Saliva Drug Testing: The Intricacies, Pros and Cons Involved

Drug abuse has become a major menace across cities in the United States. While every employer has the right to have a drug free workplace, state and federal laws offer equal policies when it comes to maintaining the privacy of employers in the workplace. As such, conducting a drug test at random by making minimal investment is always challenging. The saliva drug tests prove to be one of the cheapest, easily administered drug testing procedures that can help authorities in maintaining a drug free workplace. But, what does this process entail?

What Is Saliva Drug Testing?

Saliva drug testing is the type of drug screen where in the saliva is submitted as the biological specimen. It is further analyzed and tested for the presence of illegal drugs like marijuana and cocaine. Such tests also try to identify the presence of drug metabolites too.

How Is Saliva Drug Testing Done?

Usually, a saliva drug screen involves the process of placing a cotton swab in the mouth of the examinee between his cheek and the lower jaw. The dabbed cotton piece absorbs the saliva (a form of plasma) of the person. This saliva sample is analyzed and tested for the presence of drugs and their metabolites.

In another case, the specimen collection is conducted by using a special device where saliva is collected into a tube like vial using a membrane. That stuff is a part of the special saliva drug test kit. Further, this vial is submitted for analysis.

Critical Pointers on Saliva Drug Testing

The detection time frame is the period within which drugs could be detected in the specimen. The time frame for saliva drug tests is pretty little. The drugs metabolites that are present in the body due to the intake of drugs within the preceding 2-3 days can be detected using saliva drug screens.

Alcohol tends to get detected in saliva just for 12 hours since the intake. Amphetamines can be detected for 12 hours and marijuana can be detected for a period of 6-12 hours. Methamphetamines can be detected for around 1-3 days while cocaine,barbiturates, opiates and codeine can be detected for around 3-4 days since the intake. While these are statistical data based on averages, the detection time frames always depend on the intensity of drug abuse, height and weight of the individual, frequency of usage and several other factors.

While the saliva drug screen results are reliable and are easily administered when necessary, six states in the United States do not allow the rapid oral fluid drug screens in the workplace. These states include California, Minnesota, Maine, Kansas, New york and Vermont.

There are no specific standards for the saliva drug tests, therefore the results could be false positive or false negative, when the test is not administered properly. However, a recent study conducted at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City has come to a consensus that that the saliva drug screen is one the most authentic method for the detection of drugs and its metabolites. The universities’ Center for Human Toxicology has also stated that the very recent usage of drug in an individual can be determined by testing the saliva as the biological specimen.

Where To Get Drug Test Done?

The answer to this question entirely depends on one’s need and motivation. If utmost privacy is needed, the place to get a saliva drug test done is at home. For those who would want to get themselves tested at home, there are a few popular home test kits available online. Saliva 6 Drug Test Kit (AMP/mAMP/COC/OPI/THC/PCP) and Alcohol Strip Drug Saliva Test are a couple of popularly used saliva home drug test kits. These can be purchased online and can be used by everybody with no experience. Following the instructions given on the kit itself can help with getting the test properly administered on the fly. The results can be obtained within minutes of the test and they are believed to be reliable.

Laboratories also conduct saliva drug testing based on request from individuals or employers. Customized test panels are available and the results can be obtained within a minimum of few minutes to a maximum of 72 hours. Comfortable, painless and simple specimen collection procedures turn out to be great positives associated with a saliva drug screen .

Pros of Saliva Drug Testing

Saliva drug screens are pretty inexpensive and on an average cost about $15-$75 per test.
Sample collection does not make the testees uncomfortable.

Adulteration is almost impossible. Since the sample collection can be done in public and does not require privacy, adulterating the sample with other substances or substituting the sample is almost impossible.

Interpretation of results takes minimal time. It can range from few minutes to several hours since specimen submission.

Cons of Saliva Drug Testing

The recent use of the drugs can just be detected. Chronic usage can never be detected with this type of drug screen.

Saliva drug test results are not approved by FDA and cannot be used with federally approved drug testing scenarios or DOT. Oral drug testing is not allowed in 6 states in the United States of America.

False positives are pretty common since in some scenarios due to some kind of food, which could cause unexpected results.
Drug metabolites are usually present in very low concentration in saliva. So, the results may turn out to be indeterminate.

When the mouth of the person that is tested is dry, it is challenging to collect adequate amount of the sample.

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