While blood and urine testing for drugs can be reliable, any usage on the same day of the test may not be accurately reflected in the results. When it’s necessary to know whether an individual has recently taken any drugs they shouldn’t be taking, as may be the case with patients in addiction programs or for situations where it’s suspected that someone is impaired or under the influence of a substance, oral drug testing can provide results that show any recent use.
What is Oral Drug Testing?
Also known as oral fluid testing, oral drug testing is drug testing process that involves the collection of fluid in the form saliva from the mouth. Samples may be checked at the time of collection to make sure they are pure and undiluted. The sample is often collected with an oral swab, although passive drool from spitting or drooling is sometimes used with a special collection kit.
Which Drugs Can Be Detected?
Most oral drug tests screen for common substances often checked for during a standard drug test. In addition to marijuana, cocaine, barbiturates, PCP, and methamphetamine, oral tests can usually detect any opiate drugs that are in the system, including both over-the-counter and prescription painkillers or narcotics.
What Time Period is Covered?
The detection window with oral testing can extend up to 48 hours after use with some drugs. With oral testing, drug use can also be detected within the first few hours after use. In some instances, a positive result may be seen immediately after use, depending on the specific substance that was taken and the amount consumed orally.
Are Positive Results Confirmed?
Any type of testing, even oral drug testing, has the potential to produce a false positive. In some cases, such positive results may be due to over-the-counter medications taken for legitimate medical reasons. This is why patients are encouraged to mention an OTC drugs they may be taking at the time of collection, including herbal supplements and vitamins. LC/MS/MS (liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and mass spectrometry) is a screening process that can be done to confirm positive results to further ensure testing accuracy.
What Are the Potential Benefits?
Oral drug testing can be done just about anywhere. Since all that’s needed is a saliva sample, collection is also easy. There are no needles involved, and there are no potential issues with privacy if supervision is required during collection, as may happen with urine testing when same-gender observation is necessary. Additional benefits of oral testing include:
- Accurate results after recent drug use
- Better insights into drug levels
- Improved integrity with results
- Very little risk of results being altered or falsified
Results from oral drug testing, which are just as accurate as results from blood and urine testing, can be produced fairly quickly and delivered in reports conveniently available online. Oral drug testing is a convenient and safe testing method that can provide fast, accurate answers.