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By Australia Drug Testing / November 10, 2023

By Australia Drug Testing / November 10, 2023

Why All-In-One Drug and Alcohol Tests Fall Short

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All-in-one drug and alcohol testing kits may appear to be a convenient and cost-effective solution for workplace drug screening. These kits claim to detect both drugs and alcohol, making them seem like an all-encompassing option. However, despite their apparent advantages, combination tests have significant limitations that compromise their accuracy and reliability.

Workplace drug testing is a vital aspect of maintaining a safe and productive environment for employees and employers alike. Relying on subpar testing methods can not only put individuals at risk but also expose businesses to potential legal ramifications. By understanding the limitations of combination tests, employers can make informed decisions to ensure the utmost accuracy and reliability in their drug and alcohol screening protocols.

In this article, we’ll explore why all-in-one drug and alcohol tests fall short and why it’s important to opt for separate specialised urine, saliva, and breath tests for comprehensive workplace drug testing.

Why ADT Doesn't Supply All-In-One Tests

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1. Urine Alcohol Tests Unable to Meet Australian Standard As/Nzs 4308:2008

Urine alcohol tests included in all-in-one kits are unable to meet the stringent requirements of the Australian Standard AS/NZS 4308:2008 for workplace testing. This standard sets specific cutoff levels and accuracy criteria for workplace drug testing methods. Urine alcohol tests fall short in terms of sensitivity and specificity, leading to potential false-positive or false-negative results. These inaccuracies can pose a significant risk to workplace safety and employee well-being.

2. Saliva Combo Tests Less Reliable in Trials

Combination saliva tests, which aim to detect both drugs and alcohol, have proven to be less reliable in various trials. One of the major concerns is their susceptibility to contamination from food, drinks, and other environmental factors. As a result, the accuracy of drug detection in saliva is inferior to urine testing. Furthermore, when it comes to alcohol detection, saliva tests are less accurate than specialised breathalysers, which measure blood alcohol levels more precisely.

3. Past Internal Trials of Saliva Alcohol/Drug Kits

Internal trials of all-in-one saliva alcohol and drug testing kits have raised concerns about their accuracy and reliability. Numerous customer complaints about inconsistent and inconclusive results were reported. As a result, these kits were ultimately pulled from sales due to their underwhelming performance. Relying on such unreliable testing methods can have severe consequences, jeopardising workplace safety and exposing businesses to potential legal challenges.

In light of the substantial limitations and unreliable performance of all-in-one drug and alcohol testing kits, it’s evident that these combination tests do not meet the high standards required for workplace drug screening. ADT’s decision not to supply such kits reflects a commitment to ensuring the accuracy and reliability of drug and alcohol testing in the workplace. Employers must recognize that cutting corners with subpar testing methods poses a significant risk to employee safety and overall organisational well-being.

Prioritise Precision With Separate Specialised Drug Testing Methods Tailored to Specific Purposes

To maintain a drug-free workplace effectively, it is imperative to prioritise precision and adherence to industry standards. Instead of relying on all-in-one kits, businesses are encouraged to adopt separate specialised urine, saliva, and breath tests, each tailored to their specific purposes. Urine testing, adhering to the Australian Standard AS/NZS 4308:2008, remains the gold standard for drug screening, offering a longer detection window and the ability to detect a wide range of common drugs. 

Saliva testing can complement urine testing in certain scenarios, providing non-invasive collection with a shorter detection window for drug use. Additionally, breathalysers are the recommended method for alcohol testing, offering accurate quantitative results that correlate well with blood alcohol levels.

Recommended Workplace Testing

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Urine Testing Remains the Gold Standard for Drugs

For workplace drug testing, urine testing remains the gold standard due to its accuracy and reliability. Urine drug testing kits compliant with the Australian Standard AS/NZS 4308:2008 provide consistent results and ensure that cutoff levels and accuracy criteria are met. Urine testing has a longer detection window, up to 30 days, allowing employers to identify drug use more effectively. 


Additionally, urine tests can screen for a wide range of common drugs, such as THC (marijuana), cocaine, heroin, codeine, meth, and amphetamines. When conducted following proper procedures, urine testing can offer accurate screening, and in case of any doubt, sensitive GC/MS lab confirmation is available.

Saliva Suitable Secondary Option

While urine testing is preferred for drug screening, saliva testing can serve as a suitable secondary option, especially in certain scenarios. Saliva collection is non-invasive and convenient, making it a viable choice for on-site testing.

Saliva tests can detect common illicit drugs within a shorter detection window of 1 to 24 hours. However, they do have some limitations, including constraints on sample volumes and a less ideal sample matrix compared to urine. As such, they may not be as reliable as urine tests, but they can still complement urine testing in specific circumstances.

Breathalysers Accurately Measure Alcohol

For alcohol testing, breathalysers offer the most accurate and reliable results. Unlike urine and saliva tests, breathalysers are not impacted by other contaminants, ensuring the accuracy of alcohol detection. These devices provide clear quantitative blood alcohol concentration (BAC) readings, allowing employers to determine if an employee is under the influence and posing a potential risk. Breathalysers that comply with the Australian Standard AS 3547 are highly recommended for alcohol testing in the workplace.

Many Workplaces Use Combination Testing

To cover all substance classes effectively, many workplaces opt for combination testing. This approach involves using either urine or saliva tests for drug screening, depending on the specific requirements of the situation, alongside breathalysers for alcohol testing. By adopting this strategy, employers can ensure flexibility in their testing methods while maintaining accuracy and reliability.

Employers should prioritise specialised testing methods that adhere to industry standards and workplace policy, ensuring the utmost accuracy and reliability in workplace drug and alcohol screening. By doing so, businesses can create a safer and more productive work environment, protecting both their employees and their organisation from potential risks and legal consequences associated with unreliable testing results.

Conclusion

All-in-one drug and alcohol tests may seem like a convenient option for workplace drug screening. However, their limitations in meeting Australian Standards and their overall accuracy and reliability concerns make them unsuitable for reliable drug and alcohol testing. Instead, it is essential for businesses to invest in separate specialised urine, saliva, and breath tests to ensure workplace safety and comply with industry standards.

Urine drug testing remains the gold standard for drug screening, with its longer detection window and ability to detect various common drugs. Saliva testing can serve as a suitable secondary option, but employers should be aware of its limitations. For alcohol testing, breathalysers provide accurate and quantitative results, making them an essential tool for ensuring workplace safety.

By avoiding all-in-one kits and opting for compliant and reliable testing methods, businesses can protect their employees and themselves from potential legal challenges associated with inaccurate results. Implementing a combination of specialised tests tailored to their specific workplace needs ensures flexibility and accurate screening for a drug and alcohol-free work environment.

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