Saliva drug testing “more effective in determining current use”

Saliva drug testing is the best and fairest way of determining a person’s ability to drive or work safely.

What is saliva drug testing and why is it touted as the best and fairest way to test for drugs on roadsides and in workplaces?

Medical News Today recently published an article on saliva drug testing, or the mouth swab test, as it is referred to in the article. As the article’s intro says, “A mouth swab drug test detects substances in a person’s system by checking for the presence of drugs or alcohol in the saliva. These tests are quick and easy to carry out, cause no pain to the individual, and are very cost effective.”

Integrity Sampling recommends using saliva samples for drug testing for all its clients. As the article states, it’s easier to carry out than the alternative urine drug testing and is more difficult to cheat because the sample collection is easily supervised and observed.

How does saliva drug testing work?

While the process used by Integrity Sampling when conducting saliva drug testing isn’t the same as that described in the article, the process is relatively similar.

Our process involves the person being tested rubbing a saliva collection device inside their mouth and around their teeth, gums and cheeks. An integrated indicator shows when enough saliva has been collected. The collection devise is then placed inside a sophisticated drug testing unit, which analyses the saliva sample for traces of drugs. This only takes a few minutes and the result is displayed.

Is saliva drug testing accurate?

In a word, yes. According to the Medical News Today article, accuracy is more than 97 per cent. We go a step further. Using our sophisticated Drager DrugTest 5000 device, which is verified and compliant to AS/NZS 4760:2019, accuracy is greater than 99 per cent.

Good, but not good enough. So if a person records a non-negative result in the initial test, secondary testing is conducted with analysis carried out in a lab. It’s the result of this secondary testing that will determine if the person fails the saliva drug testing.

Is saliva drug testing effective?

The effectiveness of saliva drug testing in determining whether a person is fit to drive or be at work is perhaps its greatest benefit. As highlighted in the article, “Drugs do not remain in oral fluids for as long as they do in urine, meaning that this method of testing is more effective in determining current use.”

This is all important, particularly in Australia where drug testing is carried out predominantly for safety reasons. The general philosophy is that while the taking of illegal drugs can never be condoned, as long as people take them well before driving or going to work, and are therefore safe to drive and be at work, then that’s their choice.

Have confidence in saliva drug testing

The factors highlighted in the Medical News Today article – and in this post – mean you can have confidence in saliva drug testing. If you take drugs and drive or go to work, you might not be happy with the results, but you’ve only got yourself to blame, not the process.


Saliva drug testing is the best and fairest way of determining a person’s ability to drive or work safely.

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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