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.

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
On-site Drug and
Alcohol Screening

Need a Sonic HealthPlus collector to come on-site? It's simple and only starts with a phone call. Click the button below to learn more about the process for an on-site drug and alcohol screening.

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In-Clinic Drug and
Alcohol Screening

Would you rather come into a clinic to conduct your drug and alcohol screening? Start by calling the closest clinic and arranging an appointment. Click the button below to learn the process to an in-clinic drug and alcohol screening.

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24hr Drug and Alcohol
Screening on-call service

Do you require an urgent drug and alcohol screening? Our 24hr on-call service allows you to call our after hours line and request a collector to conduct a drug and alcohol screening at the earliest convenience.

View Process
On-site Drug and Alcohol Screening
  1. Call 1300 339 557 to discuss your on-site Drug and Alcohol Testing Requirements and book in your session.
  2. We will ensure your program is compliant with Australian Standards and adheres to your Drug and Alcohol policy by confirming the following details prior to coming out to site;
    1. You have a current Drug and Alcohol Policy and understand how to handle any issues on the day such as non-compliance or a non-negative result.
    2. You have selected the tested method that adheres to your Drug and Alcohol policy (Saliva or Urine) or guide you to the most appropriate method for your needs.
    3. You have compliant facilities available for testing and they are set up appropriately for the collector ahead of time.
  3. Sonic HealthPlus can offer blanket or random Drug and Alcohol testing based on your policy requirements. Our team can offer assistance in randomising employee selection via the following methods;
    1. Employee Lists – Prior to testing, you can send the SHP team your employee list which will be randomised for you and brought by the collector on the day of testing.
    2. On-site Selection – After arriving on-site, the collector is able offer a variety of instant random selection tools. For example employee’s pick a ball out of bag with those selecting specially marked balls to make themselves available for testing.
  4. Day of your test: the Sonic HealthPlus Collector will arrive on-site on the day of testing 15 minutes early to set up in allocated compliant collection room.
  5. Employees to be tested are to present to testing location to complete paperwork, read donor information sheet and complete test. This process can be coordinated with the collector so employees are not waiting around for testing, are processed as quickly as possible and can return to work.
  6. Urine or Saliva instant test procedure takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes to complete per person.
  7. A non-negative instant test result means an initial drug screen has indicated the possible presence of a drug metabolite which requires the sample to be sent for further testing to a NATA accredited laboratory. To package the sample on-site, please allow an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Individual employee reports are available by the end of the day and are provided via email to pre-approved company employees only. Testing summary reports available on request.
  9. Confirmatory reports for non-negative samples provided within 24hours of final results being made available by the laboratory*.
In-Clinic Drug and Alcohol Screening
  1. Call your closest clinic and book in for a drug and alcohol screen.
  2. Arrive at the clinic 15 minutes before appointment to complete any paper work and read the donor information sheet.
  3. Donor called to screening room.
  4. A Urine or Saliva collection procedure takes approx. 10-15 min per person to complete.
  5. Non-Negative means an initial drug screen has indicated the possible presence of a drug metabolite which requires the sample to be sent for further testing to a NATA accredited laboratory.
  6. Interim Result report provided to the supervisor at the conclusion of the test.
  7. Confirmatory results are provided within 24hrs of final results being made available by the laboratory*.
24hr Drug and Alcohol Screening on-call service
  1. Call the after hour’s line.
  2. Collector calls letting you know they are on their way.
  3. Collector sets up in allocated room.

A Urine or Saliva collection procedure takes approx. 10-15 min per person to complete. Non Negative means an initial drug test has indicated the possible presence of a drug metabolite which requires the sample to be sent for further testing to a NATA accredited laboratory.

The supervisor will be informed of the Non-Negative outcome with an interim report provided to the supervisor at the end of testing. The decision as to whether the donor returns to work or is stood down pending the laboratory confirmatory result must be managed by the employer in relation to their company drug and alcohol policy. Individual and/or Laboratory Confirmatory reports are provided to employer as soon as final results are available from the laboratory.

*Actual Laboratory test turn-around time dependent on clinic location and test methodology.

