Call Today 615-332-8838
Call Today615-332-8838

Mouth Swab Drug Test 101: A Beginner’s Guide

mouth swab drug test

How many of your employees are under the influence during work hours?

Workplace drug testing is a touchy subject. It’s akin to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for (some) employees – yet from the employer’s side of the fence, having staff on the job while they’re under the influence of illicit substances can land them in legal hot water.

Federal agencies and law enforcement are required by law to conduct regular drug testing.

Don’t know what sets a mouth swab drug test apart? Don’t worry.

That’s what we’re here to explain. Keep reading. You’ll have a grasp on the basics in no time.

When Is a Mouth Swab Drug Test Permitted?

The legality of mouth swabs – referred to as “oral fluid testing” – varies by state. It’s the same for all forms of drug testing, including hair follicle and urine testing.

Most forms of drug testing are permitted in most states. Mouth swabs are permitted almost everywhere except the following (which outlaw such forms of testing):

  • Maine
  • Hawaii
  • Puerto Rico
  • Vermont

Most mouth swab tests are conducted during the pre-employment phase as an integrated part of the hiring process. However, some companies choose to administer them randomly as part of a drug testing policy.

If there’s any suspicion an employee was under the influence of a drug while on the job, it’s common to perform mouth swab testing. A key example case is following a workplace accident – employers often reach for mouth swabs to protect themselves from legal fallout.

Swab Testing 101

The mouth swab process is quite simple, making it a favorite for drug testing in spite of the tight detection window. It’s the easiest way of testing for the presence of drugs in saliva. It’s also the least expensive option overall.

What’s the principle behind the swab tests?

When a person consumes a drug, traces of the substance remain in their body long after the effects have subsided. Saliva is no exception to this rule. So, a small swab is placed in the mouth to collect a saliva sample for a mouth swab test.

The entire process takes a mere few minutes to complete.

Benefits of Mouth Swab Drug Tests

Mouth swab tests aren’t invasive. They don’t require your employees to squat over a jar and hand over their urine, leaving them disgruntled and feeling as though you don’t trust them.

Plus, the average mouth swab drug test price tends to be far lower than hair and urine testing, costing between $20 and $40 for a full test. The mouth swab drug test results are highly reliable and fast.

So, when are mouth swab tests best?

They’re ideal for situations where you’d like to test for ongoing drug use, such as during employee screening or following workplace accidents. They’re also perfect for random drug testing, as they can detect the presence of most illicit substances.

However, should you wish to take a look further into the past and detect drug abuse longer than a few days or hours, it’s worth looking into urine analysis and hair follicle drug testing.

An ideal and comprehensive drug testing policy makes use of multiple forms of drug testing to make up for the weaknesses of each.

Determining Drug Use With Swab Tests

So, what do mouth swab drug tests detect? Most common drugs make the cut, including:

  • Marijuana
  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamines
  • Methamphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Cocaine
  • Benzodiazepines

However, each illicit drug comes with a different window for detection. Marijuana, for instance, can typically be detected in saliva for up to 24 hours after use. Dangerous substances like fentanyl and morphine remain in the saliva for up to four days, while heroin will dissipate within a few hours.

Some types of swabs will require lab testing to get results (which usually takes up to 24 hours), while others can be interpreted on-site.

Swab vs. Urine Tests

Mouth swabs aren’t the only kind of drug testing available for businesses.

The key difference between mouth swab drug tests and urine tests is the detection window. While urine tests can detect traces of drugs for a longer period, typically days to weeks, depending on the substance, mouth swab tests have a shorter window to detect drug abuse.

This makes them more effective at identifying recent drug use. Urine testing also tends to be a more expensive option, which often encourages employers to rely on mouth swab testing as the backbone of their anti-drug policies.

Do False Positives Happen?

If performed correctly, mouth swab drug test accuracy nears 100%. False positives occur very rarely. This is particularly noteworthy when compared with other testing methods (such as urine analysis).

Yet, it’s a mistake to rely solely on the results of a single test. Why?

The accuracy of these tests in detecting drug use largely depends on the specific substances being targeted and the sensitivity of the testing equipment. Therefore, it’s always vital to source swab tests from a reputable, licensed supplier.

Cross-contamination and external influences can potentially lead to inaccurate results, so it’s vital that testing facilities adhere to strict protocols.

Finally, individuals undergoing testing must disclose any medications they’re taking. Some prescription drugs, and even some OTC drugs, can interfere with the testing process.

Key Takeaways

Before administering a mouth swab drug test, ensure you’re aware of the substances the test can detect and the associated detection windows.

Additionally, it’s crucial to implement workplace policies around drug testing so that employees understand the implications of a positive result and the potential for follow-up testing. Employees should always disclose existing medications or substances they consume to avoid skewing the result of a mouth swab test.

Order Your Mouth Swab Tests Today

The mouth swab drug test is paramount for employers looking to screen new potential hires before signing on the dotted line. By understanding the basics, businesses can ensure they’re hiring the best without any nasty hiccups further down the line.

Relialab Test is a nationally recognized supplier of drug screening equipment. Our easy-to-use tests offer fast, accurate results that give your business peace of mind. Order your testing kits here today.

Order a Test

Whether you are an individual looking to get a drug test done today or an employer looking to get a pre-employment drug test done today, ordering a test online is easier than ever! Just submit your order online, receive your test authorization by email, go to your local clinic to be tested, and receive your test results in 24 to 48 hours.

Hours of Operation

Monday 8AM–12PM, 1–4:30PM
Tuesday 8AM–12PM, 1–4:30PM
Wednesday 8AM–12PM, 1–4:30PM
Thursday 8AM–12PM, 1–4:30PM
Friday 8AM–12:30PM, 1–3PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

Closed Dec. 25, Dec. 26 and Jan. 1

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our lab.