Oral Fluids (Saliva) Drug Tests are on the Increase
Many employers, third party providers, and other drug testing agencies are choosing oral fluids (saliva) testing instead of urine testing more and more often. This is because it provides similar levels of accuracy with greater ease of use and convenience, and additional potential information about the person’s drug use if they test positive.
- Oral fluid testing can detect drug use sooner than a urine test.
- Test results can be determined more quickly.
- Saliva testing can determine impairment. Urine tests cannot. They can only determine whether the metabolite for a drug is present in the person’s urine.
- Saliva tests are extremely convenient to administer with less potential mess and greater portability and ease of use.
- Saliva tests are more difficult to cheat.
Post-Accident or Suspected Impairment Testing
Oral fluid (saliva) testing can detect drug or alcohol use within the last 24-48 hours, so it is ideal in emergency situations that require immediate detection — such as accidents with vehicles and equipment drivers. It can detect use within an hour or less, where urine tests can take up to 4 hours to detect the presence of drugs in the person’s system.
Saliva testing can also help estimate and determine levels of impairment. Urine testing cannot. Saliva tests measure the presence of the drug’s psychoactive ingredient, called the parent compound. If the parent compound is detected in the saliva, it is also present in that person’s bloodstream. Higher levels of the parent compound in saliva corresponds to higher levels in the body, which can be a way to measure and estimate impairment. A urine test doesn’t measure the parent compound. Instead it measures the by-product compounds known as “metabolites.” Metabolites are either present or not, and don’t correspond reliably with a determination of impairment.
Better Test Integrity and Better Collection Process
Saliva or oral fluids testing is much harder to cheat, beat or falsify. Because of the privacy usually associated with giving a urine sample, that creates a chance for those who are inclined to cheat. Oral fluids drug tests don’t require privacy and are fully supervised, so it makes it practically impossible to tamper with the test.
The fact that no bathrooms or private stalls are required also makes the test much more convenient to administer. Samples can be collected almost immediately and nearly anywhere. No need for third-party labs, additional scheduling, or special facilities. The sensitive and uncomfortable issues around gender, observation, and privacy that go with urine collection are simply not an issue. The results are as accurate as a blood test, but without clinics, pain or needles. And because oral fluids are not considered a bio-hazard, disposal after the test is simpler too.
Oral Fluid Drug Testing Procedure
The testing device is a sterile, absorbent pad attached to the end of an applicator handle, much like a toothbrush handle. The pad is placed inside the lower part of person’s mouth, between their teeth and gums on one side. The person holds it in their mouth for 2 to 5 minutes until it is saturated with saliva. In some cases the pad is tested immediately on-site. In others, it can be documented, packaged, sealed and sent to the lab for testing. If an initial test shows positive, a secondary confirming test by a different procedure is done to make sure the first result was accurate.
Contact ARCpoint Labs of for Your Own Independent Test. If you know you are likely to be tested soon and are concerned that you may have an unwanted positive drug test, the best way to know for sure without risk is to choose to undergo your own test first. The results are accurate and totally confidential, but they will give you the information you need to make decisions about the timing of job applications or other proactive strategies.