What Is Saliva Drug Testing?

What Is Saliva Drug Testing?

What Is A Saliva Drug Test Used For?

Saliva drug testing is proving to be a very efficient and non-intrusive way for people to be tested for recent drug abuse. Saliva testing takes a small amount of oral fluid from someone’s mouth and tests for use of illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, cannabis or amphetamines.  It’s a very fast process that will not inconvenience the person being tested.  The upside to this method of screening is that it’s almost impossible to use someone else’s saliva for the test, which means that the test is very difficult to cheat.

What Is Saliva Drug Testing?

Saliva is a liquid that is produced by glands that are located in the mouth.  Each day, an adult produces more than one thousand millilitres of saliva. Also, saliva provides a great way of testing for recent drug usage.

In order to test for drugs, a swab (which looks very much like a toothbrush that has a pad on the end) is used to collect saliva.  This is done by placing the swab between the gum and lower cheek for approximately 2-3 minutes.  The pad is then relocated to a vial for testing.

Saliva drug testing is the best method of finding out whether someone has recently used drugs.

Saliva Drug Testing – Positives:

A saliva drug test is not invasive in any way. It’s easy to perform and can be done very quickly.  It is also very inexpensive to perform and extremely difficult to manipulate using someone else’s saliva.  The test results are returned very quickly and are very accurate – there is no need for the sample to be sent off to a lab. Most saliva drug tests will screen for several different drugs at the same time.  A multi-panel test saliva drug test will typically screen for a minimum of four different drugs, a more comprehensive test will check for seven different drugs. The largest saliva drug test will check for thirteen different drugs.

Saliva Drug Testing – Negatives:

Most drugs will not be detected in saliva beyond 48 hours, so a saliva drug test can only detect recent drug abuse. Also, a saliva drug test will not pick up on long-term drug abuse – in those cases, a hair drug test may be more useful as this type of test can detect drug usage for up to 90 days.

In A Nutshell:

Saliva drug testing is quick, painless and extremely reliable.  The person being tested cannot contaminate the test nor substitute the saliva with someone else’s.  Unlike urine samples for testing, this makes the test very difficult to cheat.  On top of that, the person being tested is monitored by the person collecting the saliva constantly.

This is an excellent way for employers to test employees believed to be under the influence of drugs at present, but cannot detect long term abuse or the employees history of drugs.  If an employer believes one of their employees is using drugs, presently, this is a great way to test and find out.

Photo by Anthony Cunningham for Zoom Testing

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

This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated since.

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