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The Advantages of Saliva Drug Testing

The Advantages of Saliva Drug Testing

Why Use Saliva Drug Tests?

Saliva drug testing is becoming more and more popular, especially in workplace drug testing. There are a number of reasons for this:

  • Advantages:
  • Saliva testing looks for the parent drug itself – the active ingredient
  • No gender or privacy  issues
  • Quick
  • Looks for impairment
  • Tests can be carried out anywhere/anytime
  • Cost effective to use

Why Use Saliva Drug Testing Instead or Urine Testing?

The main difference between a saliva drug test and a urine drug test is how they detect drug usage. A saliva drug test looks in a person’s oral fluid for the parent drug itself. Urine drug testing is seeking out the metabolite of the drug.

In easy to understand terms, this means that a saliva test is trying to identify the ‘active ingredient’ of the drug. A urine drug test is trying to locate what is left of the drug after it has been processed in a person’s body.

By looking for the active parent drug, there is a high chance that a positive test indicates that the person is still under the influence of the drug of abuse which they will have used in the previous few hours.

A urine drug test is more often used to determine the history of somebody taking a drug. In most cases, testing on urine means that you are less likely to catch somebody currently under the influence of a drug.  A urine drug test will not help you to identify when a person took a drug, only that they took the drug in the last few days or weeks. All of this depends, of course, on how much of a drug was taken, what kind of drug it was and the physical build of the person who took it.

Is Saliva Drug Testing Cost Effective?

Yes! – the economic cost of drug testing must be considered against the potential cost of not doing it. Saliva drug tests are cheaper now than they have ever been before and, although still more expensive to purchase than urine tests, do offer many advantages. Three good reasons to consider saliva drug testing:

Anyone can do it!
No special training is required to carry out a saliva test. Also there are no gender issues, which can be the case when collecting urine samples.

It can be done anywhere!
There’s no need for special washrooms or segregated toilet facilities, saliva drug testing can be carried out anywhere, inside or out.

Save Time
Shy bladder syndrome is the biggest time waster when it comes to urine drug testing. not being able to urinate whilst being observed is a not uncommon problem. No such problems of this type exist with saliva drug testing, where all that is needed is a two minute swab of the recipients mouth for oral fluid.

Saliva Tests are much cheaper now!
In recent years,  the cost of saliva testing has plummeted. This makes it a great option for any employer.

Saliva Drug Tests can screen for all drugs of abuse
There is a saliva drug test available for every requirement. A simple 3 panel saliva drug test will screen for just cannabis, cocaine and heroin. Whilst a 13 panel saliva drug test will screen for most drugs taken in the UK today.

Can You Cheat Saliva Drug Tests?

No. At present, it is highly unlikely that you can cheat a saliva drug test. Certainly, we are not aware of any types of  adulterant that are commercially available to influence the results of a saliva test.


Photo by Vincent Ghilione on Unsplash

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated since.


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