How accurate is saliva drug testing?


Picture this. You’re driving to work on a Monday morning and get stopped for a roadside drug test or get asked to take part in random saliva drug testing in your workplace. Trouble is, you took an ecstasy pill, or smoked a few joints, or injected ICE the night before. Are you safe or should you start to worry?

Firstly, it’s wise to point out that whether or not the saliva drug testing will detect drugs in your system is dependant on a number of factors. An obvious one is the drug itself and factors such as how strong it was, how much you used and when you stopped using come into play. Then there are individual factors, such as your sex, age, overall health and tolerance.

Will drugs be detected in my system using saliva drug testing?

  • Cannabis – saliva drug testing can detect the active ingredient in cannabis for at least several hours after use.
  • ICE and other methamphetamines – these drugs can be detected approximately 24 hours after use.
  • Ecstasy – similar to ICE, the detection time is approximately 24 hours after use.
  • In general, most drugs take around 24 to 48 hours to leave your system. Taking more than one drug at a time, or drinking alcohol while taking drugs, can extend this time period.

If you do record a positive test during saliva drug testing, whether it’s at a roadside or in the workplace, don’t reassure yourself by thinking that the testing isn’t accurate. While a secondary test will always be taken, the initial saliva drug test is extremely accurate. In fact, the equipment used by Integrity Sampling and police forces around Australia are approximately 99% accurate.

So, should you be worried if you are stopped by random roadside saliva drug testing or drug testing in the workplace? The answer is a definite, yes!

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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