The Truth About Drug Tests, Part 1: Types of Tests and Detection Times

by 8 years ago

As most of you already know, there are several different types of drug testing systems and each one gives a different detection time.

Saliva tests are becoming more common these days. They are relatively inexpensive and only require a quick swab of the mouth. If you are subject to a saliva test, you have less reason to worry because this method can only detect drugs in your system three days after use (and only a few hours in some cases). But if you get one sprung on you there is really no good way to fake it because they will most likely just have you swab right in front of them. This type of test is mainly used by employers, so just make sure to be clean for job interviews and be wary of random screenings.

This test isn’t used outside of unconscious people in hospitals because the detection window is usually less than a day.

Be afraid, be very afraid. Hair tests are becoming more common because they have the largest detection window — 90 days and up for all drugs — and they can’t be faked. They are the most expensive tests so they are only used for big-time companies and government agencies or any employer that hates drugs and will shell out hundreds of dollars to stop despicable, drug-using vermin from joining their ranks (basically anyone who thinks the War on Drugs is a good idea).

In extremely basic terms, the test works because blood flow feeds the growth of your hair and your hair is always growing so whenever there are drugs in your blood, the metabolites get trapped in the hair. When performing the test, they cut your hair at the scalp and use the shortest inch and a half or less for testing (which is about 90 days' growth). So apparently they can test for drugs farther back if they wanted to if you have long enough hair. It will take five to 7 days for your hair to grow long enough to be tested. The only possible way to get out of this I can think of is to wax off all your body hair (eyebrows, pubes, ass hair, etc.) so they can’t get a sample. They’ll probably be wise to your trick and not give the job to your nekked mole rat–looking ass but, hey, it’s worth a shot if you want the job bad enough. Tell them you’re a big swimmer. It would at least be hilarious.

Hair tests only detect THC, cocaine, opiates, MDMA, PCP, and amphetamines. I don’t know if you were keeping track there, but that leaves a shitload of hallucinogens and pills.

The old piss drop: the most common and least expensive test. This is the test you will most likely encounter because it is used by probation and parole departments as well as most employers. The detection times vary greatly from a few days to several weeks depending on the type of drug. In addition, metabolism, body weight, and fat percentage, as well as level of activity contribute to how long the drugs will be detectable. Here is a list of average detection times for different drugs in a urine test:

  • Marijuana: 2 to 5 days, but true weed smokers (the all-day, everyday kind of guys) can test positive even 2 to 3 months after use.
  • Alcohol: 1 to 12 hours (seriously, you know you have a problem if you test positive for alcohol).
  • Amphetamines: 1 to 2 days.
  • Anabolic Steroids: Up to 3 weeks if taken orally; 3 to 6 months (or more) if injected.
  • Barbiturates: 2 to 3 days.
  • Benzodiazepines (Ativan, Klonopin, Rohypnol, Valium, Xanax): 2 to 8 days.
  • Cocaine: 1 to 2 days.
  • Codeine: 1 to 2 days.
  • GHB: 1 to 2 days.
  • Heroin: 1 to 2 days.
  • Ketamine: 2 to 4 days.
  • LSD: Only a few hours to 5 days.
  • MDMA (Ecstasy): 1 to 5 days.
  • Methadone: 1 to 7 days.
  • Methamphetamines: 2 to 4 days.
  • Methaqualone (which I think you need a time machine to find in America): 10 to 15 days.
  • Opiates: 1 to 2 days.
  • Oxycodone: 1 to 2 days.
  • PCP: 1 to 8 days.

If you're now saying “Well, ain’t that a b*tch,” the good news is that urine tests usually allow opportunities to fake your results. Tomorrow, we'll explain the various methods of pulling a Vinny Chase.

TAGSCocainedrug testsDrugsMarijuana