Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
How do I become a Workplace Drug Testing Collector
To comply with the requirements of Australian Standards, a collector is defined as a person who has successfully completed a course of instruction for specimen collection and onsite testing (if applicable), including, storage, handling and despatch of specimens, and who has received a statement of attainment in accordance with the Australian Quality Training Framework.
The Progressive Diagnostics training course complies with this description providing the required training to allow you to confidently perform workplace drug and alcohol testing.
What is a standard Workplace Drug Screen Test?
A standard workplace drug screen test will be performed on either your urine or oral fluid specimen and tested to comply with the relevant Australian Standard (AS4308 for Urine testing and AS4760 for Oral Fluid testing).
Depending on the type of specimen, the test will screen for cannabinoids (cannabis), amphetamines (speed, ice), opiates (codeine, heroin), benzodiazepines (sleeping tablets/antidepressants) and cocaine.
Testing for additional drug classes can sometimes be added, eg. methadone and barbiturates.
What are the Australian Standard Drug Class Screening Cut-off Levels?
The cut-off levels are defined in Australian Standard AS/NZS 4308 (Urine) and AS 4760 (Oral Fluid)and are usually derived from levels which can be reliably detected in a laboratory.
Certain cut-off levels may take other factors into account such as the cut-off level for cannabis metabolites which makes allowance for passive smoking (i.e. it is set at a level that ensures a positive result cannot be obtained from passive smoking).
The drug screening cut-off levels per drug class for urine testing - AS/NZS 4308:
Amphetamine Type Stimulants (300 ug/L)
Benzodiazepines (200 ug/L)
Cannabis Metabolites (50 ug/L)
Cocaine Metabolites (300 ug/L)Opiates (300 ug/L)
The drug screening cut-off levels per drug class for oral fluid testing - AS/ 4760:
Opiates (50 ng/mL)
Amphetamine Type Stimulants (50 ng/mL)
∆9 Tetrahydrocannabinol - THC (15 ng/mL)
Cocaine and Metabolites (50 ng/mL)
Oxycodone (40 g/mL)
What are the benefits of a workplace testing policy and procedure?
Drug and alcohol use is a risk in the workplace. Many workplaces implement a drug and alcohol policy and related testing procedures as part of their duty of care to employees. An employers' duty of care includes the requirement to provide a safe workplace.
An employer needs to have a means of identifying drug and alcohol impaired employees. Clear policy guidelines are therefore required to deal with the individual concerned. These guidelines need to also detail how the individual concerned should be rehabilitated to ensure the employee can return to their job and be fit for work.
A drug and alcohol policy, when properly implemented, can be a very positive condition of employment for all employees since it will give them the confidence that, as far as alcohol and drugs is concerned, their work mates are fit for work.
What is the detection time for drugs screened in urine testing?
The length of time each of the drugs stay in the body for varies depending on specific characteristics of the drug itself. As a rough guide the following information can be used:
Alcohol 2-14 hours depending on consumption- Amphetamines 2 to 4 days
Barbiturates long acting – 2 to 3 weeks / short acting – 24 to 72 hours
Benzodiazepines up to 4 to 6 weeks
Cocaine 2 to 4 days
- light user - up to 15 days
- heavy user (2-3 times/day for more than 3 months) – up to 8 weeks-
Methadone 3 days
Opiates 2 days
Is my specimen checked for adulteration?
Yes, your urine specimen will be checked to make sure it is concentrated enough to test and that there are no external adulterants present which may interfere in the testing process.
The urine screening test includes testing for common adulterants (i.e. bleach) as well as commercially available adulterants (i.e. UrineLuck, Whizzies, etc).
What if I drink a lot of fluids prior to the test?
If you drink an excessive amount of fluids prior to your urine test, you may provide a specimen which is too dilute for testing. This is determined by measuring the level of creatinine in the urine.
If the creatinine level is too low, then the sample cannot be tested and must be repeated.
If continuous dilute samples are provided (in the absence of prescribed diuretic use or a variety of medical conditions), intentional dilution in order to avoid the test may be considered as a possibility.
If my friends are smoking cannabis and I inhale some, will I test positive?
Passive smoking of cannabis smoke cannot cause a positive result on a drug test except in extreme conditions, which you would have to voluntarily endure.
Will I be supervised when providing my specimen?
The specimen collection should always be performed with maximum regard for the individuals privacy. Different companies / providers administer different levels of supervision to ensure the urine specimen came from the subject concerned.
How can I be assured that my specimen will not be tampered with?
The specimen provided should always be handled under full chain of custody conditions. The specimen is split at the point of collection into two specimen containers - a test specimen and a referee specimen. Both specimens are sealed with tamper proof security seals in full view of the donor.
What if I want my specimen independently tested?
The referee specimen is available and can be retested by a different laboratory at the donors request.
Will my prescription medication be detected in my drug test?
You should check with the pharmacist / doctor who prescribed your medication whether you are safe to work in your current job role while on the medication in question. Your pharmacist / doctor will be able to find out if the drug is likely to show up in a drug test. A confirmatory drug test will be able to differentiate prescription and ‘over the counter’ medications from illicit drugs.
Do poppy seeds cause a false positive result?
Some sources of poppy seeds that are available in supermarkets or are sold on bread products may produce an initial non-negative (positive) result under the opiate drug class. Further laboratory confirmatory testing will however be able to identify if the result is related to medication or drugs.
Can I have a blood test instead of a urine test to screen for drugs?
There is currently no Australian Standard for workplace drug testing on blood specimens.