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Oral Fluid Drug Testing: What You Need To Know

  • Published: May, 12 2020
  • Updated: May, 12 2020

For those conducting specimen collector training, it is obviously important, or at least useful to know about the various mediums through which specimen collection for drug testing is conducted. One such method is via oral fluid collection. Here are a few important bits you need to know about oral fluid drug testing.

What Is Oral Fluid Drug Testing?

As the name suggests, an oral fluid test takes a swab of oral fluid like saliva and runs it through a test that searches the fluid obtained from the participant for certain metabolites, or residual molecules that linger after a substance is ingested into the body. The particular substance can be identified through what’s called a “metabolic signature” that is produced by substances. Typically, the test is best done if there is suspected recent drug or alcohol use within the last 2 or 3 days, generally has the shortest time period for detection, but also produces quick results.

How Is It Conducted?

Oral fluid drug testing is often conducted using what’s called the “mouth swab test”. The mouth swab test is a non-invasive medical procedure that entails taking a collection stick that has either a sponge or absorbent pad attached to the end of it, and swabbing it inside of the cheek, with the resulting sample collected then being analyzed through tests conducted either on-site or in the lab.

Oral fluid drug testing can be used to identify a wide variety of substances depending on its usage, including, but not limited to the following: amphetamines, barbiturates, opioids, cannabis, and alcohol. This type of drug test has emerged in recent times because of its ease of use, it’s efficiency in terms of cost, the difficulty in tampering with the results, and the relatively short turnaround time of the results of the test. 

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