Types of Testing

To ensure an efficient and accurate Drug and Alcohol Testing based on our client’s needs, we offer two forms of screening:

and

Urine Drug and Alcohol Testing

Urine Drug testing is conducted in accordance with AS/NZS4308:2008 requirements, with collection either supervised or witnessed by the collector as per the client’s drug and alcohol policy requirements and is always accordance with Section 2 of the standard. Sonic HealthPlus collectors receive nationally recognised training from our RTO (Code 51535) to ensure privacy, end-to-end chain of custody, specimen integrity and reliable test interpretation. The instant immunoassay device test is simple and effective, with results visually interpreted within minutes whereas a laboratory immunoassay test has a 24-hour turn-around time: both tests being NATA accredited and available per client preference.

As per AS/NZS4308:2008 requirements, any initial non-negative urine drug test result requires mandatory confirmatory testing at a NATA accredited laboratory who then provides a legally defensible confirmatory result. The collector may not 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 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.

Our trained staff perform Breath Alcohol screening consistent with AS3457:1997 testing requirements using calibrated, hand-held Type-2 electronic devices. A second positive breath alcohol test performed 20 minutes after the first positive is a legally defensible confirmatory result. There is no NATA accreditation available for breath alcohol testing. Alternatively a client may request a Urine Alcohol laboratory test, however, there being no Australian Standard cut-off values for urine alcohol, it would be up to the employer to seek expert MRO advice on result interpretation.

Benefits of Instant Urine Drug Screening
Our instant screening services are NATA accredited (AS/NZ 4308:2008 Appdx A) 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).

Saliva Drug and Breath Alcohol Screening

Saliva Drug device screening is an oral fluid based immunoassay test for illicit and/or prescription drug use and is performed consistent with AS4760:2006 requirements. This test is simple and discrete, with results visually interpreted within minutes. Indicative non-negative or negative results in five class drugs including Amphetamines, Methamphetamines, Cocaine, Marijuana and Opiates.

Non-Negative oral fluid samples are sent for confirmatory testing to a NATA accredited laboratory.

Although performed consistent with the standard, this service is not currently NATA accredited due to technical issues cited by NATA.

US DOT and EXXONMOBIL Drug and Breath Alcohol Screening
Clients requiring to book either US Department of Transport or ExxonMobil drug testing for contractors to ExxonMobil can contact any Sonic HealthPlus clinic for assistance. Testing is performed at a NATA accredited laboratory to the latest prescribed initial and confirmatory cut-off values.

Additional Drug Screening

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 discussion of their needs with a Sonic HealthPlus MRO or Occupational Physician and approval by the General Manager: Clinical Governance. Additional drug tests available with laboratory testing include methadone, barbiturates, phencyclidine and synthetic cannabinoids.

Medical Review Officer (MRO) Services

Sonic HealthPlus Specialised Services division provides Medical Review Officer (MRO) services for drug and alcohol testing.

Learn More

24 Hour DAS screening

24 hour After Hours and Casual drug and alcohol screening programs give companies peace of mind that testing can be completed on-site, at any time. Testing is often required in the following circumstances;

  • On-site accidents that result in injury or property damage
  • Workplace ‘near misses’
  • Suspicion of employees being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol

Situations such as on-site accidents or near misses don’t always happen from Monday to Friday and during business hours. Often it is after hours or on the weekend where the need for drug and alcohol testing is highest. To ensure the drug test results accurately reflect the status of the worker at the time of the incident, screening should be completed as soon as possible, Having to wait 12-48 hours before a test is completed can significantly reduce the window of detection of drug and or alcohol use.

When using the 24 hour Causal / Call out service clients receive:

  • NATA accredited onsite testing and instant results
  • Access to NATA accredited laboratories and confirmatory results.
  • Experienced collectors with nationally recognised training from our RTO (Code 51535).
  • 2 hour response time for all call outs.
  • Result review and advice of fitness for work from Medical Review Officers (upon request).
  • 24 hour turn around on confirmatory results (upon receipt at laboratories)*.
  • Provision of 24 hour coverage with no retainer. Pay only when the service is utilised.

*Actual Laboratory test turn-around time dependent on clinic location and test methodology.

Specialist DAS Services

Need help understanding your results?
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

Sonic HealthPlus provides the following MRO services:

Drug and Alcohol Risk Management Advice
Drug and alcohol validation involves assessment of all testing documentation, sample integrity and results interpretation. This service includes phone consultation with relevant parties i.e. worker, supervisor and possibly general practitioner MRO provides a report to the company representative and candidate.

