Drug Test Kit - Frequently Asked Questions

bought a drug test kit from overseas - will it work properly?

This all depends on which type of drug you are actually testing for and which format of kit you are using (urine or saliva).

Different Cut-off Levels

Most countries have different cut-off levels. As an example there is currently a number of gaps between the Australian cut-off levels and US cut-off levels for drug screening.

This means that an American format drug test kit may indicate that you are negative, however if you were tested using an Australian cut-off test kit at the same time - the Australian drug test kit may not be negative at all.

In fact this is very possible because drug test kits based on US (SAMHSA/DOT) Standards have higher cut-off levels than the Australian Standard for most drug classes (see the table below).

Irrelevant Drug Classes

There are also some drug classes which are tested for overseas which are not relevant locally. Good examples of irrelevant drug classes (from the perspective of being absent in the Australian Standards) are Phencyclidine (PCP) and Barbiturates which have never been included in the Australian Standards for urine or oral fluid drug testing.

Drug Class  Australian Screening Cut-Off (Urine) American Screening Cut-Off (Urine)
Marijuana 50 ng/mL 50 ng/mL
Cocaine 150 ng/mL 150 ng/mL
Opiates* 300 ng/mL 2000 ng/mL
Phencylidine* Not Applicable 25 ng/mL
Amphetamines* 300 ng/mL 500 ng/mL
Methamphetamines* 300 ng/mL 500 ng/mL
Barbiturates* Not Applicable 300 ng/mL


* Drug Class not relevant in Australia or has lower cutoff level in Australia compared to the US

Example of how this could go horribly wrong

If a person had consumed methamphetamine and presented a urine sample containing 400 ng/mL of this drug it would be considered "negative" using an American cutoff level test kit, however the same sample would most likely be submitted to a laboratory for positive confirmation testing using an Australian compliant drug test kit. It is also important to note that laboratory confirmation testing in Australia has a substantially lower cut-off level for methamphetamine than US DOT (CFR Part 40 Section 40.87) where the confirmatory cut-off level for methamphetamine in Australia is 150 ng/mL (almost half that in the US at 250 ng/mL).

Accordingly, if you are only interested in screening for marijuana and cocaine; an American cut-off level urine drug test kit may be adequate for self testing purposes (provided it has independent validation to AS/NZS 4308 Appendix B as required by AS/NZS 4308:2008). However any other US cut-off drug test kit used to screen for other drug classes or used for workplace testing would most likely provide you with inadequate/ incorrect test results from those required for drug testing in Australia.


Intensity of lines on my drug test kit? - some lines might appear to be lighter than others

The interpretation for most drug test kits based on competitive binding is that the appearance of any line beside the test position (denoted by a "T" or the drug class being tested e.g. "THC") is a negative drug test result. There are some exceptions, where the test kit is not based on competitive binding; instead relying upon "Sandwich assay" where the appearance of a line has the exact opposite interpretation (a line is "non-negative" or should be sent to the laboratory for confirmation drug testing). The vast majority of drug test kits (including all the kits sold on this site) are based on competitive binding for which the appearance of a line beside the test's "T" or "drug class" (regardless of intensity) is a negative test result.

A lighter test line (compared to other lines on a drug screen test) does not mean that the result is a low level.


What is a drug screening test?  

A drug screening test (or "drug screen") is an initial stage of analysis designed to eliminate negative samples, isolating only those samples that will require further confirmation drug testing. Initial drug screening tests are usually designed for fast analysis either on-site or in the laboratory.


What is a "positive" drug test?....and what is a confirmation drug test?

A drug screening test will not determine if a sample is "positive", because all international Standards require confirmation testing (a secondary stage testing) in a properly accredited laboratory using either Gas Chromatography or Liquid Chromatography (high precision expensive laboratory equipment). Only a confirmation test can determine if a sample is actually "positive".

A confirmed "positive" drug test purely means that the confirmation drug test result is at or exceeds the cut-off levels stipulated by the relevant Standard. 


Are your urine drug test kits accredited?

Yes, the urine drug test kits that appear on this site have independent validation to the Australian & New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4308:2008. The only exception to this is the test kit for synthetic cannabis (which is not currently included in AS/NZS 4308:2008).


Are your saliva drug test kits accredited?

The short answer is No, and in fact none are in Australia. It is not currently possible to obtain accreditation to AS 4760 (section 3 "on-site initial testing") due in part to there being "no acceptance criteria for what constitutes acceptable verification of saliva/ oral fluid screening devices as there are for urine screening" (refer to this link from NATA; the assessing body for laboratory/ device accreditation).

Although various oral fluid drug test kits (including some that we supply) have successfully undertaken an independent validation study to meet manufacturer specifications (with some conditions) - it is not currently possible for any oral fluid drug test kit to claim to be accredited to, or "meet" the requirements of Australian Standard 4760. AS 4760 contains a requirement for independent validation, however does not contain the validation performance criteria required for NATA to assess oral fluid devices as stated above, so any claim to be "accredited" is potentially misleading.


How long do positive results show?

There is no easy answer to this question. We have provided plenty of information on the drug detection times page which should help you determine roughly how long you might be "positive" for.


is some sort of training or qualification required to test someone?

Both Australian Standards for drug testing (the urine drug testing Standard AS/NZS 4308 & the saliva drug testing Standard AS 4760) include training requirements for "Collectors".

In both Standards; the training qualification required is a relevant AQTF compliant qualification (or NZ equivalent for AS/NZS 4308). The "AQTF" has since been replaced by the Australian training accreditation body (ASQA) to be referred to as the "VQF" (the "VET Quality Framework" where "VET" stands for "Vocational Education and Training").

This qualification can be accessed anywhere in Australia through the Drug Testing Institute.


oops! tested "positive" for a drug test at work - now what?

What happens next will depend on the drug and alcohol policy/ procedure that applies for you at work. If you dispute the result there should be provisions for you to obtain an assessment of the "referee" sample (there should have been a "split" sample forwarded to the confirmatory laboratory).

Some policies/ procedures have provision for this written into the document or otherwise should state that testing will be compliant with the relevant Australian Standard where the testing is performed in Australia (each of which contain sections for testing "referee samples"). Some policies state that the person requesting testing of "referee samples" must pay for this testing if it is performed and found to be "positive" also, so you should bear in mind that there may be a cost associated with having your referee sample tested.

If you refused to participate in a drug and alcohol test then there would normally also be a section dealing with this within the Company's relevant policy/ procedure.

If you are waiting to return to work and need a negative drug test result to do so, you can obtain self test kits and test yourself in the privacy of your own home prior to being tested by an accredited collection agency/ GP. This way you will at least have an idea of the likely outcome of the drug test beforehand.