Drug and Alcohol Testing
A drug test is a technical analysis of a biological specimen - for example urine, hair, blood, sweat, or oral fluid / saliva - to determine the presence or absence of specified parent drugs or their metabolites.
The following chart from gives approximate detection periods for each substance by test type.
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. In this type of situation, we will report the (longer) detection times of the metabolites.
|Substance||Urine||Hair||Blood / Oral Fluid|
|Alcohol||6–24 hours - Note: Alcohol tests may measure EtG which can stay in urine for up to 80 hours||up to 2 days||12–24 hours|
|Amphetamines (except methamphetamine)||1 to 5 days||up to 90 days||12 hours|
|Methamphetamine||3 to 5 days||up to 90 days||1–3 days|
|MDMA (Ecstasy)||72 hours||up to 90 days||24 hours|
|Barbiturates (except phenobarbital)||1 day||up to 90 days||1 to 2 days|
|Phenobarbital||2 to 3 weeks||up to 90 days||4 to 7 days|
|Benzodiazepines||Therapeutic use: up to 7 days. Chronic use (over one year): 4 to 6 weeks||up to 90 days||6 to 48 hours|
|Cannabis||2 to 7 days, up to >30 days after heavy use and/or in users with high body fat||up to 90 days||2–3 days in blood, up to 2 weeks in blood of heavy users. However, it depends on whether actual THC or THC metabolites are being tested for, the latter having a much longer detection time than the former. THC (found in marijuana) may only be detectable in saliva/oral fluid for 2–24 hours in most cases.|
|Cocaine||2 to 5 days with exceptions for certain kidney disorders||up to 90 days||2 to 5 days|
|Codeine||2 to 3 days|
|Cotinine (a break-down product of nicotine)||2 to 4 days||up to 90 days||2 to 4 days|
|Morphine||2 to 4 days||up to 90 days||1 – 3 days|
|Heroin||1 to 4 days||up to 90 days||1– 2 days|
|LSD||12 to 24 hours||Undetectable||2 to 4 days|
|Methadone||3 days||up to 97 days||24 hours|
|PCP||3 to 7 days for single use; up to 30 days in chronic users||up to 90 days||1 to 3 days|