Addiction | 4 min read
Medically Reviewed By
On June 19, 2023
On June 19, 2023
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.
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.
Drug tests are used to screen for various drugs, both prescription and illicit drugs.
Drug tests are commonly used to test for:
Note that not all drug tests screen for the same types of substances, nor do all drug tests have the same level of sensitivity.
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.
Drug Type/Detection Window
|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|
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.
Several factors contribute to how long a drug stays in your system, including:
Drugs can be stored in a person’s body fat, 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.
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 than their younger counterparts.
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.
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.
No. Drugs are broken down into other substances by the body, and over time, these substances are eliminated and therefore become undetectable.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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