Detects substances in a person’s system by checking for the presence of drugs or alcohol in the saliva.

Mouth swab drug tests are an alternative to urine drug tests. They are easier to carry out and much more difficult to cheat
because the sample collection takes place under supervision and direct observation. A mouth swab drug test is a
non-invasive method of drug testing that is very easy to carry out.

A mouth swab drug test is relatively accurate — but only when used correctly.

There are saliva tests that can detect a single substance, such as alcohol and
multiple panel drug screenings that detect a combination of substances.

What you need to know about nail testing:

Detection window

0 – 2 days

Substances tested for:

  • (AMP) Amphetamine

  • (BZO) Benzodiazepines.

  • (COC) Cocaine

  • (MTD) Methadone

  • (MET) Methamphetamine

  • (OPI) Opiates

  • (PCP) Phencyclidine

  • (THC) Tetrahydrocannabinol

Tests may also cover substances including Mephedrone, Tramadol, and ketamine, given the number of tests commissioned.

Collection method:

The sample is collected using either an absorbent mouth swab.


  • Difficult to tamper with the sample – and therefore to cheat the test.

  • Laboratory tests are highly sensitive and highly accurate.

  • There is the ability to detect drugs very quickly after they have been absorbed into the body.

  • Simple and non-invasive collection method.


  • Only offers a limited detection window, and is, therefore, best suited to testing for drug use at the moment.

  • Donors only produce a limited amount of saliva. This can make retesting difficult.

  • At collection, donors may be nervous and suffer from dry mouth, which can make sample collection difficult.

  • Point-of-care test results must be confirmed by laboratory testing.

How does nail testing work?

A common collection method is to use a swabstick with an attached sponge or absorbent pad to swab the inside of the cheek or under the tongue. Other collection methods include spitting, draining, and suction to gather saliva for testing.

A mouth swab drug test may be conducted on-site, including in an office
or at the scene of an accident, or at a dedicated lab or specimen collection site.

The individual being screened may be asked not to eat or drink anything for 10 minutes before the test to ensure better accuracy. Food, beverages, medication, and mouthwash can all interfere with accurate saliva drug test results.

The specimen will either be instantly analyzed on-site or sent to a lab to determine if traces of
controlled substances are present in the individual’s body.

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