Drug Testing BLOG

How Does a Saliva Drug Test Work?

If you're using an oral drug test kit, make sure it includes an indicator. Saliva screening tests can detect substances as fast as a urine drug screen; these tests contain built-in panels that react to drug metabolites in saliva specimens.

When you opt for a saliva collection device with a color indicator, the indicator color change will notify the donor that enough saliva has been collected to run the test without error. Many oral fluid devices lack this special feature, so it is important to choose an oral fluid drug test kit that can make sure there is a smaller risk of false results due to insufficient specimen collection.

Compared to other drug testing methods, oral fluid testing is an easiest method to the administer; no bathroom is required to collect a specimen, and little training is required to increase accuracy.

What drugs can a Oral fluid test detect?

An oral drug test kit can detect up to 14 different drugs. A 6-panel saliva drug screen kit is the most commonly used type of oral fluid device, but most suppliers offer diverse configuration options:

  • Alcohol (ALC)
  • Amphetamines (AMP)
  • Barbiturates (BAR)
  • Benzodiazepines (BZO)
  • Buprenorphine (BUP)
  • Cocaine (COC)
  • Fentanyl (FEN)
  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Methadone (MTD)
  • Methamphetamines (mAMP)
  • Opiates (OPI)
  • Oxycodone (OXY)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Synthetic Marijuana (K2/Spice)

How is Saliva testing Performed?

  1. A third-party administrator will provide the donor with the swab component of the drug test, which resembles a sponge or a lollipop.

  2. The donor will be instructed to rub the swab against their cheeks or under their tongue until a sufficient saliva specimen is collected. This process usually takes approximately 2 minutes.

  3. The donor will return the saturated swab to the collector. The collector will insert the swab into the collection container to run the test panels.

  4. Wait 10 minutes. The saliva will saturate the panels to reveal the colored lines, indicating positive or negative drug test results (see below for further interpretation of results).

How to Read a Saliva Drug Test

Oral fluid test results are easy to interpret. Negative and positive results are displayed on each drug panel with colored lines:

Negative saliva drug test

negative saliva test result

Positive saliva drug test

positive saliva test result

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Produce Saliva Fast?

Some oral fluid devices are flavored to encourage saliva flow without impeding results. SalivaConfirm oral fluid test kits are equipped with a minty tip for donors who cannot produce saliva quickly. This feature expedites the turnaround time of the test itself, which may be helpful during random, on-the-spot, and post-accident drug testing.

How Far Back Does a Oral fluid drug test Go?

Within minutes, an oral drug test kit can determine if someone has used drug(s) in the past 3-24 hours. Saliva specimens offer the shortest detection window, which is ideal for reasonable suspicion testing.

Are Saliva Drug Tests Accurate?

Oral fluid tests are very dependable point-of-care tests (POCT). Staffing and recruiting professionals prefer to issue oral drug test kits for candidate screening. Occupational safety managers who demand full-time sobriety can also benefit from using saliva drug tests.

However, if you do require assistance, TestCountry offers training guides and whitepapers to show you how to operate your saliva drug tests. Plus, our customer service team is always here to help.

How to pass a Oral fluid drug test?

It’s virtually impossible to adulterate an oral fluid test kit because an unbiased collector must be present at all times during the collection procedure.

Even forums that advocate for artificial saliva use do not understand the accuracy and integrity of saliva drug tests. Cheating methods that will not work include:

  • Raking the tongue with a toothbrush
  • Hydrogen peroxide mouthwash
  • Minty toothpaste or sucking on breath mints
  • Drinking water

How long does THC stay in your saliva?

Marijuana metabolites, i.e. THC, can be detected in saliva samples for up to 24 hours, although the average detection window is 6-12 hours post-use.

As to whether CBD will show up on a drug test: the answer is no. CBD is not metabolized by the body the same way as THC, and so saliva drug tests are not calibrated to detect cannabinoid oil.

Where can I buy a saliva drug test kit?

Oral fluid testing kits are available at TestCountry in a number of popular brands. We offer many configurations and even supply drug tests with FDA and DOT certifications for compliance officers. Explore our collection to find the right oral fluid test kit for you.

Benefits of Saliva drug testing over Urine drug testing

Saliva drug tests are the right solution if trying to screen for recent substance use, since saliva samples contain a higher percentage of the parent drug, compared to urine that measures only the by-product metabolites. Depending on the type of drug(s) used and drug cutoff levels, drug detection times for saliva drug test kits are shorter (between 6 hours and 3 days) compared to urine drug tests or hair follicle drug tests.

Oral drug test kits are very donor and administrator friendly. Oral fluid drug testing is non-invasive and allows for easy, supervised specimen collection. There is no need for the privacy of a bathroom, so it is virtually impossible to cheat a saliva drug test. Urine drug testing requires a bathroom for private specimen collection, and allows the individual the opportunity to tamper with the test.

Oral fluid testing is a great tool for employers to use at a workplace in order to facilitate a systematic drug check up ranging from pre-employment to post accident.

Sources:

“Drug Testing FAQ's - Tests, Detection Times, and False Positives.” Drugs.com, Drugs.com, https://www.drugs.com/article/drug-testing.html

“Employer Drug Testing Oral Fluids FAQs.” Omega Laboratories, www.omegalabs.net/oral-fluid-testing/oral-fluid-testing-faqs/hair-testing-faq.cmsx

“Comparison of Urine and Oral Fluid for Workplace Drug Testing.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 16 Aug. 2016, https://academic.oup.com/jat/article/40/7/479/2364062