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What are detection times for drug testing?

Windows of Detection Chart

There are varying detection times involved in drug testing depending on many factors plus also the specimen type used for testing.  As show on the image above hair specimens have the longest detection time followed by urine, oral fluid and finally blood.  Other factors that determine drug use detection times include:

  • When the individual consumed the drug
  • How potent the drugs are
  • Hydration levels
  • Physical activity
  • Body mass
  • Drug detection times can be much longer for people with increased fatty tissues, because some drugs, or their metabolites, tend to accumulate in those tissues.

Common Questions we Receive on Drug Test Detection Times

  • How long does marijuana stay in my system?
  • If I used cocaine last weekend, will it show up in my pre-employment test?
  • How long do drugs stay in my system?

The answers to these questions vary depending on many factors.  Most notably these include the specimen type used for the drug test – blood, oral fluid, urine, or hair.  The different drugs that we test for also have varying detection times.  The chart below lists the various drugs and the approximate detection times for those drugs.  It is important to note these values are not exact, they are approximate because of many different contributing factors.

Drug Test Detection Times

DrugBlood SpecimenOral Fluid SpecimenUrine SpecimenHair Specimen
AmphetamineWithin minutes to hours5 – 48 hours1 to 3 daysUp to 90 days
MethamphetamineWithin minutes to hours5 – 48 hours1 to 3 daysUp to 90 days
CocaineWithin minutes to hours5 – 48 hours2 to 4 daysUp to 90 days
Phencyclidine (PCP)Within minutes to hours5 – 48 hours14 days up to 30 days in chronic userUp to 90 days
MarijuanaWithin minutes to hours5 – 48 hours14 days up to 30 days in chronic userUp to 90 days
OpiatesWithin minutes to hours5 – 48 hours2 – 3 DaysUp to 90 days
BarbituratesWithin minutes to hours5 – 48 hoursShort acting: 2 days, Long acting: 1 to 3 weeksUp to 90 days
BenzodiazepinesWithin minutes to hours5 – 48 hoursTherapeutic dose: 3 days, Extended dosage, or chronic use (1 or more years): 4 to 6 weeksUp to 90 days
PropoxypheneWithin minutes to hours5 – 48 hours6 hours to 2 daysUp to 90 days
MethadoneWithin minutes to hours5 – 48 hours3 DaysUp to 90 days

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