Can Oral Drug Tests Replace Urine Drug Tests?

Technology in this world is fast paced, ever-changing and always improving. Same as true in the technology the medical community uses. Methods, equipment, and practices are always getting updates. In a more specific aspect, drug testing is continually evolving with the changing times.

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The Conventional Methods

You may be familiar with the phrase “pee-in-a-cup”, and it is one of the oldest and the most common way of screening for drugs, commonly referred to as urine drug testing. Urine drug tests are done by collecting a sample of urine from a person. The testers will provide a small cup for the person to fill privately.

Another method which is considered to be conventional in terms of drug tests is by blood testing. Blood testing is done by taking a blood sample from a vein usually in the arm or at the back of the palm to analyze for illicit drugs. Although blood tests are more accurate than urine tests when done in the window of detection, they are more expensive and more invasive so they are not that commonly done.

Oral Drug Tests

Oral drug tests also known as swab tests or saliva drug tests are considered to be the least invasive and the most convenient among the drug testing methods. It analyzes a sample of saliva taken from a person. The collection of saliva is done virtually anywhere and anytime. Testers use a small collection tool called swab which looks like a tiny brush with a wadding at one end. This swab is used to swipe a small portion of the insides of the mouth for a few seconds. The saliva collected using the swab is then kept in a small secured container and is now ready to be processed.

Oral drug tests can detect substances even after immediate use and up to 72 hours. Unlike urine and blood testing, saliva drug tests don’t need to wait for the substances to mix up with the entire system of the body to be detected.

Although oral drug testing is deemed to be as, if not more, accurate and efficient as the conventional methods, there are times that it takes more than an oral drug  test to prove the use of an illicit substance. According to studies, oral drug tests can’t detect the prolonged use of a substance if the person who is abusing that substance stops to use it even at least 5 days prior to testing. In cases like this, a series of testing is always a good idea to be practiced.