Oral Drug Test: What Is It And What Substances Can Be Detected?
14 November, 2023
Different methods of drug testing have become a common practice in various industries and legal settings. Oral drug tests or mouth swab drug tests, in particular, are becoming popular due to their convenience and non-invasive nature. This oral fluid testing detects the presence of illegal drugs in a saliva sample. Accordingly, it can detect various substances, including both illicit and prescription drugs. This can include marijuana, cocaine, opioids, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and even alcohol.
There are various drug testing methods: urine tests, blood tests, and hair tests. However, saliva drug tests are more common as it is easy to administer and have ease of collection techniques. This is useful, especially for roadside drug testing, workplace drug testing, and sports assessment. Hence, before undergoing fluid drug testing, it is important to know the procedure. This article will present saliva tests, what substances they can detect, and their accuracy and reliability.
What is an Oral Drug Test
An oral drug test or saliva drug test is a method to monitor the presence of abused drugs in the system. It is a form of drug testing that is non-invasive to determine if someone has exposure to drugs. This type of test involves collecting oral fluid samples for monitoring of drug use. Consequently, fluid tests are beneficial for recent substance use as it has a detection window of 12 hours.
The oral fluids drug test has drug testing kits that are simple to use. A conductor will provide collection materials, which is typically a swab. The candidate will then place the swab in their mouth between their cheek and gums and gently rub it around. Once the swab has an adequate collection of specimens, it is put in a container to minimise the opportunity for sample tampering.
Furthermore, the sample undergoes a certified laboratory for laboratory testing. In the field, professionals will analyse the sample for the detection of metabolites from drug use. They may use immunoassay or chromatography for testing. If there is a positive result, further confirmation testing may occur for more evidence.
Advantages of the Test Over Other Methods
- Non-invasive – the saliva drug testing kits do not require the drawing of blood or the collection of urine samples.
- Simple collection process – the process of collecting a saliva sample is straightforward and user-friendly.
- Quick results – the sample collection takes only a few minutes, and the analysis can yield results in a short period of time.
- Lower risk of sample tampering – it helps to ensure the integrity of the results and increases the reliability of the test.
- Wide detection window – while the saliva tests have a shorter detection window, it still has a wide enough window to detect recent substance use.
What Substances Can an Oral Drug Test Detect
The oral drug test can detect different characteristics of drugs. Firstly, the fluid testing kits can monitor the presence of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is a psychoactive component of marijuana. Secondly, the test can identify the use of cocaine. It is a powerful stimulant that can induce elation and increase energy levels. Opiates, such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, can also be detected through oral tests.
Accordingly, oral fluid drug testing can determine drugs like amphetamines, including methamphetamine and ecstasy. These substances are strong stimulants that can increase energy, attention, and focus. It can also identify chronic users of benzodiazepines, which are medications for anxiety and insomnia. Also, it can monitor methadone, which is a synthetic medication for opioid addiction.
Moreover, the testing can detect barbiturates. It is a class of sedative medication which is usually prescribed for treating sleep disorders. The oral assessment can also identify the use of Phencyclidine (PCP). It is a hallucinogenic drug known for its mind-altering effects. Additionally, it can monitor ethanol, which is a main ingredient in alcoholic drinks.
The drug detection times refer to the period during which drugs or their metabolites can be detected in the saliva. Hence, this depends on various factors. This may include the type of drugs, the frequency of use, and the metabolism of a person. However, the general detection window for saliva testing is about 12 hours after consumption or use.
Additionally, for example, the test can typically detect marijuana in oral fluid for up to 24 to 48 hours after use. Cocaine and amphetamines, on the other hand, may be monitored for up to 48 hours. Opiates can be detected for up to 72 hours.
Accuracy and Reliability of an Oral Drug Test
The accuracy and reliability of oral drug tests are important to consider when determining their effectiveness. To ensure accuracy, the test can detect specific compounds in various illegal drugs. These assessments are capable of identifying a wide range of substances. It is possible because it detects metabolites or byproducts of drugs in the saliva.
When it comes to reliability, oral testing is dependable in monitoring drug use within a recent time frame. These tests are particularly effective for detecting recent substance use, usually within 12 hours. However, they are less reliable for identifying substance use in the past. This is because the substance can be out of the oral fluid relatively quickly.
Another factor that can influence accuracy and reliability is the sensitivity of the testing device. Some swabs or laboratories may be more sensitive and able to detect lower levels of substances. Also, a proper sample collection and handling are vital for accuracy. Thus, it is crucial to know the right procedure to avoid any contamination.
Is there a Possibility for a False Positive
There is a possibility of a false positive drug test in the method. This is due to several factors that can affect the result. Some over-the-counter medications may contain ingredients for which the test can view as illegal drugs. Another is the sensitivity of the tool. If the test cannot differentiate certain substances, it may produce false positive results.
External exposure to substances can contaminate the saliva sample. Improper handling or storage of test samples can also cause contamination and inaccurate outcomes. Other substances present in the mouth at the time of the test can also administer a possibility of a false positive.
Oral drug tests are a valuable tool in determining substance use and ensuring safety in various settings. These tests provide a non-invasive and convenient method for detecting the presence of illegal drugs in the system of a person. It is a beneficial tool for identifying recent substance use as it has a detection window of 12 hours. Accordingly, it has numerous advantages. This involves a simple collection process, quick results, lower risk of contamination, and wide detection.
The oral testing can detect a wide range of substances. This can be THC, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, prescription medications, and even alcohol. Nevertheless, the accuracy and reliability of the test depends on many factors. This can include the sensitivity of the swab or the credibility of the laboratory, the collection process, and the handling of samples. Overall, the use of oral testing is crucial in maintaining a drug-free environment and promoting the well-being of individuals.