Addiction | 4 min read

How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System? [Infographic]

Medically Reviewed

Medically Reviewed By

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

On June 19, 2023

Written By

Amanda Stevens

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

On June 19, 2023

How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System? [Infographic]

What you will learn

  • Different substances have different detection windows.
  • A drug test screens for the presence of a drug in a person’s body.
  • Drug tests are commonly used to test for amphetamines, Cannabis, Crack/Cocaine, Opiates/opioids, Barbiturates, and Benzodiazepines.
  • The types of blood tests include Urine, Blood, Saliva, Hair, and Sweat.
  • Factors that influence the detection window include Body Fat, Dosage, Hydration, Frequency of Use, Metabolism, and the Type of Drug.
Reading Time: 4 minutes

There are many reasons why one might be administered a drug test or need drugs to metabolize and leave their system quickly. Job requirements, school, or even the beginning of the addiction treatment process might leave you curious as to how long drugs stay in your system.

The answer is nuanced. Every drug–and everybody–is different. Let’s break down what a drug test is and does, what drug tests look for, the types of drug tests, and how long drugs are detectable in the body.

What Does A Drug Test Actually Do and How Do They Work?

A drug test screens for the presence of a drug in a person’s body. When an individual consumes a drug, the drug is processed and transformed into a substance known as a metabolite. Each drug has its own specific metabolite, which can then be screened using a biological sample such as urine or saliva.

A drug test is typically interpreted as a positive or a negative. However, a positive result does not mean that the individual was under the influence of the drug at the time of the screening but, instead, that there is enough of the drug in the body to be detectable since the last use.

What Kinds Of Drugs Do Drug Tests Look For?

Drug tests are used to screen for various drugs, both prescription and illicit drugs.

Drug tests are commonly used to test for:

  • Amphetamines (methamphetamine, ecstasy)
  • Cannabis/cannabinoids (THC, marijuana)
  • Crack/Cocaine
  • Opiates/opioids (heroin, morphine, codeine, fentanyl)
  • Barbiturates (phenobarbital)
  • Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium)

Note that not all drug tests screen for the same types of substances, nor do all drug tests have the same level of sensitivity.


What Are The Types Of Drug Tests

Note: the length of time a drug is detectable in your system depends on several factors, from the type of drug to your own body’s makeup.

What Are The Types Of Drug Tests? [SEE INFOGRAPHIC ABOVE]

  • Urine Test: the most commonly used type of drug test. Urine tests can be used at home or in a facility.
  • Blood Test: One of the most sensitive screening methods, blood tests are able to detect drugs in the system through a blood draw.
  • Saliva Test: Saliva is collected using a swab and then tested for substances.
  • Hair Follicle Test: Able to detect drug use over longer amounts of time, hair tests are one of the most accurate forms of drug testing.
  • Sweat Test: This test screens for substances in the system through a patch on the skin.

How Long Are Certain Drugs Detectable in Your Body? [SEE INFOGRAPHIC ABOVE]

Drug Type/Detection Window

Urine Blood Saliva Hair Sweat
Adderall Up to 4 days Up to 24 hours Not commonly tested 90 days Not commonly tested
Cocaine 2-4 days 12-48 hours 12-72 hours 90 days Up to 1 week
Crack 2-4 days 12-48 hours 12-72 hours 90 days Up to 1 week
Heroin 2-7 days 12-36 hours Up to 3 days 90 days Up to 1 week
Fentanyl Up to 3 days 12-48 hours Up to 2 days 90 days Up to 3 days
Marijuana Up to 30 days Up to 7 days 1-2 days 90 days Up to 2 weeks
Methamphetamine 2-5 days 12-48 hours 2-3 days 90 days Up to 1 week
MDMA 2-4 days Up to 24 hours 2-3 days 90 days Up to 1 week
Phencyclidine (PCP) 7-14 days 24-48 hours 2-3 days 90 days Up to 1 week

Why Can Drug Tests Detect Substances in Urine Longer Than in the Blood?

Some drugs remain in the system for longer than others. Blood tests screen for drugs that are still in your bloodstream, but once your body has broken these substances down, they are no longer detectable in the blood.

Urine drug tests screen for the metabolites that have been left behind in your body after the drugs have been broken down. Metabolites can still be found in urine even after the drugs are no longer in your bloodstream.

What Are The Factors That Affect How Long Drugs Stay In Your System?

