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Oral Fluids

Oral Fluids (Saliva) Drug Tests are Increasing

Oral fluids provide more potential information about a person’s drug use if they test positive than a urine test. In addition, both tests have similar levels of accuracy with saliva testing having greater ease of use and convenience. Many employers, third party providers, and other drug testing agencies are choosing oral fluids (saliva) testing instead of urine testing.

  • Urine testing cannot reveal drug use as quickly as oral fluid testing.
  • Saliva testing can determine impairment. Urine tests, on the other hand, can only determine whether the metabolite for a drug is present in the person’s urine.
  • Saliva tests are easier to administer than urine tests and have less potential mess and greater portability and ease of use.
  • Falsifying saliva tests is hard.



Image of female mouth and teeth.

Post-Accident or Suspected Impairment Testing

While urine tests can take up to 4 hours to detect the presence of drugs in the person’s system, oral fluid testing can detect use within an hour or less and within the last 24-48 hours. This makes it ideal in emergency situations that require immediate detection — such as accidents with vehicles and equipment drivers

Saliva testing can also help estimate and determine levels of impairment by measuring presence of the drug’s psychoactive ingredient, also called the parent compound. If the parent compound is detected in the saliva, it is also present in that person’s bloodstream. Higher levels of the parent compound in saliva corresponds to higher levels in the body, which can be a way to measure and estimate impairment. Urine testing cannot indicate impairment because it measures by-product compounds known as “metabolites.” Metabolites are either present or not and don’t correspond reliably with a determination of impairment.

Better Test Integrity and Better Collection Process

Oral fluids drug tests don’t require the level of privacy that urine tests do and are fully supervised, so it makes it practically impossible to tamper with them.

The fact that no bathrooms or private stalls are required also makes the test much more convenient to administer because the sensitive and uncomfortable issues around gender, observation and privacy that go with urine collection are simply not an issue. Samples can be collected almost immediately and nearly anywhere. This also makes third-party labs, additional scheduling, or special facilities unnecessary. Unlike the materials used in blood tests, oral fluids are not considered a bio-hazard, so disposal after the test is simpler, but the results are just as accurate.

Male lab employee holding tube and looking thru microscope.

Oral Fluid Drug Testing Procedure

After placing a sterile, absorbent pad attached to the end of an applicator handle (much like a toothbrush handle) inside the lower part of person’s mouth between their teeth and gums on one side, it’s held in their mouth for 2 to 5 minutes until saturated with saliva. In some cases, the pad is tested immediately on-site. In others, it can be documented, packaged, sealed and sent to the lab for testing. If an initial test shows positive, a secondary confirming test by a different procedure is done to make sure the first result was accurate.

The results of your own independent test from ARCpoint Labs of Tampa Metro Area are accurate and totally confidential, and they will give you the information you need to make decisions about the timing of job applications or other proactive strategies. If you know you are likely to be tested soon and are concerned that you may have an unwanted positive drug test, the best way to know for sure without risk is to choose to undergo your own test first.

Contact ARCpoint Labs of Tampa Metro Area for oral fluids alcohol testing. No appointment necessary.

Accurate. Reliable. Confidential Testing.