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Drug and alcohol use in the workplace has the ability to affect how safely an individual can carry out their job role. All illicit drugs, in addition to prescription medication, may have an impact on the safety of the user and their colleagues while at work. In certain occupations, such as transport, logistics and mining, it is incredibly dangerous to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Many high-risk occupations have a zero-tolerance policy to these substances. Additionally, it is likely that a workplace drug and alcohol policy includes testing both prior to employment and periodically throughout as required.

At KINNECT, we offer drug and alcohol services that include either instant or laboratory screening. There are notable differences and benefits of both methods of testing which we will discuss in this article.

Instant Drug and Alcohol Screen

The main benefit of an instant drug and alcohol screen is obvious; the results are instant. In preparation for an instant drug and alcohol screen, all patients are required to provide photo identification to ensure testing is conducted on the correct person. Once photo identification has been sighted, the instant testing cup will be labelled with the patient’s full name, DOB and date of test. This ensures the cup returned to the tester post urine collection is the original.

The tester is then to accompany the patient to the toilet vicinity for supervised collection. The tester will remain within earshot of the patient however is not required to accompany them in the cubicle unless specified otherwise. The patient will be required to empty their pockets and leave any other items (including coats, handbags and hats) outside the collection area.

Once a sample has been provided, the instant testing cup will be activated, and results read by the tester. The results are interpreted by the presence of a line in each drug class column on the cup. The presence of a line indicates a negative result for that drug class regardless of how pale the line is. In the case that all lines are present, and the drug test is negative, the patient is advised of the result and free to leave. Results will then be sent to the requesting authority via email within 3 business hours.

If a line does not appear in one or more drug class, then the screening is a non-negative result and requires further testing. The urine specimen will then be poured from the instant testing cup into a laboratory cup to be transferred to a lab by a courier upon approval by the requesting authority. Non-negative results are presumptive until confirmed by the laboratory due to the high probability of a false-positive result. The confirmatory test is known as a GCMS or a Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry procedure. However, variations of this test now also include LCMS or Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry. The type of confirmatory testing conducted will depend on what equipment is available at the selected laboratory. This procedure enables the separation of the components in the urine which are analysed by the mass spectrometer. Ultimately, GCMS/LCMS testing records the result in quantitative terms to identify the specific drug based on relative metabolite concentrations. In short, this testing can confirm whether the non-negative result is positive for an illegal or prescriptive/over the counter drug. Please allow 48-72 business hours for the GCMS/LCMS report.

Lab Drug and Alcohol Screen

The lab drug and alcohol screen follows the same process as an instant drug and alcohol screen except the urine sample is not tested in house and instead sent to the lab for testing using technology. This type of testing eliminates human error as everything is processed using laboratory machines. Any non-negative results identified by the lab equipment will be flagged for GCMS/LCMS testing. This process is not instant and can take up to 48-72 business hours to be returned to the requesting authority.

Regardless of whether you choose an instant or lab drug and alcohol screen, you can expect to receive accurate results that are legally defensible. However, if you would like to take the potential for human error out of the equation, a laboratory drug and alcohol screen guarantees this.

How can KINNECT assist?

KINNECT offer onsite and in clinic instant or laboratory drug and alcohol testing that we believe is an essential component of your organisation’s health and safety compliance. Our services include random testing, blanket testing (entire workforce), suspicion testing and testing post incident or accident. Our drug and alcohol testers are available upon request to attend your workplace immediately following an incident or accident to perform timely and reliable testing.

KINNECT’s drug and alcohol screening is conducted across Australia and includes a urine or saliva drug test and a breath alcohol test. Additionally, we also provide an on-call service that is available 24/7. Being a NATA accredited drug testing provider means that all our testing meets the relevant Australian standards and that the results we provide you are legally defensible. We are also one of the few occupational health providers that can test for the use of synthetic cannabis. Our drug and alcohol testing services are conducted by accredited testers who hold experience in performing and managing occupational drug and alcohol testing programs.


  1. KINNECT (2018). Drug screen and breath alcohol testing protocol. Collection, packaging and transport of urine and oral fluid specimens. Breath alcohol testing.
  2. Rouen, D., Dolan, K. & Kimber, J. (2001). A review of drug detection testing and an examination of urine, hair, saliva and sweat. Technical Report No. 120, National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. University of New South Wales, Sydney.
  3. Safe Work Australia (2019). Drugs and alcohol:

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