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.

Approximate values for detection periods
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[6] 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

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