The following chart gives approximate detection periods for each substance by test type. Data for urinalysis are reproduced from LabCorp’s.
The detection windows depend upon multiple factors: drug class, amount and frequency of use, metabolic rate, body mass, age, overall health, and urine pH. For ease of use, the detection times of metabolites have been incorporated into each parent drug.
For example, heroin and cocaine can only be detected for a few hours after use, but their metabolites can be detected for several days in urine.
The graph depicts the longer detection times of the metabolites.
Drug Detection Periods
|Alcohol||3-5 days via Ethyl Gluconoride (EtG) metabolite or 10-12 hours via traditional method||12 hours|
|Amphetamines (except meth)||1 to 2 days||up to 90 days||12 hours|
|Barbiturates (except phenobarbital)||2 to 3 days||up to 90 days||1 to 2 days|
|Benzodiazepines||Therapeutic use: 3 days. Chronic use (over one year): 4 to 6 weeks||up to 90 days||6 to 48 hours|
||up to 90 days||2 days|
|Cocaine||2 to 4 days||up to 90 days||24 hours|
|Codeine||2 days||up to 90 days||12 hours|
|Cotinine||2 to 4 days||up to 90 days||2 to 4 days|
|Heroin||2 days||up to 90 days||6 hours|
|LSD||2 to 24 hours||Up to 3 days||0 to 3 hours|
|Methamphetamine||1 to 2 days||up to 90 days||24 hours|
|Morphine||2 days||up to 90 days||6 hours|
|Methadone||3 days||Up to 30 days||24 hours|
|PCP||14 days; up to 30 days in chronic users||up to 90 days||24 hours|
|Phenobarbital||7 to 14 days||up to 90 days||4 to 7 days|
* Oral fluid or saliva testing results for the most part mimic that of blood. The only exception is THC. Oral fluid will likely detect THC from ingestion up to a maximum period of 18–24 hours.
* Urine can not detect current drug use. It takes approximately 6–8 hrs. post-consumption for drug to be metabolized and excreted in urine. Similarly, hair requires two weeks, and sweat, seven days.
The results of federally mandating drug testing were similar to the effects of simply extending to the trucking industry the right to perform drug tests, and it has been argued that the latter approach would have been as effective at lower cost.
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