Services / Drug and Alcohol Testing Services

Oral Fluid Drug Testing

Oral Fluid Drug Testing measures drug levels in saliva. An absorbent collection tool is placed in the mouth and the resulting sample is screened for the presence of drugs.

Depending on the drug, it is possible to detects drug use in the past 12-24 hours. However, Oral Fluid Drug Testing does not reveal historical usage.

Types of Tests

There are currently two types of Oral Fluid Drug Testing methods available: Express (point of collection) testing and lab-based testing (with options for 6 and 10 panels).

Express Oral Fluid Testing

Express (point of collection) testing will instantly identify if the following 6-panel drugs have been ingested by the donor:

  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines
  • THC (marijuana)
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)

The results of express Oral Fluid Drug Testing are instant, qualitative, and presented as a negative or non-negative. SureHire recommends to send all non-negative samples to the lab for confirmation screening. It is important to note that express Oral Fluid Drug Testing has limitations. The technology lacks the reliability and validity of testing done in the lab, and the level of the drug in the donor’s system can not be determined.

Lab-based Oral Fluid Drug Testing

Both 6 and 10 panels can be completed though Lab-based drug testing. Lab-based Oral Fluid Drug Testing can be completed solely or in addition to express testing. The 10 panel Oral Fluid Drug Test will identify the presence of the following drugs:

  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines
  • THC (marijuana)
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Methadone
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet)
  • Benzodiazepines (sleeping pills, tranquilizers, rohypnol, etc.)
  • Barbiturates

With Lab-Based testing, the Oral Fluid sample is sent to a SAMHSA-certified lab to be tested with standardized equipment that provides a legally defensible quantitative result. This will identify the drug level in the body and the final result can be reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO).

Please note that all Lab Based testing results can take up to 2-5 business days.

Understanding the Results

Although Oral Fluid Drug Testing continues to evolve and is rapidly finding a place in the occupational testing arena, the tests currently have the following limitations:

  • No reliable express method or point of collection testing exists
  • No historical view of the donor’s drug use (due to the limited 12-24 hour detection window)

SureHire has the expertise to recommend how Oral Fluid Drug Testing will best fit within your drug and alcohol testing program. Contact us here.

Cut-off Levels

Analyte Cut-off ng/mL Tecan ELISA Cut-off ng/mL LC/MS/MS
Amphetamine 50 50
Methamphetamine 50 50
MDA n/a 50
MDMA n/a 50
MDEA n/a 50
Cocaine Metabolite 20 8
Cocaine Parent n/a 8
Opiates 40 See the Following Opiates
6AM n/a 4
Morphine n/a 40
Codeine n/a 40
Hydrocodone n/a 40
Hydromorphone n/a 40
Oxycodone 10 40
Phencyclidine (PCP) 10 4
Marijuana Metabolite 4 or 10 2 or 10
Marijuana Parent n/a 2 or 10
Barbiturates 50 50
Benzodiazepines 10 10
Methadone 50 20

Oral Fluid Drug Testing continues to grow in popularity and acceptance because:

  • It is easily collected, minimally invasive, and can be conducted anywhere;
  • It is nearly impossible to adulterate; and
  • It provides a shorter drug detection timeline, which may indicate the donor used within the last 12-24 hours.

The implementation of Lab Based Oral Fluid Drug Testing could eliminate the common argument encountered with urine testing and THC – that the drug could have been ingested on the individual’s own time. If an Oral Fluid Drug Test comes back positive from the lab, employers have a strong indicator that the donor recently ingested the drug and was impaired on the job.

Legal Implications

All employees have the right to a safe work environment. This right is protected by Federal and Provincial Occupational Health and Safety legislation, which requires employers to take all reasonable precautions to prevent injuries or accidents in the workplace. Illegal drug use and abuse of prescription drugs puts your entire job site at risk, and drug testing can be a helpful tool in ensuring all workers are free from inhibiting substances that might prevent them from being alert to potential hazards.

For more information on employer responsibilities and the legal implications of failing to provide a safe work environment, please contact the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).


Booking an Oral Fluid Drug test is simple. Get in touch with us:

Our Contact Centre Agents can assist you with finding the most convenient location within our extensive Canada-Wide network of faciltiies. 


Express Based results are available by the end of the business day, whereas Lab Based results can take up to 2-5 business days. All results are posted in SureLink, SureHire's online results portal where a notification will be sent out to the appropriate individual(s) when the result is ready. 

Illegal drug use and abuse of prescription drugs puts you and your entire job site at risk. It is important for all workers to be alert and free from inhibiting substances so that your entire team can work and return home safe.

What to Expect

  • Bring your government-issued photo ID (driver’s licence, passport, military ID, etc.)
  • Abstain from using illegal drugs
  • If you are taking a prescription medication, know the name of the medication you are taking. You may also bring a list of medications that you may be taking to note on your paperwork
  • Refrain from using gum or tobacco on the day of the test
  • You will be required to provide a sample of your saliva into an oral fluid collection device

Once you have provided a sample, the tester will ensure it meets our collection criteria. If the sample is acceptable, one of two things may happen:

  1. If you are booked in for an express test, the tester will wait for the appropriate amount of time specific to the collection device and then read the device to determine if drugs are present in your sample
  2. If you are booked for a lab-based test, the tester will fill out a Chain of Custody, securely package the sample, and forward it to the laboratory. Lab results typically take 2-5 business days

Know Your Rights

If your lab-based drug screen is positive, or if your express drug screen is confirmed positive at the lab, you will be contacted by a Medical Review Officer (MRO) with the information you provided on your intake form. Ensure that this information is correct. It is the responsibility of the MRO to determine whether the positive drug screen was due to legitimate prescription drug use or if it is due to illegal drug use or prescription drug misuse.

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