Mouth Swab Drug Test – Improtant Things to Know

The mouth swab drug test is one of the many ways to test your employees. Check out this ultimate guide to learn everything you need to know about them now!

As some workplaces struggle to find employees or to keep them, one of the reasons is the prevalence of drug testing around the country. Some employees don’t like the intrusiveness while others might be good at performing their desk job while they enjoy recreational drugs in the evening. With the help of a mouth swab drug test, you can decide what to look for and what to ignore to keep your office staffed with the best talent who are ready to perform.

If you’re new to drug testing and mouth swabbing, check out our guide for more information.


Using a swab test is effective for a number of different drugs and substances. While you may want to narrow down what you track for, swab tests can find traces of use via your test subject’s saliva.

You can find alcohol, PCP, all kinds of amphetamines, opiates, and even cannabis. While cannabis is becoming legal in many states, it may still be within your rights as a business owner to limit what kinds of substances you’ll allow in employees. Finding your employees are heavily using benzodiazepines without a prescription while they need to be heavily alert could impact your insurance and your business.

Swab tests have a set time period under which you can accurately detect substances being consumed. While alcohol has a short period of detection, it can sometimes be detected within 12 hours of consumption. Other substances take time, up to an hour before you can find traces but some stick around for more than a week in saliva depending on dosage.

Using a saliva drug test, you could end up catching more than one substance at the same time. You could detect several different substances, up to five or six per sample. Conducting this test is cheaper than testing in hair or blood samples if you want to find the presence of drugs and get a fast turn around.

What’s on the Market

There are a lot of types of drug tests out on the market now, but not all of them have the same kind of effectiveness. Many of them don’t come with the right tools to get a clean sample or are made of materials that can’t detect what you’re looking for.

Your sample needs to be collected cleanly and easily. The kit should be easily placed in the mouth of the person who is being tested and it shouldn’t be intrusive or require privacy. Most modern tests are fast and easy with the ability to get a response in just a few minutes.

You should be able to see results in about 15 minutes with most modern tests. This allows you to act quickly and to respond appropriately if you find the presence of substances that are unacceptable.

The average drug testing kit is now more portable than ever. A swab-based drug test is ready to be performed inside an office, in a private room, or during a physical exam required for a position. This type of testing has become popular in places where a random drug test is necessary.

If you’re having trouble with substances in a high school, with consent from parents, you can perform random drug tests on students. If you’re coaching a college sports team and are looking for substance abuse issues, you could run a quick series of swab tests. Even some workplaces where safety and substances don’t mix well, these have become a powerful solution.

Protecting Privacy

Drug testing is a sensitive issue no matter what kind of facility you run. Violating the privacy of the people who you are testing comes with serious consequences. You need to protect the results and remind anyone collecting them that they’re liable for word getting out about any substance use. You could violate HIPAA laws or privacy based on someone’s prescribed medication or medical history.

Perform your testing in a room that’s done under strict supervision. While you could do it in a roomful of people, give everyone privacy and monitor things to ensure you get a clean sample and that people feel secure.

Many employers are now using swab tests as pre-employment screening. Since it’s noninvasive and easy to do, most applicants easily consent to this. For later random tests, it’s an easy way to get people to agree rather than urine, blood, or hair tests.

Know What to Look out For

While you get a lot of information with every swab, results can be easily compromised. There are a lot of positive points to running a swab test but you need to know if your test subjects are taking any other medication.

If they take aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen, you’ll find that the results you get will be all over the map. You’ll end up flagging someone with a false positive even if they’re not using any illicit substances at all.

If you pre-plan your drug tests, you’re more likely to get people who are trying to beat the test. People who use illegal substances are well-versed in the ways you can cheat a drug test. There are substances that help to metabolize drugs and substances that lead the body to process it faster.

There are even substances that camouflage the presence of drugs in the body, making it easier to get out of a false positive even in the presence of substances.

A Mouth Swab Drug Test Is Easier on Everyone

When you’re running a mouth swab drug test either before or during employment, it’s much easier for everyone to comply than other tests. Standing in line for a urine test or a blood test is sometimes upsetting and disturbing to employees. Using a mouth swab test puts everyone at ease and gives you the results you’re looking for.

Check out our guide to learn more about the difference between instant testing and laboratory testing.

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