HHS Publishes Standards for Oral Fluid Drug Testing

Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) published guidelines for oral fluid drug testing in federal workplace drug testing programs in the Federal Register. The Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs Using Oral Fluid (OFMG) will now permit federal executive branch agencies to collect and test oral fluid specimens for employment-related drug testing. Until now, the federal government only allowed urinalysis for drug-testing purposes. The guidelines will take effect on January 1, 2020.

More importantly for employers, the Department of Transportation (DOT) may adopt the new guidelines, permitting the use of oral fluids testing as an adjunct to urinalysis. The results of such a move would be mostly positive for employers, as oral fluids tests are far more convenient and cost-effective. All employers stand to benefit from the new procedures, as HHS-certified collection centers and laboratories tend to default to DOT testing procedures for all drug testing.

Employers Council will continue to monitor this topic for new developments.