How Long Do Different Drugs Stay In Your Saliva?

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Taking any kind of drug leaves a trace in your system and can be detected by different kinds of drug tests. One of the easiest and fastest ways to test a person for drug use is by taking a sample of their saliva with a mouth swab, as drugs enter saliva very quickly. Also known as oral drug tests, saliva tests are just as accurate as urine tests and are often used by employers, law enforcement, and addiction treatment centers. Different drugs interact with the body in different ways and will remain in a person’s saliva longer than others. Here are some of the most commonly used drugs and the amount of time that they can be detected by a saliva test: 


Alcohol is processed by the body very rapidly and can be detected 12-24 hours after use in a person’s saliva. The detection time window varies, however, depending on the amount and strength of alcohol a person has been drinking, and their age, weight, gender, and genetic makeup. 


Saliva tests are designed to detect the presence of THC – the psychoactive component in marijuana- before it has been metabolized by a person’s body. Saliva tests can detect marijuana for up to 72 hours after use, whether it was smoked or ingested. 


Also known as ecstasy, MDMA is a popular recreational drug that can be detected in a person’s saliva for up to three days after use. As with all types of drugs, the detection window will vary based on a person’s health, age, weight, gender, and genetic makeup. 


Cocaine can usually be detected a few minutes after use and will remain in a person’s saliva for 2-4 days. Saliva tests are designed to detect the presence of benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine that is produced by the liver. 

Heroin & Other Opioid Drugs 

The detection time for different opioid drugs varies depending on the strength of the drug and a person’s age, weight, overall health, and genetic makeup. Some opioid drugs, including morphine and codeine, can be detected in a person’s saliva for 24-48 hours after use. Heroin can be detected 5-6 hours after use, and for up to two days with certain types of oral drug tests. 

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