Oral drug tests measure if there is a detectable amount of an illicit substance in an individual's body, through a saliva sample. Saliva drug screening tests have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and are becoming more popular due to their low cost and fast display of results.
The types of controlled substances included on the test can vary. However, most saliva tests check for the following drugs: cocaine, tetrahydrocannabinol (Marijuana), methamphetamine (ecstasy, crystal meth), opiates (heroin, codeine) and phencyclidine (PCP).
A sponge is used to collect the sample from an individual's mouth, by swabbing the inside of the cheeks and tongue. The sponge is then placed in the testing base, upon which the results will appear after a few minutes.
Test results are compared with a control sample result. The control result shows what a clean sample would look like when no drugs are detected, usually by displaying a red line. If the test result differs from the control, by not displaying a red line, the sample has tested positive for that substance.
The biggest advantage of the saliva test is that it can detect more recent use of drugs than other methods of testing. In addition, saliva testing is considered less intrusive than urine or blood testing. Another advantage is eliminating the risk of sample alteration by the individual being tested, as the test can be supervised.
The results from an oral drug test can accurately show if an individual has recently used a controlled substance. However, it should be noted that the most reliable way to test for drugs or confirm results is through a laboratory determination.
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