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Saliva Drug Test

Drug Testing

Taking a saliva drug test

Technology has given us a great number of things - Microsoft, cellular phones, MP3s and ATMs. But the wave of the future (well, for drug testing at least) now resides in, spit?

According to Corrections Today , the publication of the American Correctional Association, it was a "comprehensive, multi year study" by the University of Utah 's Center for Human Toxicology that discovered drugs can be accurately (and easily) detected in saliva.

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And the bonus? A saliva drug test yields the same results as blood and urine tests, though in a much less invasive manner. That is, no urinating into a cup or getting stuck with needles to donate your sample.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Justice, discovered drug levels in the test subject's saliva corresponds directly to the amount found in his or system. This is important because it makes it possible to determine whether or not the subject is a regular drug abuser or a recreational user.

Since humans produce over 1,000 milliliters of saliva a day - you can spit at a rate of 5 milliliters per minute - there is a somewhat 'unlimited' supply of spit to test. Blood and urine, on the other hand, incorporate a number of factors that makes testing them not always feasible, such as the use of needles and the corresponding risk of infection.

Saliva, on the other hand, can be collected in an easy, user-friendly manner. Spit or a simple swab will obtain enough saliva for a sample. The saliva can be screened for substances and because spit is a product of blood, any drug detected is also present in the bloodstream.

However, saliva drug tests are not fool-proof, as results can be skewed by time period that elapsed between use and testing. Corrections Today cites an example dealing with pot - if the subject smokes a joint, and is immediately tested through a saliva sample, then the THC levels in the mouth would be elevated over that of THC in the bloodstream. It would take some time before the levels in saliva correspond to those in the blood.

The saliva drug test, due to its relative ease of collection and handling, is an attractive option for prisons, says Corrections Today . As two-thirds of prison inmates confess to using illegal drugs, the saliva drug test presents an easy, non-invasive option for testing. Will it hit schools or the workplace? Only time, and testing, will tell.

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