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Drug testing has become mandatory in various workplaces and also in the field of sports. It can be performed in a number of ways. Drugs can be tested with saliva, blood, urine or hair samples. Nowadays, saliva drug testing is being widely used. It owes its popularity to the simplicity, comfortable usage, and its ability to give fast, yet reliable results.

Important Saliva Drug Test Facts
  • Saliva has the capability to retain trace amounts of drugs and their ensuing metabolites for a period of 24-36 hours. This forms the basis of fluid drug test. It is also known as oral fluid drug test.
  • The saliva drug test kits come in many forms and shapes. The general way of using such a kit is to place it in the mouth of the individual being tested. The kit draws the saliva through a membrane. The membrane allows saliva to wet the strips containing media of antigen dyes. The antigen dyes act as an indicator. Formation of color on the strip suggests a positive result. There is a particular color for each drug in question.
  • This test can detect the following drugs. The detection time for each drug is given against them:
    • Alcohol - from time of intake to 12 hours.
    • PCP - from a few minutes after ingestion to the next 3 days.
    • Methamphetamine and ecstasy - half an hour from ingestion up to 3 days.
    • Amphetamines - a few minutes to 3 days of consumption.
    • Barbiturates - less than an hour after ingestion up to 3 days.
    • Opiates - from an hour after intake to 3 days.
    • Cocaine - a few minutes after ingestion up to one day.
    • Benzodiazepines - not yet known
    • Cannabis - a few minutes after ingestion up to one day.
Advantages
  • The cost of this drug test is cheaper than the drug tests based on hair or blood. Generally, its cost lies anywhere between $15-$75.
  • This test gives results within a time frame of 5-15 minutes, which allows for faster interpretation.
  • It is a donor-friendly and easy-to-collect method of drug testing. It is non-intrusive as well.
  • The donor has no chance to adulterate his/her saliva as the sample is collected under direct supervision.
  • This test can detect eight different drugs, with five-six types of drugs at a time. This makes this drug testing method the most effective indicator of adulteration.
  • Experts consider mouth swab drug testing method as the best way to detect the recent use of any prohibited drugs.
  • It can be performed at any location. It does not require a clinical technician to conduct and read the result.
  • Because of the convenience and ability to give fast results, saliva or fluid drug test is widely used by the employers for pre-employment drug testing.
Disadvantages
  • Saliva drug testing method is not approved by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) for use in DOT or Federal Mandated Drug Testing.
  • Saliva, being an oral fluid, is not counted as a biological hazard as long as it does not show the presence of blood in it. Care needs to be taken while handling it, as it might contain pathogenic micro-organisms.
  • The biggest disadvantage of this drug testing is its short drug detection time limitation. Most drugs do not remain present in saliva and disappear after 12-24 hours of consumption. This limits its usage in drug detection to situations where recent drug ingestion needs to be determined such as in the case of vehicle drivers, employees at work, etc.
  • The above reason also makes it difficult to determine past or long-term drug use, as anyone can pass the fluid drug test by not taking the drug for the recent 2-3 days.
  • This drug testing is reliable for the detection of Methamphetamine and Opiates, but comparatively less sensitive to THC and Cannabinoids.
  • It is comparatively more expensive than urine test.
  • Some medicines such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil can give false positive drug tests.
  • Saliva drug test is quite inferior in comparison with hair drug test. The latter not only gives historical information with the types of drugs being taken, but a somewhat accurate data about the quantity and frequency of the drug usage as well.
  • Saliva or fluid drug test cannot beat the efficiency of hair drug testing. When the hair follicles receive the drug metabolites dissolved in blood, they tend to trap them within. This is the most reliable source of information about drug addiction.
  • Mouth swab drug testing does not follow any nationally accepted standards or cut-off concentration for detection. Therefore, the results mainly depend on a particular product purchased. Hence, the result is less reliable and most of the time not accepted in legal proceedings.
  • One can easily pass this drug test by following some simple methods. It is believed that eating certain foodstuffs can alter the production of saliva. Detox drinks are believed to be very effective in masking the presence of drugs in the saliva. Smoking can also mask the metabolites needed for drug determination.
Though you may alter the results by using few methods which are helpful in passing the fluid drug test, the best you can do to avoid the positive result is to avoid taking drugs.