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What Is a Saliva Drug Test?

What Is a Saliva Drug Test? – Traditionally, the urinalysis has been the most widely used drug testing method, but the saliva drug tests, or mouth swabs, have become increasingly common. There are benefits to doing this type of analysis—it’s cost-effective, easy to administer, and can be performed anywhere. Moreover, law enforcement and employers can immediately check for drug use without having to deal with urine samples.

Saliva Drug Testing FAQ

Which substances can be detected on a saliva drug test?

10-panel saliva drug tests can identify the presence of the following:

  • Amphetamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Opiates—opium and morphine
  • Opioids—oxycodone and methadone
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Methaqualone (quaaludes)
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon)
  • Alcohol

NOTE: Some opiates, such as heroin and codeine, are converted back into morphine in the body, and show up as such on drug tests.

A 12-panel saliva screen can also test for tramadol, fentanyl, and buprenorphine. A 5-panel screen can only identify drugs out of the first five categories on the above list. The more drugs a test can detect, the more expensive it will be.

Saliva tests are excellent to use to identify very recent drug use. However, due to their brief detection windows, they are not able to identify use beyond the last few days. The benefit of using mouth swabs is that drugs can be identified in saliva much sooner than urine.

Saliva Drug Test Detection Windows for Common Drugs
Marijuana: 12-24 hours
Cocaine: 24 hours
Opiates: 2-3 days
Methamphetamine: Up to 2-4 days
Alcohol: 6-12 hours

Who conducts saliva tests?

Businesses are the most likely to administer saliva tests. They may do so before hiring new employees, or to test current workers. Although these tests can be conducted routinely, they may be more commonly performed after an accident occurs or when an employee returns from an extended leave.

That said, saliva drug tests are becoming more common among law enforcement officials because they are less expensive and easier to administer than urine tests. Also, they can often identify potential drug use sooner than urine analysis.

How are saliva drug tests administered?

Performing a saliva test is fast and straightforward. A swab that sometimes resembles a toothbrush or a large Q-tip is placed between the cheek and lower gum for 2-3 minutes. After saliva gets absorbed into it, it will indicate a positive or negative result in minutes.

What Is a Saliva Drug Test?

What makes these tests effective?

The accuracy of a mouth swab drug test depends on several factors, but it should be very reliable if properly administered. Moreover, the sample collection should be done within the detection window, using a swab of good quality. If performed randomly, the person should not be given any time to try to tamper with the results.

If you’re working at a business that often performs random drug screenings, failing one of these tests can result in significant trouble.

Common Saliva Drug Tests

If you are seeking to test employees, investing in one of the following screening kits might be a good idea:

SalivaConfirm™ Premium Saliva 5-Panel Drug Test – This test will detect amphetamines, marijuana, methadone, cocaine, and opiates.

6-Panel Oratect® Saliva Drug Test – This tool will test for marijuana, amphetamines, PCP, cocaine, methamphetamines, and opiates.

SalivaConfirm™ 12-Panel Drug Test + ALC – This screening tool can identify the use of the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Buprenorphine
  • Cocaine
  • Fentanyl
  • Marijuana
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Opiates
  • Oxycodone

Other Types of Drug Tests

As noted, urine tests are commonly used to check for drug use. However, blood and hair follicle tests are also possible methods. Blood tests are not routinely performed in many cases, as they are both expensive and invasive. Employers may in some cases perform hair follicle tests if they are looking for a long-term detection window (e.g., 90 days).

Treatment for Substance Abuse

If you know beforehand that you might be drug tested, the best approach is to stop using drugs immediately. Depending on the severity of your drug abuse, you might want to consider seeking professional treatment. Many companies will allow this and consider it a medical leave.

If you are using while on the job, you are urged to do this as soon as possible. You or someone else could be hurt, or you may be demoted or terminated from your job.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers a wide range of evidence-based services, delivered in both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. Approaches such as psychotherapy and group support can help you identify the underlying reasons why you use, and how you can positively alter your thoughts and behaviors.

If you are afraid you are going to fail a drug screening, or are simply seeking professional help for substance use, contact us today! Let us help you break free from the cycle of addiction and cultivate the healthy and fulfilling life you deserve!

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