Detection Windows for Drugs in Oral Fluid: Cannabinoids, Stimulants, and Opioids

In impaired driving enforcement, blood has traditionally been the preferred biological specimen in determining the presence of drugs in drivers. However, collecting blood specimens from drivers can be challenging, often resulting in delays impacting test results and noncompliance. The use of oral fluid as a matrix for the analysis of drugs is gaining popularity and an increasing number of research studies substantiate the correlation between drug concentrations in oral fluid and blood (Bosker & Huestis, 2009; Busardo et al., 2018). Drugs may be deposited in oral fluid via ingestion (e.g., smoked or oral) and passive diffusion from blood into saliva (Lee & Huestis, 2014). As a detection matrix, oral fluid has several advantages over blood and urine: collection is easy, noninvasive, and can be observed, limiting opportunities for adulteration. Oral fluid also can be collected at the roadside, close to the time of a suspected impaired driving offense. However, there is still much to be learned about the use of oral fluid especially as a detection matrix at the roadside. The objective of this research brief is to assess the literature on oral fluid detection times to address how long after a person uses a drug it can be detected in oral fluid, and what factors may influence detection times. As drug prevalence does not imply impairment, efforts to understand the proximity of drivers’ drug use in time may assist in better understanding and properly enforcing drug-impaired driving laws.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Edition: Research Brief
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 8p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01713090
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 16 2019 12:32PM