Oral Fluid Drug Testing Guidelines Issued by DHHS

On Oct. 25, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) published scientific and technical standards for oral fluid drug testing in federal workplace drug testing programs

Taking effect on Jan. 1, 2020, the Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs Using Oral Fluid (OFMG) allows federal executive branch agencies to collect and test oral fluid specimens. OFMG also sets standards and technical requirements for oral fluid collection devices. Some agencies, such as the Department of Transportation, must follow the Mandatory Guidelines in developing drug testing programs for their regulated industries.

Pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion/cause, post-accident, return-to-duty and follow-up drug tests all represent situations in which a federal agency may collect oral fluid specimens. OFMG collection requirements include securing a specific volume of oral fluid and split-specimen collections. Additionally, collectors must be trained in accordance with the OFMG.

DHHS states that the benefits of utilizing oral fluid testing as opposed to urine testing include the ability to conduct collections under direct observation (reducing the possibility for adulteration or substitution); eliminating the need for secured restrooms; offering a more expedient process; and potentially revealing more recent drug use shortly before or at the time of the collection. Furthermore, the stipulation revealed in these guidelines citing a scientific basis that the use of oral fluid testing can be used with the same level of confidence as urine testing is particularly relevant as the volume of products marketed to adulterate urine specimens continues to increase.

Posted: December 2, 2019

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