Last updated: May 29, 2023
Oral fluids drug testing is sometimes looked down upon due to the fact that it doesn’t identify drugs in the system as long as other testing methods. If employers who feel this way considered that for a moment, though, they might change their minds.
Oral fluids drug tests are gaining popularity among employers who aren’t mandated to use the DOT drug test. Especially, if they’re looking for recent drug use. For most drugs, the window is typically only 24-48 hours. It’s interesting to note, though, that some drugs are identifiable immediately after ingesting them—smoking marijuana or enjoying a THC-laced treat make that list.
The advantages of the oral fluids test
Continued advances in drug testing technology, along with the increased sophistication of laboratory equipment, have made the oral fluids test a contender in the drug testing market. While, as we stated above, it has the ability to identify some drugs immediately after use, there’s no way to differentiate whether or not the person is under the influence while the test is being administered—yet.
It does, however, provide employers with several advantages. We’re going to list them for you.
The oral fluids drug test is administered in full view of the testing technician. A dishonest employee wouldn’t have the ability to swap out or tamper with the test sample while out of view.
Also, claims that there are ways to falsify the test are untrue. Basically, the products are supposed to mask the drug contained in the saliva for an approximate length of time. That sounds good, but those who try to falsify the test are going to be disappointed.
Using special chewing gum, mouthwash, or toothpaste isn’t going to hide the fact that there are drugs in the system.
Our bodies are constantly producing saliva and the swab is saturated with it while it enters the mouth. There’s no way for a masking product to work.
Ease of use
Always remember, the majority of your employees don’t use drugs. Sure, having to deal with the inconvenience of providing a urine sample is accepted as the norm. It’s the most widely used employee drug test on the market.
Still, trust us when we tell you that your employees might actually emit a cheer if you pass around a notification announcing that you’ve switched your testing method to the mouth swab test. And, if anybody is known for keeping some confetti stashed away in their desk—you might give housekeeping a head’s up.
The oral fluids drug test is considered the least invasive of all drug testing methods.
It’s over and done in about 5 minutes. The testing technician places a mouth swab between the test subject’s cheek and lower gum. They’re instructed to hold it in place until it becomes thoroughly saturated.
The technician removes the swab and that’s that! The employee signs off and is on their way back to work in a matter of minutes.
Compare that to having to pee in a cup or cutting off a section of hair…
Can be administered anywhere
Some employers choose to purchase their own mouth swab tests and administer them on-site. If a positive result comes up, they send the sample to a laboratory for more extensive testing. Other employers require an employee who tests positive on-site to submit to a urine test at that point.
It’s a very economical choice for small business owners. If you decide to make the switch, be sure to update your drug testing policies accordingly.
Even though the urine drug test has always been the most popular choice, it’s a fact that some drug users are able to falsify the results. They might use a product from the black market or manage to smuggle a “clean” sample into the restroom to pour into the cup. It’s causing employers to take a second look at the hair follicle and mouth swab drug tests.
Hair follicle drug tests provide the advantage of identifying any drug use for three months. It’s a way to identify employees who use drugs consistently.
The oral fluids drug test is less expensive. They provide accurate results and have the quickest turnaround time with the lab.
If you consider doing as we mentioned above and purchasing oral fluids drug tests to administer on-site, then, only using the laboratory to test positive results, you are sure to cut down on your drug testing expenses considerably.
Making the switch
The Department of Transportation (DOT) may one day allow oral fluids testing. It’s something for them to consider because the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) approved its use beginning January 1, 2020. Any government entity that chooses to implement it into their drug testing procedures may do so if it so chooses.
It’s been approved for all types of drug testing.
- Reasonable suspicion
- Return to duty
Again, you can only use the oral fluid test if it has been approved by the Department of Transportation and to date, that’s not the case.
However, if you don’t employ a safety-sensitive workforce, the oral fluids test is something you should consider.
What do you think?