing illegal or prescription drugs.

Oral Fluid Screening

Although employee drug testing in the USA is predominantly carried out on urine samples, it is estimated that within four years, 25-30% of all regulated drug testing will be conducted using oral fluid as a sample matrix. This could potentially amount to 12.5 to 15 million lab-based oral fluid drug tests (Current, 2015). Using oral fluid to detect recent drug use has many benefits in a workplace setting.

First and foremost, oral fluid collection is non-invasive and does not require the privacy that would be expected when collecting a urine sample. Collection of an oral fluid sample is simple when using a collection device, and can be carried out under supervision by both male and female collectors.  As a result, the risk of adulteration is significantly less in comparison to the high risk of adulteration that occurs with urine samples.

Secondly, oral fluid is a quick method of drug screening as collection time is shorter, increasing employee productivity as less time away from the workplace is required to provide a sample. Furthermore, onsite collections are feasible as sample collection only requires the use of an oral fluid collection device.

Thirdly, oral fluid testing can be highly accurate if carried out using reputable drug screening products provided by companies that place quality assurance at their core. This provides a cost effective solution for companies carrying out workplace drug testing, as accurate results will reduce the number of samples that require confirmatory testing.

MultiSTAT: Automated Drug Screening

Randox Toxicology has created a new automated analyser that enables on-site simultaneous detection of 20 classical, prescription and synthetic drugs from a single sample. This oral fluid panel requires a small sample volume and qualitative results are produced within 17 minutes. As previously mentioned, carrying out on-site drug testing reduces the amount of time employees are away from their job. Not only this, but it is a cost-effective method of carrying out drug testing as sample collection companies are not required and non-laboratory staff can use the analyser.

Included in the MultiSTAT oral fluid panel is three New Psychoactive Substances, or commonly referred to as designer drugs, including alpha-PVP (Flakka), JWH-018 (Spice), and UR144/XLR11 (Spice). Randox Toxicology provides an unrivalled toxicology test menu and are continually first to market with novel drug tests including synthetics cannabinoids, kratom, DOx Series and bath salts.

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New Psychoactive Substances

Drugs such as alpha-PVP, JWH-018, and UR144/XLR11 are frequently appearing in shocking news stories which highlight the dangers of taking New Psychoactive Substances. These designer drugs contain chemical substances that are artificially developed to mimic the effects of illegal drugs and are sold and marketed as if they are harmless to the user. However this is not the case, and in a workplace setting it could be potentially dangerous to drive vehicles or operate machinery under the influence of New Psychoactive Substances. These substances can affect concentration, coordination and reflexes and may increase risk-taking behaviours (NSW Government, 2013). Screening for NIDA 5-panel of drugs (cannabinoids, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates, and phencyclidine) is no longer satisfactory when ensuring employee safety. With New Psychoactive Substances readily available and prescription drug abuse on the rise, including these drugs in workplace drug testing is crucial to promote a safe working environment.

Biochip Array Technology

The technology at the core of the MultiSTAT analyser is the biochip. This tried and tested patented technology provides a platform for simultaneous detection of multiple drugs of abuse from a simple sample. The biochip is a solid state device with discrete test sites onto which antibodies specific to different drug compounds are immobilised and stabilized. Competitive chemiluminescent immunoassays are then employed, offering a highly sensitive toxicology screen. For workplace drug testing, accurate results can be achieved using the MultiSTAT, carried out by non-laboratory trained staff in non-laboratory settings.

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Biochip Array Technology from Randox Toxicology is a market leading method for the detection of drugs of abuse. The MultiSTAT* is the most innovative workplace drug testing technology available, offering users: 

-Simultaneous detection of 20 classical, prescription and synthetic drugs from a single sample
-A fully automated on-site analyser
-User-friendly interface with no laboratory experience required
-Results generated in 17 minutes

For more information please contact: info@randoxtoxicology.com or search: Randox Tox


Current, B. (2015) What you should know about the Lab-Based Oral Fluid Testing Guidelines Proposed by SAMHSA. Available from: https://goo.gl/6DnWUm [Accessed: 29th March 2016]

Pinsker, J. (2015) Drug testing- here are 3 reasons why companies still do it. Business Insider. Available from: http://goo.gl/uiOC2K [Accessed: 29th March 2016]

NSW Government (2013) Synthetic Drugs. Available from: http://goo.gl/sxeb6g [Accessed: 29th March 2016]

*For forensic use only

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