Taking an Oral Drug Test

Oral Drug Test | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Taking an Oral Drug Test – Historically, urinalysis has been the most widely used drug testing method. However, oral drug tests, also known as saliva tests or mouth swabs, have become more prevalent in recent years. There are certain advantages to performing this type of analysis.

For example, it’s cost-effective, easily administered, and can be conducted anywhere. Moreover, police officers and employers can instantly check for drug use without having to mess with urine samples.

Oral Drug Tests

10-panel oral drug tests can detect the presence of the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamine
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Barbiturates
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Methamphetamine
  • Methaqualone (quaaludes)
  • Opiates
  • Opioids
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon)
NOTE: Some opiates such as heroin are converted back into morphine in the body, meaning that they are detected as such on drug tests. For this reason, specific testing for these is not usually necessary.

A 12-panel oral test can also check for buprenorphine, fentanyl, and tramadol. A 5-panel screen can only detect drugs out of the first five categories on the above list. The more drugs a test can identify, the more expensive it will be to purchase.

Oral drug tests are excellent for determining if someone has used drugs very recently. However, due to their relatively short detection windows, they are not able to detect use beyond a few days before testing. The benefit of using oral mouth swabs is that traces of drugs can be found in saliva much sooner than in urine.

Oral Drug Test Detection Windows for Common Drugs
  • Marijuana: 12-24 hours
  • Cocaine: 24 hours
  • Opiates: 2-3 days
  • Methamphetamine: 2-4 days
  • Alcohol: 6-12 hours

Who Performs Oral Drug Tests?

Businesses are most likely to conduct saliva tests. They may do so to test current staff or before hiring new employees. Although these tests can be performed routinely, they may be more likely to be conducted when an accident occurs or after an employee returns from an extended leave of absence.

That said, oral drug tests are also becoming more common among law enforcement because they are less expensive and easier to perform than urine tests. They can often detect drug use sooner than a urine analysis can.

Oral Drug Test | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

How Are Oral Drug Tests Administered?

Performing an oral drug test is fast and simple. A swab that resembles a toothbrush or a big Q-tip is positioned between the cheek and lower gum for 2-3 minutes. After saliva is absorbed into it, it will reveal a positive or negative result in just minutes.

Why Are These Tests Effective?

The accuracy of an oral drug test depends on several factors, but it should be very reliable if administered correctly. Moreover, the sample collection should be performed within the appropriate detection window, using a swab of good quality. If administered randomly, the person should not be given any time to potentially tamper with the results.

If you are working at a company that often performs random drug testing, failing one of these tests could lead to significant trouble—often termination.

Common Oral Drug Tests

If you are seeking to test new or current employees, investing in one of the following drug screening kits might be a good option:

SalivaConfirm™ Premium Saliva 5-Panel Drug Test – This test will identify the presence of amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, methadone, and opiates.

6-Panel Oratect® Saliva Drug Test – This tool will check for amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, PCP, methamphetamines, and opiates.

SalivaConfirm™ 12-Panel Drug Test + ALC – This oral screening tool can detect the use of the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Buprenorphine
  • Cocaine
  • Fentanyl
  • Marijuana
  • Methadone
  • Methamphetamine
  • Opiates
  • Oxycodone

Other Types of Drug Screening Tools

As noted, urine tests are still the most common tests used to check for drug use. However, blood and hair follicle tests are two other possible methods. Blood tests are not routinely conducted in many cases, as they are both expensive and invasive. Employers may in some instances administer hair follicle tests if they want a long-term detection window (e.g., up to 90 days).

Treatment for Substance Abuse

If you know in advance that you might be subject to a drug test, the best approach is to halt drug use immediately. Depending on the severity of your drug problem, you also may want to consider seeking professional treatment. Many companies will permit this and consider it a type of medical leave.

If you are using substances while on the job, you are urged to seek help as soon as possible. You or someone else could be injured, or you may be swiftly terminated from your job.

Harmony Recovery Center offers evidence-based services, delivered in both partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. Approaches such as psychotherapy and counseling can help you identify the underlying motivations for drug use and change your thoughts to cope with stress and triggers in a healthier way.

If you are worried that you are going to fail a drug test, or if you are simply seeking professional help for substance use, contact us today! Let us help you break free from the chains of addiction and foster the healthy and fulfilling life you deserve!

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