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The Permitted Limits

The Permitted Limits and Test Result procedures

Both DAMP testing and CASA random testing may test for alcohol as well as drug groups that contain cocaine, cannabis, opioids and amphetamines.
The limits for alcohol and testable drugs will be as follows:

  • for alcohol - a breath alcohol concentration (BAC) of below 0.02%.
  • for cocaine, cannabis, opioids and amphetamines - below the relevant confirmatory target concentrations set out in Australian/NZ Standard 4308:2008 for urine testing, or Australian/NZ Standard 4760: 2006 for oral fluid testing. This is to be confirmed by an accredited laboratory and verified by an appropriately qualified medical practitioner or medical review officer (MRO).

Some over the counter and prescription medications may test positive as a result of the substances that they contain. Please see Over the counter and prescription medications for more information.

Initial testing

Initial tests for alcohol and other drugs will use point of collection technology (POCT), and will indicate either a negative or a positive result for either alcohol or a testable drug (if the sample exceeds the specified cut-off).
If the initial result is negative the individual is able to continue to perform or being available to perform safety sensitive aviation activities (SSAA). After an initial positive alcohol or other drug test the donor must immediately cease undertaking safety sensitive aviation activities (SSAA) and a second evidentiary/confirmatory test must be conducted.  The DAMP organisation may also be informed, enabling the safe removal of the donor.
Please see onsite screening tests for more information.

Confirmatory testing - Alcohol

For individuals that are required to undertake a confirmatory alcohol test the process that is recommended by the breathalyser manufacturer must be taken. If the confirmatory alcohol test is positive your DAMPs Response program will need to be actioned.
Please see Response Program for confirmatory result information and returning to SSAA.

Confirmatory Testing - Drugs

For individuals who receive an initial positive drug test, samples are required to be sent to a NATA accredited laboratory in accordance with the Australian Standard and using strict chain of custody procedures.
The medical review officer (MRO) plays a central role in ensuring the integrity and probity of the testing process and chain-of-custody of any initial positives sent to an approved laboratory for confirmation. The MRO is to also uphold the confidentiality of any ensuing results sent from the laboratory
Please see Confirmatory laboratory analysis for more information.

Confirmed result

On receipt of the confirmed laboratory result the Medical Review Officer (CASA or DAMP) will contact the donor as soon as practical and confirm if the result has been reported as positive or negative.
If the result is negative the donor is immediately able to return to their SSAA. If the result is positive the Medical Review Officer (MRO) will investigate the nature of the result and determine if there is a legitimate reason for the positive result (to be reported as negative) or verify it as a confirmed positive.
Please see Response Program for confirmatory result information and returning to SSAA.