Several factors contribute to how long a drug stays in your system, including:

Body Fat

Drugs can be stored in a person’s body fat[1], and their elimination can be slowed down in individuals with a high body fat content.


The amount of the drug taken can affect how long the drug is detectable. A higher dose will typically take longer for the body to eliminate.


How hydrated an individual is can impact how long a drug stays in the body. Someone who is adequately hydrated will “flush out” drugs much more quickly than someone who is dehydrated.

Frequency of Use

How often a person consumes drugs can affect how long drugs are detectable in the system. Regular drug use can result in a buildup of the drug or its metabolites in the body, making it detectable for longer periods of time.


A person’s metabolism is a factor in how long a drug stays in the system. People with faster metabolisms may process and eliminate drugs much more quickly than someone with a markedly slower metabolism.

Although age is not the only contributing factor in a person’s metabolism, as the body ages, the metabolism slows down, which means an older person may eliminate drugs from the body much more slowly[3] than their younger counterparts.

Type of Drug

Not all drugs metabolize at the same rate. Some drugs stay in the body for only a few days, while some drugs remain in the system for far longer. For example, cocaine is typically not detectable after a few days, while marijuana use can result in a positive drug test several weeks after the last use.[2]


Frequently Asked Questions on How Long Drugs Stay in Your System

Can You Fake a Drug Screening?

Although there are many products on the market for “fake urine” and people who attempt to dilute their urine or have someone stand in for them, this very rarely works. The consequences of faking a drug test are not worth the risk. Lost jobs, legal trouble, and losing the trust of your friends and family are all a possibility when you attempt to fake a drug test.

If you’ve reached the point in your substance abuse that you are considering faking a drug test, know that help is available. You do not have to live with a crippling addiction.

Can Drugs Be Detected In Your System Forever?

No. Drugs are broken down into other substances by the body, and over time, these substances are eliminated and therefore become undetectable.

What is the Most Sensitive Drug Test?

Each drug test is different. The sensitivity of a drug test depends on the specific drug being screened, the type of sample collected, and the purpose of the screening. Drug test sensitivity also depends on the facility performing the test and the specific test kit used.

What’s the Best Way to Get Drugs Out of Your Body?

The best way to get drugs out of your system is through medical detox at a reputable substance abuse treatment center. Detoxing from some drugs can be dangerous to do on your own and lead to unbearable withdrawal symptoms and risk of overdose.

Detoxing under the care of medical providers allows for a safer, more comfortable experience.

Is Detoxing From Drugs Painful?

Traditional detox methods are known for being uncomfortable, painful, and even dangerous. Modern advancements in medical science have made it so that those struggling with a drug addiction can detox in a comfortable, low-risk way through the use of medications and under the supervision of medical staff.

What Happens Once You are Done Detoxing from Drugs?

Detox doesn’t mean you’re no longer addicted to substances, even if your body has kicked the addiction. Addiction is very psychologically driven and requires drug abuse treatment programs to prevent relapse.

Will My Insurance Cover Admission to Ascendant NY?

We work with most major insurance carriers. At the time of your initial consultation, we will confirm your benefits with your insurance provider. Most major insurance companies cover substance use treatment options and mental health care.

Rid Your Body of Addictive Substances Safely–For Life

If you or a loved one is suffering from a substance abuse disorder, you are not alone. Help is available, and recovery is within your reach. You deserve to live a life free from addiction. Call and speak with a member of our team and let us know how we can help you get drugs out of your system for good.

Ascendant New York Editorial Guidelines

Here at Ascendant New York, we understand the importance of having access to accurate medical information you can trust, especially when you or a loved one is suffering from addiction. Find out more on our policy.

Amanda Stevens


Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. Read more

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[1] Schaefer, N., Nordmeier, F., Kröll, A. K., Körbel, C., Laschke, M. W., Menger, M. D., Maurer, H. H., Meyer, M. R., & Schmidt, P. H. (2020). Is adipose tissue suitable for detection of (synthetic) cannabinoids? A comparative study analyzing antemortem and postmortem specimens following pulmonary administration of JWH-210, RCS-4, as well as ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol to pigs. Archives of toxicology, 94(10), 3421–3431.

[2] Hadland, S. E., & Levy, S. (2016). Objective Testing: Urine and Other Drug Tests. Child and adolescent psychiatric clinics of North America, 25(3), 549–565.

[3] Mangoni, A. A., & Jackson, S. H. (2004). Age-related changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics: basic principles and practical applications. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 57(1), 6–14.