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We have recently received queries from clients regarding the change in cut-off levels for saliva drug testing Australian Standard AS/NZS 4760:2019. Currently, the industry is in a transition period while laboratory companies manufacture test kits that comply with the standard. As of February 2020, we have not received test kits that comply with AS/NZS 4760:2019. In the interim, the industry is adhering to AS/NZS 4760:2006.

What are the changes?

Changes to the Australian Standards was updated on the 11th of March 2019. The changes include new cut-off levels for THC, the addition of oxycodone as a mandatory test and changes to the chain of custody (CoC) forms.

Changes to cut-off levels for THC (Marijuana/Cannabis)

AS/NZS 4760:2006 has the cut-off level for THC (marijuana/cannabis) as 25ng/mL. Meaning that anything over this level is considered a non-negative result for THC. The new cut-off level for AS/NZS 4760:2006 is considerably lower at 15ng/mL. In the instance of a non-negative result for THC, the sample is sent to a laboratory for confirmatory testing. This confirmatory testing had a cut off of 10ng/mL, which has also been lowered to 5ng/mL as per the new standards.

Testing for Oxycodone

Previously, testing for oxycodone was not required in a saliva drug test. Under AS/NZS 4760:2019, all samples must now be tested to oxycodone. Oxycodone is a strong pain relief drug that is available through prescription only. Sold under the brand OxyContin among others, it is an opioid medication. The new standards have a cut off level of 40ng/mL for oxycodone.

Chain of Custody (CoC) Form Changes

When the new drug test kits become available, changes will also need to be made to existing CoC forms. The main changes include the requirement of additional consents from the donor pertaining to privacy and dispute resolution. The new CoC forms will address the reason for drug testing and recording the information on the transport device. Additionally, it will also be considered a ‘fatal error’ if there is any missing or incorrect information on the CoC form. Fatal errors cannot be rectified and include the incorrect name or ID, wrongly labelled specimens and an incomplete form among others. A fatal error on a CoC form means that the specimen cannot be relied upon in a Court of Law.


  1. Standards Australia Limited 2019, Procedure for specimen collection and the detection and quantification of drugs in oral fluid, AS/NZS 4760:2019.

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