The saliva is another form of plasma. If a person takes some kind of drugs, the traces of these drugs can be detected, as residues or various metabolites of the drugs, in his or her saliva. This principle forms the basis of the swab test. This is a test to detect the drug content in a person’s saliva. It is called swab test because the test is conducted on a swab of saliva taken from the inner lining of the subject’s mouth. The test kits are available in different shapes and sizes. Some of these kits are in the form of swabs and some are in the form of stripes containing antigen of different drugs.
After obtaining the saliva sample from the drug user, it is tested for the drugs. The advantage is that up to six drugs can be detected simultaneously. If it is a strip kit, it is even easier. The strip has to be wetted with the subject’s saliva and if the test is positive, different color bands will appear on the strip. Each drug is indicated by a different color. Here also multiple drugs can be detected simultaneously.
The swab drug test can be conducted to detect alcohol, cannabis, barbiturates, opiates, methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana. The detection period of these drugs vary considerably. Alcohol can be detected till 12 hours after the intake. The PCP can be detected from the ingestion of the drug till the next three days.
Methamphetamine and ecstasy can be detected in the saliva from half an hour of ingestion till 72 hours. Barbiturates appear in the saliva in less than half an hour of ingestion up to three days. Opiates give a positive test in less than 30 minutes of intake till the next three days. Cannabis is detectable within a few minutes of ingestion till the next 48 hours.
The swab test is used in drug screening, connected with employment. It is a federal mandate required for many jobs. The swab drug test is very convenient and quick to administer. The result also will be out in a very short time. Moreover, there is no need of a nurse or lab technician to administer the test. Any official can be trained to do it. So this test becomes highly practical in the job screening practices.
Apart from the job screening context, this test is functional in conducting random checking on the roads, schools, colleges and offices. The swab drug test comes in handy in anti drug campaigns, where the random checking will bring out potential rehabilitation subjects. The swab drug test is non-intrusive and simple. It is preferred to the blood test and urine test because the latter are very time consuming tests. Besides, it will take a long time for the drugs to appear in the blood and urine. Blood and urine tests are very expensive, whereas the swab drug test is very cheap. Moreover, it is very difficult to fake or manipulate the result or the sample in the swab drug test. So the swab drug test can be considered to be more genuine than any other drug tests.