Saliva drug testing not such as pain

Saliva drug testing is a good choice for your workplace drug testing needs.

Have you ever had to undergo saliva drug testing, on the roadside or at work? If you haven’t, have you ever wondered what it’s like? Is it painful or is it as annoying to your nose and throat as having a COVID-19 test?

If you’ve ever had the standard COVID-19 test (with over 15 million tests having been conducted in Australia, chances are you have) you’ll know that it can be somewhat annoying. Called the nasopharyngeal swab, it requires a long swab to be inserted towards the back of your throat and into your nose, and then wriggled around to pick up tissue and secretions. To put it mildly, it can be eye-watering!

We’re happy to say, however, that that’s COVID testing and saliva drug testing is very different. To analyse saliva for drug testing, all that’s required is simply saliva or oral fluid. The person being tested uses a small collection device and places it in their mouth, and rubs it under their tongue and around their gums. It takes around 30 seconds to a minute and the device doesn’t need to go anywhere near the back of your throat… Or you nose!

You can see a quick example of a person undergoing drug testing on this Integrity Sampling produced workplace drug and alcohol testing video.

Once the collection device has been used to collect saliva, it is then placed in an analysing unit and the sample tested for specific drugs. This includes cannabis, methamphetamines, cocaine and opiates. The process can be slightly different depending on the equipment being used, but this provides a good summary of how roadside saliva drug testing or workplace saliva drug testing is carried out.

Saliva drug testing versus urine drug testing

The ease and unobtrusiveness of sample collection, is one reason why saliva drug testing is considered by many to be a better alternative to the other common drug testing method, using urine. Taking urine samples is seen by some people as invasive and awkward, while saliva sampling isn’t.

But this is not the only benefit.

Another benefit is the reduced chance of tampering. While rare, people have been known to use another person’s urine sample rather than their own in an attempt to pass a drug test. There’s even a thriving market for people selling urine substitutes to help people pass tests, which, dare we say, is the equivalent of snake oil!

Perhaps the major benefit of saliva drug testing, however, is that it’s a better indicator of a person’s ability to safely drive or work. That’s because urine drug testing can detect drugs that have been taken by a person 1 or 2 days earlier, or even longer, while for saliva testing the window of detection is narrower.

This is important because, whether the testing is being done on the road or at work, the goal is to identify people who are unsafe to perform the task, not identify if they are a drug user. Drug testing in Australia is all about safety and this is one of the reasons why saliva drug testing is a better choice.

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of workplace saliva drug testing for your business, contact Integrity Sampling.


Saliva drug testing is a good choice for your workplace drug testing needs.

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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