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Testing For Alcohol: Saliva Alcohol Tests

April 8, 2010 in Employee Drug Testing Information

A saliva alcohol test detects the presence of alcohol in the saliva, and are a relatively good approximation of blood alcohol content (BAC).

Due to the fact that the concentration of alcohol in saliva is very likely to be similar to the blood alcohol content that is in the blood, saliva is a preferred method of testing for alcohol when compared with blood alcohol testing.

Saliva alcohol test have the following characteristics:

They are slightly more expensive than urine testing, but less than hair or blood testing.

They are a relatively non-intrusive method of drug testing.

They are becoming more common compared to the other methods of testing.

They are easy to administer but require lab processing for accuracy.

They detect use primarily within the past day or so.

They can detect more recent drug use than other testing methods.

They have no nationally accepted cutoff concentrations or standards for detection. This makes the results more dependent on the specific product employed and could make results less-reliable and/or less acceptable for legal considerations.

Saliva Alcohol Tests Pros

The following list represents the positive aspects of saliva drug tests:

They provide samples that are acquired under direct observation.

They present a minimal risk of tampering.

They spare patients the discomfort of repeated vein punctures.

They are non-invasive.

They present no risk of infection, thrombosis, or anemia.

They present lower total testing costs since no special staff training is required for collection.

They provide for samples that can be collected easily in almost any environment.

They can detect alcohol use.

They reflect recent drug use.

They provide a relatively short window of detection, approximately 10 to 24 hours.

Saliva Alcohol Tests Cons

The following list represents the negative aspects of saliva drug tests:

They present some detection limitation since drugs and drug metabolites do not remain in the saliva as long as they do in the urine.

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