Drug tests that check for opiates are actually checking for a selection of compounds that includes heroin, morphine and codeine.
Codeine and Morphine are drugs that are often used legally in a medical context. Codeine can be used as a cough suppressant and analgesic. Morphine is mainly used for pain management in advanced cases of cancer. In large doses, morphine can cause the development of tolerances and physiological dependency, often leading to drug abuse. Heroin is primarily seen a drug of abuse which is snorted, smoked or injected.
Opiate and heroin are turned into morphine rapidly and are detectable in saliva as morphine and the glucuronidated metabolite. Excretion takes place for about 48 hours. The presence of morphine and its metabolites in saliva may be the result of heroin, morphine, codeine, or poppy seed intake.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has recommended a cut off concentration of 40ng/ml for immunoassay screening for Opiates in saliva. An Opiates Drug Test will give a positive result if morphine is present at or above this concentration in human saliva.
For how long can heroin and other opiates be detected by a saliva drug test?
Opiates can be detected by a saliva drug test over a period of 24 to 48 hours after the last use. This time may vary according to each person’s metabolism, as well as the quantity and quality of the drug that was consumed.
The detection times of drugs in urine are significantly greater than detection times in blood or saliva which is why a urine drug test is often the preferred method of opiate detection. Urine drug tests for opiates are available as single drug tests or as multi-panel drug test kits that will detect opiates as well as other drugs.