Saliva Drug Test Detection Time and Accuracy

Submitted on March 27, 2012

A drug test is a test conducted on samples of body fluids, tissues or hair to determine the presence of a particular drug in the system of the individual that is being tested.

Why Is It Conducted?

Saliva drug testing is a cost effective method of testing a person who may be suspected of consuming certain drugs. A saliva swab drug test could be conducted on the individual for various reasons. During such a test, a trained person, usually associated with a law enforcement agency, will wet a swab of cotton that may appear similar to an ear bud in the mouth of the individual. Generally the swab test is done by rubbing the swab on the inner side of the cheek so that it is adequately lubricated.

Oral Saliva Drug Testing

Oral saliva drug testing is becoming increasingly popular as it is easy to obtain a sample quickly and does not require much cooperation from the person who is being tested. Thus, law enforcement agencies can use this test while randomly testing drivers or other people suspected of using banned substances. The saliva drug test detection times could vary depending on the drug that is being tested. Some drugs present themselves for just a few hours in the saliva while others might last for a few days. The duration that a drug will show itself in saliva is not dissimilar to the duration it might show itself for in the blood or urine.

Drugs like marijuana and cocaine can be detected up to 24 hours after consumption. Alcohol lasts less than 12 hours. Some drugs like amphetamines can be detected up to three days after consumption. These times are quite convenient as they provide a large enough window for testing to be done. Because of this, accident scene investigators can use a saliva drug test to investigate the possible cause of an accident. You may wonder, 'Can a saliva drug test thc content?' THC is present in the cannabis plant and a saliva drug test can show positive readings for up to 3 days after consumption.

Accuracy of the Test

Some people may question the saliva drug test accuracy because there is no formal method or certification required while testing saliva. False positives may occur due to improper testing processes. If a test is correctly performed, it will be relatively accurate. The best answer for how to pass saliva drug test is to avoid using drugs completely. However, if you have indulged in drug use, then brushing, flossing and general oral hygiene could help to avoid detection.