Oral Fluid (Saliva) Testing

Oral fluid (saliva) testing by Cansford Laboratories is a versatile and sensitive means of detecting drug use in the moment, or up to 48 hours later. This makes it ideal for random testing and for testing over long periods.

Oral fluid test results can be offered instantly, using point-of-care tests. Alternatively, samples can be sent to a laboratory and tested with greater accuracy. For this reason, point-of-care saliva testing is typically used to support other test methods

Oral fluid testing has many advantages over urine testing – which is why we choose to not to offer the latter. Samples can be collected with supervision, which often isn’t possible with workplace urine testing. It’s also exceptionally difficult to tamper with saliva samples, when collected under supervision.

It’s important to note that oral fluid test results may only be used as court evidence where the chain of custody is maintained for the sample – in other words, that the claimant can prove that the sample hasn’t been tampered with. Working with a laboratory like Cansford ensures the chain is maintained. This is not possible with off-the-shelf saliva testing kits, which also offer less accurate results than with tests performed by professionals.

What you need to know about oral fluid (saliva) testing:

The sample is collected using either an absorbent mouth swabThe sample is collected using either an absorbent mouth swabDetection window:

  • 0 – 2 days


Substances tested for include:

  • Amphetamine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Ketamine
  • Tramadol
  • Opiates
  • Methadone
  • Mephedrone
  • Benzodiazepines.

Contact us for any additional substances you need testing.


Collection method:

  • The sample is collected using an absorbent mouth swab.


  • Oral fluid tests can be offered as a point-of-care or a laboratory test.
  • Difficult to tamper with the sample – and therefore to cheat the test.
  • Laboratory tests are highly sensitive and highly accurate.
  • Point-of-care results are offered nearly instantly but act as a screen and are therefore presumptive,  Laboratory testing offers fast accurate results.
  • Simple and non-invasive collection method.



  • Only offers a limited detection window, and is therefore best suited to testing for drug use in-the-moment.
  • Donors only produce a limited amount of saliva. This can make retesting difficult.
  • At collection, donor may be nervous and suffer dry-mouth, which can make sample collection difficult.
  • Point-of-care test results must be confirmed by laboratory testing.

How does oral fluid testing work?

The sample is collected using an absorbent mouth swab.

These samples can then be tested in two ways.

  1. For point-of-care testing – in the workplace, or otherwise – the swab is then inserted into the screening device, locking the swab in place. Salvia is absorbed to produce a reading on the outside of the device. All positives are presumed only and require a second sample to be sent back to the laboratory for confirmation testing.
  2. For confirmation testing – samples may be taken using a return to lab kit, and sent straight back to the laboratory for LC-MS/MS (liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry) to provide results confirming the presence of any substance. 


Learn about our other testing services

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029 2054 0567