1. What is Saliva Drug Testing?
Saliva drug testing analyzes a saliva sample for parent drugs and their metabolites. An absorbent collection device is placed in the
mouth and the saliva collected is screened for drugs of abuse. Samples are checked to verify the saliva is human and undiluted. It
is important to note that our saliva drug testing is a completely laboratory-based process. While some instant oral fluid collection
devices may be available, note that they are often not properly cleared and are not sensitive enough to detect usage of certain
drug classes. It is for these reasons that a laboratory-based process must be used in order to secure valid results.
2. Which drugs can you detect in saliva?
Our 6-Panel saliva drug test can detect marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamine, methamphetamine (including Ecstasy), and
PCP, which represent the most common drugs requested by employers for workplace drug testing. Additional drugs included in the
10-Panel test are oxycodone, barbiturates, methadone and benzodiazepines.
3. How effective is saliva testing in detecting drug users?
A review of data from over 4.5 million saliva tests show positive rates comparable to laboratory urine testing.
4. How soon after use can a drug be detected in saliva?
Saliva testing can detect drugs in the saliva within 10 minutes of ingestion. This short timeframe makes it an excellent test for post-
accident and reasonable suspicion testing situations.
5. How does the detection time frame for saliva testing compare with other methods?
Like traditional urine testing, the window of detection in saliva testing is different for each drug. Of most significance is that saliva
testing identifies recent usage that may be missed by urine testing. For most drugs, the window of detection in oral fluid is typically
24-48 hours. By contrast, urine testing relies on drug metabolites retained in the body's waste supply and will detect drugs for 24-
6. What methodology do you employ?
Saliva samples are first screened in the laboratory using fully cleared enzyme immunoassay (EIA) technology, which has been
proven reliable for routine drug testing. Any samples that test positive in the screening process are then subjected to liquid
chromatography/mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (LC/MS/MS). This tandem "MS", as it is called, provides the most sensitive
fingerprint of the drug target available.
7. How are your cut-off levels established?
The lab we use establishes cutoff levels for Confirmation methods based on SAMHSA’s proposed guidelines and on research
performed by experts in the field.
8. Can a saliva test be beaten?
A wide range of adulterants have been studied and none have been found that can beat our saliva drug test system. Of course,
donors may attempt to introduce something onto the collection pad or into collection vial. However, this risk is highly unlikely since
every collection is directly and easily observed. Dilution tactics often employed to beat urine tests are not effective in saliva
9. Can saliva be affected by cross-reacting substances such as over-the-counter medications?
Enzyme-immunoassay antibodies (EIA), similar to those used to test urine, are used for the initial screening test for drugs of abuse
in saliva. Therefore the potential for substances such as over-the counter medications to cause a false positive screening result
does exist. To eliminate this possibility, the lab we use confirms all positive results by LC/MS/MS.
10. Who collects the sample?
The donor collects his or her own sample under the direct visual supervision of a trained collector. The donor places the collection
pad between his or her lower cheek and gum, saturates the absorbent collection pad, places it in a vial, then seals and initials the
vial in preparation for transport. The entire process takes approximately five minutes and is very difficult to challenge as the donor
has performed the collection while under observation.
11. What is the turnaround time?
Once our lab receives the specimens they are tested the day they arrive and negative results are reported at the end of the day
they are received. Samples requiring confirmation testing are usually reported within 48-72 hours of receipt.
12. How do you know if you have enough sample to test?
If the donor follows our collection protocols, then there will be enough sample to test. The collection pad is treated with salts to
stimulate oral fluid secretion, making the process very reliable. In fact, based on experience in the life insurance industry, only 1 in
10,000 samples report as insufficient for testing.
13. How is the data reported?
As with all testing, results are reported to the designated party and Medical Review Officer, if appropriate.
14. Is saliva a hazardous substance?
OSHA does not consider saliva collections hazardous. In addition, saliva specimens are not subject to the same handling and
disposal issues that face other bodily fluids.
15. Is your lab’s internal chain-of-custody comparable to a urinalysis laboratory test procedure?
The labs’ we use internal chain-of-custody procedure is modeled after the requirements in the SAMHSA guidelines for urinalysis.
16. How long are positive and negative test reports kept on file?
Test reports are retained for a period of two years or as mandated by law.
17. What is done with the excess saliva that is not tested?
Any saliva remaining from positive tests is retained for one year.
18. What experience does your lab have providing Expert Witness Testimony?
The laboratories we use have forensic experts that have qualified as expert witnesses in 29 states for over 250 civil, criminal, and
Superior Court trials.
19. What collection device do you use?
We use the Intercept® collection device developed by OraSure Technologies, Inc. The Intercept device has been used to process
over 15 million samples over the last 10+ years on the market. This includes over 4.5 million workplace samples showing
comparable positive rates to urine testing. Additionally, the Intercept has been upheld in multiple court cases in criminal justice and
20. What if a donor has “dry mouth?”
The collection device contains a very low level of common table salt to stimulate production of saliva, which helps deal with dry
mouth conditions. Not all saliva collection devices offer this advantage.
Master Security, Inc.
|26 S. Market Street
Girard, Ohio 44420
|saliVa drug testing
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Providing a Higher Standard of Protection since 1997