The Australian Defence Force is trialling hair and saliva testing as part of the Prohibited Substance Testing Program, from 1 October to 31 July next year, the new regime will be in addition to the existing urine tests.
The aim of the trial is to enhance the deterrent effect with the advantage of hair and saliva testing is that it increases the detection window for prohibited substance use.
Hair testing, in particular, allows for detection of prohibited substances for up to three months after use.
Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs said the trial would comprise targeted and random testing of members in Australia.
“Members may be tested more than once by more than one method,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
The Prohibited Substance Coordinators in each Service will determine the location and timing of the tests.
Medvet Science Pty Limited has been contracted to implement the trial and will assist the Services in the physical collection and testing of the hair and saliva samples.
Australian Defence Force supervisors from the program will continue to supervise the collection of the samples.
“The trial will provide an ability to decide on the efficacy of hair and saliva testing as additional methods available to the Services for routine use of testing for prohibited substances,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
He said regardless of the outcome of the trial, the ability for the Australian Defence Force to conduct hair and saliva testing will be maintained in legislation, policy and procedures, and will remain a test method available to the Services to use as deemed appropriate.
The Prohibited Substance Testing Program was introduced in 2005 to deter the use of prohibited substances by Defence members to safeguard their safety, discipline, morale and security, and the reputation of the Australian Defence Force as a whole.
Prohibited substance use is not compatible with service in the Australian Defence Force, and members who test positive are subject to administrative action which can include termination of service.
Since 2005, more than 1,100 Defence members have been discharged for prohibited substance use.