Is Oral Fluid Testing Right for You?

June 1 2022
5 min read

Instant Oral Fluid Drug Testing – Faster and Cheaper, But Is It Right for You?

The pressure to hire faster hasn’t been greater. You’re always expected to save money – get more for less. Instant oral fluid drug testing is faster and less expensive than traditional lab-based urine and oral drug testing solutions. So, it’s a “no brainer” to change your drug testing program to instant oral from lab-based solutions!

Maybe… and maybe not so fast, and perhaps even not so cheap.  Read on…

Understanding Oral Fluid Testing

Laboratory-based tests can be time-consuming, often taking several days to get results back from the lab. With instant oral fluid drug testing, you can get accurate results in just minutes.

The testing involves collecting saliva from the mouth. Also known as the “saliva test,” an instant oral drug test is a drug test that can detect the recent use of specific substances and provide near-immediate results.

What is the Difference between Drug Testing and Lab-Based Urine Testing?

Lab-based urine drug tests are the most common type of drug test. These tests are proven, have been around for a long time, and there are many providers and locations available to use.

Many companies are unfamiliar with what kind of drug testing program would be the best fit for them. The question of drug policy and compliance comes into play in determining what makes the most sense. These considerations will often include:

  • What does your policy currently state about your drug testing program?
  • What state laws must be considered based on where the company is located?
  • Are your candidates being placed in regulated positions?
  • Are you willing to manage a drug testing process including employee training on one end and managing drug testing supplies on the other?
  • Are you willing to absorb the administrative overhead of conducting this process?
  • Where are your employees located?
  • Do your employees work remotely?

When looking at the overall timeline, oral fluid testing gives near-immediate results whereas urine testing may take 24-48 hours overall. Also, oral fluid testing does require the employer to have an employee on-site to administer it for them, so it begs the question, what can you do for remote employees?

What Are Common Use Cases?

Quick serve companies are often trying to fill shifts for the same or the next day.  Candidates also want to start work in this timeframe.  A 2-3 day turnaround of a lab-based drug test is “too long” in this case.  Thus, an oral fluid solution that provides test results in minutes could be a better solution.

Some Things to Consider When Choosing

This solution requires training for the internal personnel. There are practical and personnel considerations. In today’s remote work environment, this may not be the best solution, especially for highly spread out teams that are looking to onboard quickly and effectively. 

When Is It Not The Best Solution?

For certain, highly regulated industries, oral fluid testing might not be the best solution given some of the challenges are test efficacy and requirements for employees to be on-site.

Industries requiring stricter drug testing protocols should weigh the benefits and drawbacks of implementing something like oral fluid testing or urine testing.

Reduced Costs and Reduced Turnaround Times

In addition to reduced turnaround time, instant oral fluid testing can be a less expensive testing alternative. A collection site and testing facility are not required for an instant oral fluid test, and as a result, they are much less expensive than those conducted at a lab. For non-negative results on the Instant Oral Fluid Test, most clients require the candidate to also take a Lab-Based Urine Test for confirmation.

While the "hard costs" for an oral fluid test are less than a lab-based urine test, there are "soft" costs to consider. Inventory of testing kits will need to be maintained. Personnel to administer the tests need to be trained or need to be contracted. The impact to candidate experience will need to be considered as candidates have many choices in today's market.

How Orange Tree Can Help

Orange Tree designs background screening and drug testing programs that align with the business goals and policies of its clients. Clients in different industries have different requirements. Within an organization, clients have different drug testing requirements for different positions. Because of this, Orange Tree offers a full range of offerings and works to understand the needs of our clients before presenting specific solutions. 

Instant Oral Fluid drug Testing can be an excellent addition to your current employee screening process because it can provide a faster and cheaper cost for drug testing when compared with lab-based urine solutions.

In addition, Orange Tree offers a 2-step process that includes, an instant Oral Fluid Test with lab-based urine confirmation. This helps reduce costs while maintaining a seamless employee screening process.

Schedule a call to learn more about how Orange Tree can help speed up your hiring process.

We recommend employers review and discuss with your legal counsel your organization’s policies and procedures to ensure continued compliance with the changing laws and regulations.

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