It’s important to us that all drug test results are accurate, dependable, and unadulterated.
What are the factors that make test results accurate and reliable? How well do the different testing methods perform when compared to each other? What do the results of a drug test tell you?
Factor: Appropriate Window of Detection
All methods of drug testing (saliva/oral fluid, urine, hair, blood, and sweat) have different windows of detection. This is the time period within which the drug can be detected. For accuracy and reliability, the testing method used should be appropriately matched with the desired detection window.
If the last dose of the drug occurred outside of the detection window (whether the usage was far in the past, or even too recent), some drug testing methods will return a “negative” result regardless of whether or not the drug was used.
Testing blood, saliva, or urine can detect most drugs for 1 to 4 days after use.
Oral fluid testing, in its similarity to blood, excels in the ability to detect drug use within the first moments of consumption. Urine testing must wait until the drugs have passed through the body.
In many cases, oral fluid testing will return a positive result immediately after use. This, with its ability to detect most drugs from 1 to 4 days after last usage, makes it the best testing method for impairment, post-accident testing, and dosage monitoring.
Factor: elimination of Tampering/Adulteration
It is incredibly easy to cheat or falsify a urine drug test. Such techniques involve adulterants that interfere with the urine test results or take advantage of the opportunity to cheat due to the privacy required when collecting a urine sample.
All oral fluid drug tests are administered under supervised observation, making tampering with the test sample virtually impossible. We have tested a wide range of adulterants that are available on the market and have not yet found any that can interfere with an oral fluid test, with proper collection.
How do you cheat or beat a saliva drug test? The short answer is: you can’t, with proper collection.
Factor: Equipment Sensitivity & Precision
Oral fluid samples are first screened using an enzyme-linked immunoassay technology (ELISA).
Any sample testing positive after screening is tested again using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC/MS/MS), the most sophisticated and accurate method available. LC/MS/MS is more accurate and 100 to 1,000 times more precise than Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS). Forensic Fluids Laboratories uses the most technologically advanced equipment available.
Factor: Actual Correlation to Impairment
Compounds that are present in a person’s blood are also present in their saliva. Saliva tests measure the compound of a drug known as the “parent compound”: the psychoactive element of the drug. Detection of the parent compound in saliva indicates that the drug has entered the blood stream and is available to the brain. The higher the level, the more of the drug is in their system. This means that saliva levels can be used to measure impairment.
In contrast, urine tests do not measure the parent compound, they measure the by-product compounds known as “metabolites.” These do not correspond to current impairment levels. Furthermore, the amount of metabolites found in urine fluctuate, and can lead to both negative and positive results throughout the detection window time frame.