MRO Fitness for Duty Assessment (Drug and Alcohol)
Occupational Specialists identify if prescription drugs or faulty testing procedures have influenced the result of a worker’s drug and alcohol test. Using specialised knowledge of the use of prescription drugs, the pharmacology and toxicology of illicit drugs and testing procedures, these Occupational Specialists will determine if the worker can safely return to work without risk to themselves or others.

Specimens that were non-negative on first testing are forwarded for laboratory confirmatory testing and results are forwarded to MRO (Confirmatory reports provided within 24 hours of final results being made available by the laboratory). MRO determines whether drug results are positive or negative i.e. consistent with declared drug usage.

  • If 'negative'; MRO writes final report and case is closed.
  • If 'positive'; MRO writes final report - sends to company. Company to manage employee as per their drug and alcohol policy.

MRO’s can provide valuable advice in the development of a quality drug and alcohol policy. Please contact us for a proposal if you wish to take advantage of this beneficial consultancy.

Industry Specific DAS 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:

  1. If a confirmatory drug test conducted under the organisation's drug and alcohol management policy (DAMP) returns a positive result.
  2. If a Safety Sensitive Aviation Activity 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.
  3. To determine if the employee is fit to resume performing or being available to perform a 'safety sensitive aviation activity' (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. MRO provides a report to the employer.

Rail Industry
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

Mining Industry
Workplace Health and Safety in the mining industry is regulated by states and territories. Mining Regulations 9.3.2 in addition to state and territory safety and health legislation guide workplace alcohol and other drug testing program requirements especially for workers in safety-sensitive positions where drug testing is mandatory.


Building Industry
From 16 Oct 2015, the Building Code 2013 now includes the requirement for mandatory alcohol and other drug testing on Commonwealth funded projects/construction sites.

Road Transport Industry
From Drug and alcohol testing pertaining to road usage is governed by:

  • State legislation
  • The Austroads publication- Assessing Fitness to Drive 2016

The commercial vehicle driver medical standards generally apply to drivers seeking authority to drive heavy vehicles, public passenger vehicles or vehicles carrying bulk dangerous goods. Specifically the standards require that drivers undergo regular health assessments to make sure they meet the medical criteria for commercial drivers contained in Assessing Fitness to Drive, with particular focus on medical aspects including substance abuse.

What is NATA accreditation?

The National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) is the authority that provides independent assurance of technical competence through a proven network of best practice industry experts for customers who require confidence in the delivery of their products and services.

Sonic HealthPlus is one of the few providers who have achieved NATA accreditation for AS/NZS4308:2008 specimen collection, detection and quantitation of drugs of abuse in urine. Unlike certification, NATA accreditation focuses on overall compliance with quality assurance systems and processes, rather than technical competence only. It also provides you with the assurance that if required, the results will withstand legal challenge in Australian courts.

Sonic HealthPlus is a leading provider of drug and alcohol screening within Australia. Adhering to a strict SHP standardised best practice AOD testing policy and procedures and having access to a team of RTO trained and experienced screeners, SHP is able to deliver all DAS services to the highest standards possible.

View our accreditation
Delivery Models

On-site or In-clinic?

In meeting client-specific needs Sonic HealthPlus offers the flexibility of either In-clinic or On-site Alcohol and Other Drugs Testing.

While inclinic testing provides a standardised fit for purpose collection and testing experience, onsite alcohol and other drugs testing is available for clients who are required to administer random tests at the workplace to their workforce as part of employment contracts and Occupational Health and Safety Policy.

Both in-clinic and on-site testing provides for the use of quality assured test devices, standardised and supervised/observed collections, accurate interpretation by experienced collectors and quick turn-around times for results.

Saliva Vs Urine
what’s the difference?

Learn the difference between saliva screening and urine screening by reading our information Health Hub article.

Read article

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Further Information

For more information on Drugs and Alcohol Screening, visit our Health Hub page.

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References
1. ADF - Alcohol and Drugs in the Workplace

  • Manning, M., Smith, C. & Mazerolle, P. (2013). The societal costs of alcohol misuse in Australia. Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice. 454. Canberra: Institute of Criminology.
  • Roche, A., Pidd, K. & Kostadinov, V. (2015). Alcohol – and drug-related absenteeism: a costly problem.
  • Dale, C. & Livingston, M. (2010) The burden of alcohol drinking on co-workers in the Australian workplace, Medical Journal of Australia, 193(3), 138-140.
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