Drug testing timelines help you to understand just how long drugs will stay in your system. This can include your blood, urine, saliva, and hair. Drug detection times are a point in time where drug testing will prove positive for drug traces in your hair, urine, or saliva.
Some of the drug testing isn’t testing the drugs in your system but the presence of one or more metabolites. The body chemically alters the drug by metabolizing it and this can be detected through urine tests. This range is from the time you took the drug to the point you will test clean. Most drugs will appear in your blood, saliva or urine for up to 8 hours. A hair test can detect drugs for up to one week after you used.
How long each drug stays in your blood, urine, and breath can vary. The methods of drug testing also has variable windows of detection. Drug testing timelines will have a lot to do with many factors. Your physiological makeup, height, weight, how much body fat you have, your age, your state of health presently, your exercise patterns and your state of mind. When you take drugs, how you’re feeling at that moment can play a part in how long drugs stay in your system. How often you use drugs and for how long will also be a contributing factor. Addiction plays a role in how quickly your body will get rid of the drugs also.
The Varying Detection of Drug Testing Timelines
The following is a list of drug testing timelines and what the variables are. It’s likely that if you’re addicted and use a drug chronically, it will have a longer duration window where you will test positive. Although you’ve built up a tolerance, you are likely not healthy and have a slow metabolic rate.
- Single or small doses of any given drug won’t last as long in your system and are not as easily detected.
- If you have a fast-metabolic rate, you will have a shorter detection of the drug in your body.
- Your body mass will determine how fast or slow your body metabolises. Those with more fat content will have the drug remain in the body for longer.
- If you’re physically active, the drug won’t be detectable for as long as someone who is overweight and out of shape. This is due to less body fat which means a reduced number of metabolites that can store themselves in your fat cells.
- Your age may define the speed of drugs leaving your system. As we age, our metabolism tends to slow down.
- If you have a tolerance to any given drug, this can lead to a shorter time of detection.
- The pH of your urine can have something to do with drug detection. Having more acid in your urine will create a shorter detection timeline.
Why is there Drug Testing?
Even prescription drugs can fall under scrutiny in a job setting. As drug abuse among prescription drugs have become such a problem, this is one of the drug tests in pre-employment screening. Especially when it comes to positions where safety is paramount, drug testing is administered. There were over 9 million urine drug tests done within the U.S. workforce in 2015.
Pre-employment drug testing is primarily a urine sample but they may ask for blood, saliva, sweat, or hair also. For jobs that require a high level of safety, there may also be random drug testing.
Drug Testing Options
Many people will opt for a urine sample to determine if someone has been using drugs. It may be used during detox. The urine drug test screening is quick, convenient, and quite accurate. Even after the effects of the drug has worn off, urine is still capable of detecting its presence. Drug testing timelines do vary depending on what type of drug it is. Urine drug tests in a job setting will usually be screening for amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, nicotine, and alcohol. Urine tests target metabolites within the body and not the psychoactive element of the drug. The number of metabolites in your urine may increase and decrease which can lead to different results within the drug testing detection window.
Saliva tests measure the parent compound of the drug you took. The higher the level of the compound, the more drugs are in your system. Saliva is good for measuring how impaired you are in the short-term. Oral testing is when your mouth is swabbed. Saliva holds traces of chemicals that indicate drug use. It’s not as popular as blood or urine tests as it only detects drug and alcohol use for a few days. It’s helpful for recent drug use detection. Saliva is a simple lab test that can be used to test for alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamines.
Blood tests are the most effective way to detect concentration levels of alcohol and drugs in the body. Blood tests also indicate the parent compound of the drug you’ve taken. It does take longer to develop than urine testing but it can determine how intoxicated you are. For alcohol testing, it is good for up to 24 hours after you’ve stopped drinking. Blood drug tests may be used in an employment setting to detect if drugs are in a person’s system. The drugs that can be found in blood include; amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates, nicotine, and alcohol. As most drugs only have a detection period of less than 48 hours in blood, there will usually be a supplemental urine sample included. THC and Nicotine can be detected for many weeks with a blood test however.
Hair drug testing is effective for determining drug use over a longer time. By analyzing hair for chemical traces, drugs like cocaine, marijuana, opiates, methamphetamine, and phencyclidine can be detected. As hair grows slowly, drugs can be detected for months or even years afterwards. The processing time is longer than urine or blood testing but it’s the best long-term method. Note that a hair sample can be taken from anywhere on your body. Your hair only needs to be 1.5 inches when used as a drug test sample. If you have longer hair, your drug detection timeline will be longer.
Drug testing is necessary for protecting people in many areas of life. For those working on job sites that require you to be fully functional for safety reasons, drug testing may be necessary. Even legal drugs can become a problem when they alter your brain functions. Opioid prescription painkillers are being misused by many sadly. Marijuana is legal in many states now but that doesn’t make it safe when you need to operate equipment.
The three common tests are designed to cover all the bases of drugs in your body. While urine measures the by-product compounds metabolites, they don’t detect the drug itself. Blood and saliva measure the parent compound.
Blood, urine, and saliva drug tests may also help within a drug rehab setting in outpatient programs. Maintaining the truth about your recovery to parties that have invested in you is helpful. Even if you can convince yourself that you’re okay, these drug tests reveal that more recovery is needed.
The various kinds of drugs out there metabolize differently in the body. They also remain in the blood for varying times. If you’ve been taking drugs and you are tested outside of the detection window, it’s possible your test will come up negative. The detection windows above were created to offer the full range of possibility. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to come up negative if the detection window is outside of the parameters. Every body deals with drugs differently.
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