Mouth Swab (Oral) Drug Test Detection Times

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 26, 2020

Oral drug testing, also known as a mouth swab, is one of the most common forms of drug testing as it can detect various substances in a persons system. Learn more about oral drug testing today.

Mouth Swab Drug Testing Detection Times

There are many reasons an individual may have to take a drug test, such as employment screening, competitive sports, legal reasons, and medical treatment.

Some employers require drug tests as a condition of employment. Drug testing is also an important aspect of the recovery process for addiction issues. Drug tests vary depending on the type of drug test used.

A saliva (oral) drug test, also called a mouth swab, is one of the common forms of drug testing used to detect levels of various substances within an individual’s system.

Learn more about this type of drug test and the general mouth swab detection times for various substances.

What Is A Mouth Swab (Oral) Drug Test?

A saliva drug test collects saliva from the inside the individual’s mouth. The saliva is then used to detect the use of certain substances.

These tests are easy to administer and are relatively inexpensive, which is why they are such a popular form of drug test. They are typically performed on-site and quickly reveal the results.

How Do Oral (Mouth Swab) Drug Tests Work?

Oral drug tests work by analyzing the saliva collected from the individual for the presence of certain substances.

Some common substances detected by mouth swab (oral) drug tests include:

  • marijuana
  • amphetamines
  • cocaine
  • alcohol
  • methamphetamines
  • opioids
  • PCP

Mouth Swab Drug Test Detection Times

Oral drug test detection times vary according to the type of drug being detected. Mouth swab detection times are also affected by the frequency and duration of time that an individual used a particular substance.

Each individual has a unique biochemistry and history with various substances. For this reason, it is impossible to pinpoint exactly how long a substance will stay in their system and show up on a drug test.

The following are typical detection times for mouth swab (oral) drug tests:

  • marijuana: 48 to 72 hours from the individual’s last use of the substance
  • opioids: 24 to 36 hours from the time of last use
  • amphetamines: up to five days since the last use
  • cocaine: up to 10 days from the time of last use
  • methamphetamines: up to four days since the time of last use

Why Do Alcohol And Drug Rehab Centers Use Drug Tests?

It is quite common for rehab centers to use drug tests, including a saliva drug test, at various stages throughout a patient’s treatment program and continued recovery.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine recommends that rehab centers drug test patients as a regular part of their treatment plans.

Initial drug tests upon entering a rehab program are used to determine what substances the patient has within their system.

Periodic drug testing throughout the remainder of the rehab program offers valuable benchmarks for the patient to stick with their course of treatment and maintain sobriety.

Even though these tests are necessary and useful during addiction treatment, many patients shy away from treatment because they are concerned about failing a drug test and being shamed by medical professionals or others.

Rather than seeing drug tests as a lack of trust in the patient, they should be treated as a necessary component of rehab programs.

In addition, drug tests provide medically necessary information to medical professionals involved in the patient’s recovery process.

Lastly, patients in rehab programs should not be scared of failing a drug test during recovery because they will not be punished for failing a drug test.

The only reason information obtained from an oral drug test would be shared is if the patient was under a court order to attend rehab and report drug test results to the court.

Finding Help With Addiction Treatment

For help with recovery for you or a loved one facing addiction, contact one of our helpful addiction treatment specialists as soon as possible.

The recovery specialists on our team are committed to helping individuals who struggle with substance use disorders get the professional help they need to begin recovery.

Treatment specialists can provide a list of rehab center options for an individual to choose from based on their specific recovery needs.

The best way to get started on a path toward addiction recovery is to find out which rehab center options are available that fit an individual’s specific treatment needs. To learn more, contact us today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on October 26, 2020

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