Drug Testing Facts

Maybe you’re applying for a job, and you have to get drug tested before they’ll hire you.  Or maybe you’ve backed up into the legal system and you have to go to Drug Court where you’ll be tested regularly.  On this page we have some drug testing facts for just about everyone.


How long does alcohol stay in your system?  Most people think that the body metabolizes one ounce per hour, so that in a very short time after you’ve had a drink the evidence will be gone.  But hold on a minute-there are advanced technologies that allow tests to detect alcohol in the system long after it’s been ingested!

The most common way to test for alcohol is a breathalyzer followed by confirmation with a blood test.  And of all testing methods, the blood test is the most accurate.  Breathalyzers can be fooled, not by breath mints, but by products such as mouthwash-which will increase the alcohol reading-or by changing your breathing pattern.

The cheapest method for testing is a urine alcohol test.  One of the most surprising drug testing facts is that urine tests can detect alcohol up to 80 hours after it was ingested!  Some testers also use saliva tests, another backup for the breathalyzer.  In 2008 the alcohol hair test was developed, but at this writing it’s really expensive and not all that reliable.


Here’s another little-known tidbit from drug testing facts:  People who carry more body fat will test positive for marijuana much longer than slender people!   Someone who is thin with a fast metabolism might test negative after just 3 days.  But a chubbier person with slow metabolism can test positive for thirty days after he gets high on grass.  Now there’s a sobering thought!

What if you’re in a room where someone else is smoking?  You’re not likely to test positive.  Now, if my job were on the line, I wouldn’t hang out in the room with a bunch of potheads!  But if you test positive for marijuana, then you’ve been smoking marijuana.

Other Drugs

Aside from alcohol and marijuana testing, most drug tests cover a whole suite of other substances.  Here are drug testing facts for those substances:

  • You will test positive for amphetamines two to four days after use.
  • Barbiturates such as phenobarbitol will stay with you for two to three weeks.  Shorter-acting pills such as secobarbitol will leave your system after a day.
  • Benzodiazepines remain with you for up to a week.  These include Xanax, Valium, Librium, Ativan, Rohypnol, Tranxene, Ambien, and others.
  • Cocaine will show up for two to four days.  (Yes, this is crack.)
  • PCP (phencyclidine) stays with you for two to four days.
  • Codeine is detectable for up to five days.
  • Propoxyphene-think Darvocet-remains in your system for one-half to two days.
  • Anabolic steroids stay with you for two weeks if you’ve ingested them orally, or up to a month if injected.
  • LSD shows up for up to four days.
  • Opiates-Oxycodone, Hydrocodone-take four days to be eliminated.
  • Euphorics such as Psilocybin and Ecstasy are detectable for up to three days

The US Government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration takes the position that if you are tested as part of an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), your drug test results cannot be given to your employer.  You cannot be punished for positive testing if you are already seeking help.

If you’ve been using and you need to mask it for a test, try your local nutrition store for a product.  Expect to pay $40-$60 for something that will work.  You can also try intense exercise, intense eating, and drinking lots of water-but don’t hold your breath!


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