Pros and Cons of Saliva Drug Testing

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One of the most efficient ways of testing for the presence of drugs in the body is using saliva samples. This method can be used to detect drugs that were consumed up to 24 to 48 hours earlier, but some of them stay in the system of the user for a longer time.

Oral fluid drug test is based on the concept that saliva comprises white blood cells and therefore it contains trace elements found in the blood.

How is Saliva Drug Testing Done?

This test is also known as the mouth swab test, because the sample of saliva is collected from the mouth of the person using a cotton swab.

The ideal area for sample collection is between the cheek and the lower gum. The swab is usually placed in this area for approximately two minutes to allow for maximum absorption of saliva.

Pros of Saliva Drug Testing

Less invasive

This procedure is not invasive since it only involves the putting of a swab between the cheeks and the lower gum. This makes it painless and easier tolerated by the tested people.

Effective for current/recent intoxications

Accidents that involve dangerous drugs may be unprecedented in most places of work. However when they occur, post accident testing should be done for all the individuals present during the accident.

In such situations, saliva drug testing is the most suitable because the toxic elements can be detected from the saliva within a short period after intoxication. This makes it more useful than other alternative tests such as the urine test.

The test is location independent

Saliva drug tests can be done in any location and not necessarily in a laboratory. This makes it convenient for use in places such as workplaces and federal offices.

Does not require the expertise of a professional

Ideally, most drug tests are performed by a nurse or a lab technician. However, saliva drug test can be done by anyone with the right test kit and clear instructions.

The results are prompt

Most saliva drug test kits provide results in approximately 5 to 10 minutes after sample collection.

Relatively cheap

The kits for saliva drug test are relatively cheap. Besides, the cost of operation is not expensive either. This makes this test pocket friendly for most circumstances.

However, like all test procedures, saliva drug testing also has its cons.

Cons of Saliva Drug Testing

Smaller window of drug detection

This test is reliable only in detecting recently used drugs within 24 to 48 hours. This means, a long-term drug user who may have stopped using drugs a few days before testing will  test negative.

It is possible to mask the traces of certain drugs in saliva

Certain foods, beverages and cigarettes can mask the traces of some drugs in the mouth preventing their detection. Anyone can pass the saliva drug test just by using detox mouthwash 30 minutes before test.

The choice of drug testing method always depends on the goals and circumstances. For faster and convenient screening at any location, saliva drug test is always the best option.

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About the Author: Clare Louise