Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Drug and alcohol screening
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Drug and alcohol screening

Registrants undergoing random urine drug screening in frequency groups one to four, in accordance with the Drug and alcohol screening protocol, are required to call the UDS telephone number 1800 027 624 every week day after 6:00am at their local time to learn if their group is required to test that day.

If the UDS telephone number is not operational on any particular day, no screens will be required on that day. Registrants identifying that the UDS telephone number is not operational must contact Ahpra immediately to inform their case officer.

Drug and alcohol screening protocol

Independent expert Professor Olaf Drummer from Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine provided a Report - Testing for impairing substances in health care professionals (below) to ensure the approach to biological testing in the National Scheme was evidence based and up-to-date. This report has informed the development of the Ahpra Drug and Alcohol Screening Protocol.

National collection and pathology service

Following recommendations from the expert report from Professor Drummer, Ahpra has engaged a single collection and pathology service that tests at the cut-off limits set by Ahpra rather than those set by the individual laboratories used in each state and territory.

The national pathology service provider, Scientific Diagnostic Services have collection arrangements in each state and territory.

Drug and alcohol misuse expert panel

To help us manage risk and ensure we are using the most up-to-date approaches for testing for drug and alcohol misuse, an expert panel has been established. The panel provides ongoing expert advice on the biological assessment, testing and monitoring of applicants and registrants with drug and/or alcohol misuse, including impairment.

The panel consists of experts in the treatment of drug and alcohol disorders, toxicology and forensic testing of biological samples. It provides advice on the Ahpra drug and alcohol screening protocol, testing methodologies, the schedule of drugs to be tested for, cut-off limits for testing and any necessary additions to the schedule.

Approved breath testing devices

Registrants are responsible for the purchase of an approved breath testing device from the list below. Please use the links to the manufacturers’ websites to purchase the model that best suits your needs.

Manufacturer Model Sampling mode
Lion Laboratories Limited SD400 Analyse mode
SD400 Touch Analyse mode
Draeger Australia Pty Ltd
Loan units not available from Draeger Safety Pacific Pty Ltd
5510 (No longer available for purchase, however still supported by Draeger and suitable for breath testing as part of monitoring and compliance) Automatic measurement
5820 (No longer available for purchase, however still supported by Draeger and suitable for breath testing as part of monitoring and compliance) Active mouthpiece
6000 Automatic measurement with mouthpiece
6820 Automatic measurement
7510 Fixed volume with factory settings
Alcolizer Technology Alcolizer LE5 Active test (mouthpiece) mode
Alcolizer HH3 Mouthpiece testing mode 

Calibration of breath-testing devices

To maintain the accuracy and reliability of the breath testing device, the instrument must be recalibrated by the manufacturer at the interval for the device as specified by the manufacturer.

The registrant is responsible for meeting the cost of instrument calibration. Registrants may contact the relevant manufacturer to discuss whether loan units are available while calibration of their instrument is completed. If the registrant is not able to make alternate arrangements for breath testing whilst their approved device is undergoing calibration, they must not practise.

Breath testing logbook

Board approved breath test supervisors are to use the Ahpra breath testing logbooks to record all tests undertaken and actual hours worked as part of the registrant’s requirements. It is the responsibility of the registrant to ensure the logbook is submitted to Ahpra to confirm compliance.

Page reviewed 19/04/2023