This is the main question that employers are faced with when deciding to drug test their employees. We can’t decide for you, because that will depend on many things: What the aims and objectives of testing employees are? Where the testing is going to take place? Is ease of use more important than the accuracy of the tests?

There are many more considerations, but to help make things easier I have listed to positives and negatives of both types of testing which may help in that decision making process.

Urine testing


  • Easy to use
  • Test check to make sure sample is at body temperature (hard to adulterate by using other fluids to fool test)
  • Able to use adulteration test strip to test for specific gravity (human urine)
  • Easy to read results
  • Quick, allowing person being tested to return to work straight away if test is negative.
  • If non-negative, the sample can then be decanted into a chain of custody kit and sent for laboratory analysis.– no further collection required.
  • Relatively inexpensive for use as a presumptive test
  • Tests for up to 10 main drugs including Tramadol and Ketamine
  • Long detection times (much longer than with Saliva)


  • Possible embarrassment factor associated with urine collection
  • Can be adulterated if not supervised, but far more difficult than with other testing methods, because the test will only begin if the sample is of body temperature

Oral Swab Tests (Saliva)


  • Easy to use
  • Can be used to test young people where there may be issues with safeguarding
  • Easy to read results, providing the donor is not trying to fool the test
  • Quick, allowing person being tested to return to work straight away if test is negative
  • Relatively inexpensive for use as a presumptive test
  • Tests for most of the main drug groups


  • Person to be tested cannot eat/drink/smoke for at least 15 minutes prior to testing, so will need to be held in a supervised environment for that length of time.
  • Easier for test to be adulterated than with urine.
  • More false positives than with other more accurate forms of testing.
  • Drug detection times up to 72 hours but accurately no more than 6 to 8 hours. Meaning that the person may still be impaired under the influence.
  • Mouth can tend to dry up during the 3-5 minute testing procedure. Lack of enough saliva could mean that the sample could give a false reading or no reading at all (employees who do not want to provide a sample, can simply pass the device around the mouth, making it impossible to read the results)
  • Time & supervision required for this type of testing could be an issue.

It has to be remembered that first line screening devices simply give an indication that a drug or drugs may be present in the sample. In this instance samples should always be sent off for laboratory (chain of custody) testing to determine whether the sample is negative or positive.

If you want to find out more about how we can train you to run your own testing procedures, contact us on:
01328 853412.