Illicit drug abuse is one of the major health related issues in United States as millions of people are getting addicted to drugs and spoiling their precious lives. According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), around 21.8 million Americans were abusing illicit drugs in 2009. Identifying drug abusers and making them stay away from these harmful substances is very much necessary today.
Drug testing is one of the best methods to identify drug abusers. Drug testing provides objective information about an individual's recent illicit drug abuse. Drug testing can be done in a number of ways using saliva, blood, urine or hair samples. Today, saliva drug testing is being widely used because of its simplicity, easiness, comfortableness in usage.
Saliva, also known as oral fluid, contains trace amounts of drugs and their metabolites for few days. Saliva drug testing is generally considered as the best way to detect the recent illicit drug abuse.
Advantages of saliva drug test
Saliva drug testing is a common method used by many people today as it has many advantages. One of the most obvious advantage of saliva drug testing is that it is easy to handle and less prone to possible donor manipulations. Test samples can be collected anytime and anywhere. There is no need for special specimen collection facilities such as bathrooms. This donor-friendly and easy-to-collect method reduces the chances of adulteration as the sample can be collected under direct supervision.
Saliva drug testing spares the individual from the discomfort of repeated vein punctures caused in other forms of drug testing such as blood testing. The individual will be free from the risk of anemia, infection, or thrombosis.
Quicker results and easy to check
Saliva drug test kits are easy to use and no special staff training or a clinical technician is required for collection of samples and reading the results. The analysis of the drug test can be done at the site of specimen collection itself causing minimal disruption at the workplace. Saliva drug tests have quicker detection rates – they provide results within 5 to 10 minutes.
Compared to hair and blood test, saliva drug test is very cost effective. Generally, each saliva drug test kit costs around $10 to $12.
Check for multiple drugs
Saliva drug test kits can detect elevated levels of multiple illicit drugs in human oral fluid at a shot. This makes it an effective tool to identify drug abusers at workplaces, schools and even at home.
Drugs that can be detected
Saliva drug test can detect multiple illicit drugs such as alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, methampethamine, benzodiazepines, amphetamines and phencyclidine. Saliva tests are highly sensitive and they can even detect if the person is currently under the influence of drugs. They are considered as better options for detecting drug abuse within a period of 1 to 2 days.
Saliva tests are generally preferred alcohol testing methods as the concentration of alcohol in saliva is relatively very similar to blood alcohol content (BAC). Traces of alcohol can be detected in saliva right from time of intake to 12 hours.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in the marijuana, can be detected in saliva. As marijuana is generally abused through the mouth, traces of THC can be detected in saliva. Saliva drug tests can generally detect marijuana use a few minutes after ingestion up to one day.
Cocaine, a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant is often self-administered by nasal inhalation, intravenous injection and free-base smoking. Cocaine and its metabolites can be detected in saliva within 5 to 10 minutes after the use for up to one day.
Opiates are derived from the opium poppy, which include morphine, codeine and heroin. Opiates are central nervous system depressants and are highly addictive. Opiates can be taken orally, by nasal inhalation or by injection routes. Opiates are detectable in saliva from an hour after intake to 3 days.
Methamphetamine and Ecstasy
Methamphetamine, a potent central nervous system stimulant. It is generally taken by nasal inhalation, smoking or oral ingestion. MDMA (Ecstasy) is a psychoactive drug, chemically similar to the methamphetamine. It is usually taken orally as a tablet or a capsule. Depending on the type of intake, traces of methamphetamine can be detected in saliva as early as 5-10 minutes after ingestion for up to 3 days after use.
Benzodiazepines belong to a family of tranquilizers and are addictive. Most of the times, Benzodiazepines are taken orally, sometimes intravenously and intramuscularly also. Depending on the route of administration, they can be detected from time of ingestion up to 2 to 3 days.
Amphetamines are central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. They are often self-administered by oral ingestion or nasal inhalation. Amphetamines can be detected in oral fluid within a few minutes to 3 days of consumption.
Phencyclidine, a hallucinogen, can be detected in oral fluid. Traces of Phencyclidine in saliva can be detected from a few minutes after ingestion to the next 3 days.
Employers, school administrators, sports authorities and even parents at home should be aware of the different drug testing procedures to minimize the drug abuse problem in the society. Identifying the drug abusers using some of the simple forms of testing, such as saliva tests can make a huge difference.