Saliva Swabs May Replace Urine Samples for Drug Testing


Detecting illegal drug use may one day become as simple as testing spit on a sponge, says the Associated Press. Researchers on Thursday said techniques now being developed for analyzing saliva may in the future replace many of the blood and urine tests that now are used to detect drug abuse and disease. Some law enforcement agencies in Europe already test drugged drivers using saliva and the technique is gaining acceptance in the U.S., said Edward Cone, a Maryland researcher developing equipment for using oral fluids to screen for drug abuse.

At a news conference in Washington, he noted that saliva is “easily accessible, noninvasive and not embarrassing. You don’t have to greet an employee with a urine cup.” Researchers have found the oral fluids accurately mirror the proteins that are found in blood and urine. Cone said experiments have already shown that spit can be even more reliable than urine tests for drug use screening. He noted that while drug users have learned how to “beat” urine tests, so far saliva tests have been foolproof.


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