Saliva drug testing versus urine testing for your business

Why does Integrity Sampling recommend saliva drug testing in workplaces, over urine testing? Credit Dräger.

Regular readers of our blogs will know that while we will carry out drug testing using urine samples if a business requires, Integrity Sampling recommends saliva drug testing in workplaces. Why? Let us explain in this blog.

Urine drug testing

In relative terms, using saliva samples for drug testing in large samples is quite new. Our personnel pioneered saliva drug testing in Australia and implemented it in workplaces in the early 2000s. Before this, urine drug testing was the method used. Other methods such as blood and hair samples can be used for drug testing, but generally not in large numbers and results must be analysed in a laboratory.

Workplace drug testing using urine samples is quite a simple process:

  • People who are tested are asked to provide urine in a sample jar.
  • Testing of the urine sample can be done on work sites, using a test strip or lab reagent that is dipped in the sample. A colour change will indicate whether a drug is present.
  • Alternatively, urine samples can be sent off-site for analysis.
  • Urine drug testing is accurate and results can be verified by laboratory testing.

Saliva drug testing advantages

Workplace saliva drug testing is also a simple process. The process does depend on the equipment used. The below steps describe the process using the Drager DrugTest 5000, used by Integrity Sampling for all its drug testing:

  • People who are tested rub a collection device around the inside of their mouth.
  • The collection device is placed in the testing unit to be analysed. This can be easily done at the work site.
  • Results are obtained in as little as five minutes.
  • Accuracy is greater than 99%. However, it’s wise to point out a person isn’t verified as being under the influence of drugs until laboratory confirmation testing is carried out.

Why is saliva drug testing better?

While the methods are obviously different, the processes aren’t that dissimilar. So, why does Integrity Sampling recommend saliva drug testing? There are a few very good reasons:

  • Collection of saliva samples is non-invasive and can be done virtually anywhere. Collecting urine samples requires restroom facilities and some people find it invasive and embarrassing.
  • The opportunity to cheat the process is much greater for urine. There have been examples where people have swapped their urine for someone else’s to try to evade detection. In addition, urine substitute products are readily available.
  • Most importantly, saliva drug testing is a far more accurate way to determine if people are unsafe and unfit to be at work. Drugs in urine samples can be detected up to several days after the drug has been taken. This is an important distinction, because workplace drug testing is about safety and not about determining whether employees take drugs.

Want to find out more about the advantages of saliva drug testing? Contact Integrity Sampling today.


Why does Integrity Sampling recommend saliva drug testing in workplaces, over urine testing? Credit Dräger.

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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