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You are Here: Home > Workplace > Drug Testing in the Workplace - 5

Drug Testing in the Workplace

Drug Detection Time for Drug Testing in the Workplace

Drug Detection Time
Drug Time
Alcohol 6-10 hours
Amphetamine 1-2 days
Anabolic Steroids Injected:
up to 9 months
up to 3 weeks
Barbiturates 1-4 days
Benzodiazepines 1-6 weeks
Cocaine 1-4 days
Codeine 1-2 days
Hashish 1 day - 5 weeks
Heroin 1-2 days
LSD 8 hours
Marijuana 1 day - 5 weeks
Mescaline 2-3 days
Methadone 1 day - 1 week
Methamphetamine 1-2 days
Morphine 1-2 days
Mushrooms 8 hours
Opium 1-2 days
PCP 2-8 days
Quaalude 2 weeks

Drug detection time indicates approximately how long after use, that a drug or the resulting chemical changes (metabolites) might be detected in the specimen you submit for drug testing in the workplace. Drug detection time is listed in the table to your left, for commonly abused drugs.

The table was derived from Commonly Abused Drugs in "The Sixth Triennial Report to Congress" published in 1999 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They've published a more recent version of Commonly Abused Drugs through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a division of the HHS. However, at this writing, it does not include drug detection time for drug testing in the workplace.

Consequently, drug detection times for the commonly-abused drugs listed in the table might have changed while workplace drug testing evolved over the years.

Additionally, drug detection time depends on several variables, such as the rate at which your body processes (metabolizes) a drug, how often you use it, the type of specimen (e.g., urine or hair) you submit for drug testing in the workplace, and the workplace drug testing method used.

For example, the drug detection times in the table are for urine analysis. Typically, hair analysis can detect drugs for longer periods of time. That's because hair grows while retaining traces of the drug or resulting metabolites from one's body.

Because of the variables, drug detection time depends on the source that you consult. For example, Test Clear, a company that provides drug-test information and products, indicates that the most-commonly reported drug detection time for marijuana in urine specimens is 3 to 30 days.

However, Test Clear also indicates that there's no accurate answer to the question, "How long does marijuana stay in your system?" So, it's no surprise that the marijuana drug detection time reported by the HHS is up to five weeks (35 days), which is five days longer than the 30 days most-commonly reported.

Five days can make the difference between failing or passing a workplace drug test, especially for frequent smokers. Typically, the high end of a drug detection time range is for frequent users of the drug indicated. That's because frequent use sustains the drug or resulting metabolites at a higher level than does infrequent use.

So, according to the table above, a frequent smoker of marijuana would likely need to stop smoking at least five weeks in advance, to be somewhat sure that the resulting metabolites would dissipate enough to pass drug testing in the workplace.

Next Page > Workplace Drug Testing Cutoff Levels
Drug Testing in the Workplace > 1234 • 5 • 6

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