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Posted on February 23, 2017 in Drugs

How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System?

Drug use has been an ongoing issue in the United States for the past few decades. Recently, drug overdoses have overtaken car accidents as the most common cause of accidental deaths in the country. Consequently, more people are advocating for better awareness programs and educational services to warn Americans about the dangers of drug use. Not only is drug and alcohol abuse unhealthy and potentially fatal on the individual level, it also costs American businesses in missed time from work, insurance claims, and lost productivity.

Drug Tests for Work

Most U.S. employers reserve the right to test job applicants for drug and alcohol use. More recently, companies have started offering reduced health insurance premiums to employees who abstain from nicotine use, as well. Past experimentation with drugs or being in recovery should not preclude a person from future employment.

If you’re facing a drug test for employment, it’s important to carefully assess several factors:

Patterns of Use

Depending on your frequency and the volume you consume, drugs will remain in your system for longer. For example, an occasional drug user will have a much better chance of passing a drug test than a daily user, even if they use the same drug.

Method of Testing

Due to cost constraints, most companies only pay for drug testing done with a saliva sample. This method provides clear results, but in a much smaller window. Hair samples can test positive for much longer than saliva or urine samples but are more expensive and time-consuming to perform.

Time Left Before Your Test

It’s best to completely abstain from all drug and alcohol use once you find out about an impending test. Different substances will remain in your system longer than others, and the method used to take the drugs also can affect test results.

Drug Detection Times

Below are some of the most commonly used drugs in the United States. Refer to this chart, but bear in mind that these timeframes are not consistent for every person, and should therefore only be used as a guideline:

  • Alcohol is detectable in saliva tests for as long as five days; in urine for as long as five days using Ethyl Glucuronide (EGT) testing or 12 hours with traditional testing; blood for up to 12 hours; and hair up to 90 days.
  • Marijuana detectability depends on the frequency of use. A single marijuana use can be detected in urine for up to eight days, but for a daily user it may be detected up to 90 days. Marijuana is also detectable in saliva for up to ten days, blood for two days, and hair up to 120 days.
  • Cocaine and crack-cocaine can be found in saliva up to ten days after the last use, in blood up to 24 hours after the last use, up to 30 days in urine tests, and up to 90 days in hair tests.
  • Methamphetamine is also known as crystal meth or simply “meth,” and it can remain in saliva for up to four days, blood up to three days, urine up to four days, and hair for up to 90 days.
  • The most commonly abused drug in the U.S. is actually completely legal with a prescription. Opioid painkillers, such as oxycodone, will remain in the saliva for up to four days, in urine for up to four days, in blood for 24 hours, and in hair for up to 90 days. If you are given a prescription for these medications, it is absolutely vital that you inform your employer and take extra care to follow your prescribing doctor’s instructions for use.
  • A synthetic and powerful opioid, heroin can be found in saliva and urine for up to four days. However, heroin is only detectable in blood tests for up to six hours. Like most other drugs, it is detectable in hair tests for up to 90 days.

Seek The Right Help

Ultimately, the best way to beat a drug test is to abstain from taking drugs. It’s important to understand how various drugs affect the body and mind, as well as their long-term effects and potential for addiction. If you think you may have a problem, set your pride aside and seek help from a Phoenix drug crimes attorney before your habit worsens.