Drug and Alcohol Screening
Screening for the presence of Alcohol and Other Drugs (AOD) is becoming increasingly important in the workplace as the impact of improper alcohol and other recreational drug use can present a serious risk to health, safety and workplace productivity.
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation recently provided statistics on the impact stating that alcohol and drugs cost Australian workplaces an estimated $6 billion per year in lost productivity1. Implementing a robust screening program supported by a strong company drug and alcohol policy and workplace education program can add to a positive health, safe and productive workplace culture.
- How It Works
- Make a Booking
- Types of Testing
- Specialist Services
- Industry Specific Services
Types of Testing
To ensure an efficient and accurate Drug and Alcohol Test, based on our client’s needs, we offer two forms of screening;
Our drug testing collectors receive nationally recognised training from our Registered Training Organisation (Code 51535) to ensure privacy, end-to-end chain of custody, specimen integrity and reliable test interpretation.
Instant Urine Drug Testing
Our instant screening services are compliant with AS/NZ 4308:2008 Appdx A and NATA accredited and have a quick turnaround time for results. Instant screening offers a range of benefits including:
- Indicative non-negative or negative results in six class drugs including Amphetamines, Methamphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana, Opiates and Benzodiazepines.
- Integrity and adulteration tests to assist in identifying result tampering.
- Daily quality control testing for the instant devices used and ongoing device and collector participation in an external quality assurance program (RCPA).
- The instant immunoassay device test is simple and effective, with results visually interpreted by our trained staff within minutes.
- Should the result show all drug classes as negative then a final report will be issued indicating this on the day of testing.
As per AS/NZS4308:2008 requirements, should any of the drug classes show an initial non-negative result mandatory confirmatory testing at a NATA accredited laboratory must be carried out, as this provides a legally defensible confirmatory result.
Where this occurs an interim report will be issued stating that further testing is required.
Please Note: Sonic HealthPlus cannot disclose the nature of a non-negative (unconfirmed test result) to the employer until the confirmatory results are released. If the employer requires this information for their interim safety-critical work purposes it is up to the employee to disclose their unconfirmed results to their employer; and the employer to act as per their own drug and alcohol policy.
Instant Urine Drug testing is performed with collection either supervised or witnessed by the collector as per the client’s drug and alcohol policy requirements and is always in accordance with Section 2 of the standard.
Laboratory Urine Drug Testing
Laboratory urine drug testing is where our trained staff collect the sample under the same AS/NZS 4308:2008 compliant conditions and the sample is then sent to a NATA accredited laboratory for testing.
Laboratory initial testing has a 24-hour turn-around time, if the sample shows a negative result for all drug classes the laboratory will issue a final report which we will pass onto the client.
Should the sample show a non-negative result for any of the drug classes at the labs initial immunoassay test then as per the AS/NZS4308:2008 requirements it must be submitted to confirmatory testing.
The lab will conduct this confirmatory testing and then provide a final report with the results of that testing to SHP.
SHP will then pass this report on to the client.
Please Note: when confirmatory testing is required the final result may take up to 48 hours from the initial collection to be finalised.
Saliva Drug Screening
Saliva drug screening is an oral fluid based instant immunoassay test for illicit and/or prescription drug use and is performed to meet AS/NZS 4760:2019 requirements. This test is simple and discrete, with results visually interpreted within minutes.
Indicative non-negative or negative results are provided in five class drugs including: Amphetamines, Methamphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana and Opiates with Non-Negative oral fluid samples sent for confirmatory testing to a NATA accredited laboratory. Although performed consistent with the standard, currently no NATA accreditation is available for this service.
Other Testing Methods
Breath Alcohol Screening
Our trained staff perform Breath Alcohol screening consistent with AS3457:1997 testing requirements using calibrated, hand-held Type-2 electronic devices. If the initial sample of breath indicates the presence of alcohol above 0.00 then a second sample is obtained 20 minutes after the first. Should this sample also show a positive result this is a legally defensible confirmatory result and no further testing is required There is no NATA accreditation available for breath alcohol testing.
Alternatively a client may request a urine alcohol laboratory test, however, as there are no Australian Standard cut-off values for urine alcohol and the result only indicates the presence or absence of alcohol in the urine, it would be up to the employer to seek expert MRO advice on result interpretation.
Non Standard Drug Testing
Clients requiring screening for drugs of abuse, other than those stated with cut-off or target values in the relevant standards, may be assisted after discussing their needs with a Sonic HealthPlus MRO or Occupational Physician.
The outcome of the discussion must also be approval by the General Manager of Clinical Governance for Sonic HealthPlus.
Additional drug tests available with laboratory testing include: methadone, barbiturates, phencyclidine, synthetic cannabinoids, and some other US drug classes.
Specialist Drug and Alcohol Screening Services
Need help understanding your results? Medical Review Officers (MRO’s) are registered medical practitioners who have knowledge and understanding of:
Substance abuse disorders and their management
Alcohol and other drug testing procedures and methodologies
Ethical and privacy issues surrounding workplace drug and alcohol testing
Legislation and recommended standards in regards to drug and alcohol programs
Fitness for work and other medical related safety issues
Laboratory methodology and quality control
Pharmacology of illicit drugs
Interpretation and monitoring for companies who need to comply with Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (1998)
Interpretation of test results including alternative medical explanations for laboratory confirmed results
Industry Specific Drug and Alcohol Screening Services
Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)
Under subpart 99B of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998, an organisation must consult a Medical Review Officer (MRO) in the following three circumstances:
- If a confirmatory drug test conducted under the organisation's drug and alcohol management policy (DAMP) returns a positive result
- If a Safety Sensitive Aviation Activity (SSAA) employee has failed to give a body sample for AOD testing due to a medical condition, an MRO must review the relevant medical information to confirm that there is a valid medical reason
- To determine if the employee is fit to resume performing or being available to perform an SSAA after they have been prevented from doing so following a 'suspension event'
This service includes phone consultation with all relevant parties in addition to validation of all testing documentation. The MRO provides a report to the employer.
Under s115 of the Rail Safety National Law (RNSL), a rail transport operator must prepare and implement a drug and alcohol management program (DAMP) for rail safety workers who carry out rail safety work in relation to railway operations for which the operator is required to be accredited. The DAMP must comply with the prescribed requirements under the National Regulations (regulation 28). This includes, among other things, an internal drug and alcohol policy, systems and procedures for the provision of information and education to rail safety workers in respect of alcohol and other drugs, as well as an AOD testing regime to be undertaken by operators. Alcohol and other drug testing in the rail industry is generally governed by 3 different codes:
- The National Standard for Health Assessment of Rail Safety Workers (2017)
- State legislation
- Alcohol and Other Drug policy of each rail operator