Drug testing new hires or current employees can be a somewhat intimidating or sensitive topic for employers striving to maintain a drug-free workplace. But put yourself in the applicant’s shoes. You go in for the interview, and the hiring manager seems to like what you’re saying and nods affirmatively when your experience and background are discussed. It all seems to be going great.
Then, after saying you fit the job well, the hiring manager tells you, “Just one more thing. Before you join our team, we need to administer a drug test.” If you’ve never taken a drug test before, you might become a bit nervous, anxious, or even a tad offended. Are they going to extract your blood? Make you urinate? How long will the test take?
Employers never wish to alienate or scare a good candidate away. Therefore, a competent hiring policy tends to utilize the most non-invasive and efficient method of drug testing to keep things simple. Saliva testing is proving the most popular method among employers these days, according to drug-test kit manufacturer Confirm Biosciences.
So why is oral drug testing on the rise? According to the National Institutes for Health, several reasons are cited for this increase in use: oral testing is quick, simple, non-invasive, and a little less scary or intimidating than other methods. It literally doesn’t even require you to leave your seat, and it is more cheat-proof than, say, urine testing.
A saliva test does not require a trip to the bathroom or privacy. It also does not require the clipping of hair from your head, and it eliminates the need for an extended period test, as in the case of perspiration testing (a more recently developed method that requires the wearing of a patch for 14 days). A saliva test merely requires holding a swab in your mouth for a few minutes. Not long after, the employer simply examines the testing coloration lines and tabs to determine whether your test is negative or positive.
Therefore, oral drug testing is understandably growing in popularity among employers seeking a drug-free workplace, especially those who hire a large number of employees and may experience a high employee turnover rate. Moreover, it proves less expensive per test than several other methods.
If it sounds appealing to you as an employer, you might ask, “But how do I administer an oral drug test flawlessly?” By discussing this fully with your testing provider and following all instructions on user pamphlets, you can administer fool-proof saliva drug tests.
Here are the basic steps to ensuring flawless results, whether positive or negative, and ultimately ensure your drug-free workplace.
- Make sure the package containing the swab and other supplies is tightly sealed (In most instances, you do not need to wear sanitary gloves to open the package.).
- To promote employee comfortability, show him the sealed package.
- Tear off the top of the sealed package along the indicated tear line. Commonly, the kit will contain a sealed tube which envelops the entire testing apparatus. If the apparatus is not entirely sealed after opening the main package, use sanitary gloves to handle the implements.
- Inside the tube, you will find a round top and a stem or plastic stick with a sponge or swab on its end. Pull out the stick or stem by the top, and hand it to the employee to place inside his mouth (handling only the top of the stick).
- Make sure the employee places the sponge or swab fully into the mouth while gently pressuring it with teeth, tongue, and gums. A usable amount of saliva should normally be obtained in the sponge after a couple minutes at most.
- Take the stick or stem from the employee by the top, again, and screw it by the top back into the tube. The sponge will compress at the bottom and thereby expunge the saliva into a depository built into the bottom of the tube. Keep it upright at all times.
- Remove a plastic panel wrapped around the midsection of the tube to expose a ring of multi-colored strips representing various types of drugs detected. The saliva should rise into these strips over a period of roughly 10 minutes.
- After this time, two purplish lines should appear between the sponge and the bottoms of the colored strips to indicate a negative result— no detection of drug use. If only one such line appears, just below any or all of the colored tabs, drug use has been detected—a positive result—for those types of drugs indicated by color.
- If the test proves positive, you should send the tube with the saliva gathered at the bottom of it to the lab for final confirmation. Lab work can usually be performed within 1- 3 days.
Administering an employee or potential new hire saliva drug test is that quick and simple. If, during your application of the saliva test, you become confused, simply refer to the procedure card that comes with the kit to double-check that you are conducting each step correctly. Solid drug testing policies and protocols coupled with correctly administered drug testing procedures is a proven way to achieve your drug-free workplace.