Myth Busters (Continued – #3): Oral Fluid Provides a Similar Window of Detection to Urine

oral test Myth: Oral fluid provides a similar window of detection to urine

Fact: It is widely known in the drug testing industry that oral fluid provides a shorter window of detection when compared with urine. However, some clients see oral fluid as much simpler and less intrusive. It is important that clients are properly informed about using the right tool for the desired outcome. In 2007, Dr. Marilyn Huestis and Dr. Edward Cone published a study, in which they found that “urine testing characteristically provided relatively high detection rates for up to 3 days following drug cessation. In contrast, oral fluid testing typically provided moderate detection rates for 24 hours. Detection at lower concentrations generally extended detection times for both oral fluid and urine. In general, it was observed that the use of oral fluid as a specimen for methamphetamine testing provided a shorter ‘window of detection.’”

In deciding whether to use urine or oral fluid, the client should consider the purpose of the testing, e.g., reasonable suspicion or post-accident testing, and which detection period best meets that purpose, as well as the logistics of collection.