Urine drug screens are among the most commonly used tests because they are non-invasive, accurate, and can identify recent drug use. In general, these tests can detect the use of intoxicating drugs after a few hours and for up to several days after the last dose.
That said, the detection window for different types of drugs can vary somewhat, and the length of time and the average amount of the substance used will also be factors. Finally, individual characteristics, such as sex, body fat content, age, metabolic rate, and overall health, can play significant roles in how long it takes for the body to eliminate a substance.
The following are approximate timelines for several of the most popular drugs to be detectable on a urine test.
Casual cocaine (or crack) users have relatively short detection windows for the drug. Cocaine does not typically remain in a person’s system for more than four days. However, persons who use cocaine chronically will usually have longer detection windows. This is because the drug will accumulate in bodily tissues, and heavy binging episodes may be detectable using urine tests for 12 days or longer.
Methamphetamine (meth, crystal meth) affects the CNS (central nervous system) by initiating the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine (adrenaline), and serotonin. Meth effects are similar to those of cocaine but tend to remain in a person’s body for longer. The by-products of meth (metabolites) in the body will be at their highest about 12 hours after ingesting it. These can be detected for up to 2-5 hours after use for 3-5 days with a urine screen.
Amphetamines (e.g., Adderall) are often found as prescription medications indicated to treat ADD/ADHD. A single dose of these drugs can last for several hours. For casual users, urine tests can identify amphetamines for up to 48 hours after the last use. Among regular or heavy users, they may be detectable in the system for up to a week.
LSD effects typically last 6-8 hours but can remain in a person’s system for much longer. As it is broken down and eliminated through urine, it is detectable with urine drug screens for up to five days. Of note, the most common drug tests administered are 5-7 panel and do not often include LSD as an identifiable substance.
Heroin can induce euphoric and sedating effects within seconds of use. Other opioids, such as morphine or prescription painkillers, may take longer. The body eliminates heroin rapidly, but it can be identified by urine drug tests for 2-7 days.
Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium are commonly prescribed Benzodiazepines (benzos). They are indicated for the treatment of anxiety, panic disorder, seizures, alcohol withdrawal, and sometimes insomnia. Benzos vary on how long they are detectable on drug tests. Valium can be identified in urine tests for 3-6 weeks after the last time it was used. Chronic use of Xanax and Klonopin, however, have a general detection time of only 2-7 days.
Marijuana itself only remains in the system for a short time, while THC is detectable for a prolonged period. This is true for both casual and chronic users. THC is stored in the body and can test positive in a urine drug screen for up to 5 days. Marijuana consumed orally, such as in an edible, can remain in a person’s system for longer.
It takes about one hour, on average, to metabolize one standard drink of alcohol, which is generally described as one 12 ounce beer, one 5 ounce glass of wine, or one ounce of spirits (liquor). As with drugs, determining how long alcohol will be detectable in bodily urine depends on many factors. However, alcohol can generally be identified in urine for 3-5 days using the ethyl glucuronide (EtG) test.
PCP (Phencyclidine) and Barbiturates
PCP (Angel Dust) and barbiturates, although they are no longer commonly abused, can often be identifiable on a urine drug screen. For PCP, the timeline for detection is about 1-2 weeks. Barbiturates, such as phenobarbital, can be found in urine for up to 6 weeks.
Getting Treatment for Drug Abuse and Addiction
If you are concerned about passing a drug test for employment or legal purposes, you may have a significant substance abuse problem. If you believe this may be true, we urge you to contact us to discuss treatment options and discover how we can help.
Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers offer comprehensive, long-term treatment programs in partial hospitalization and inpatient formats. Our programs feature evidence-based services and therapies beneficial for the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, psychoeducation, mindfulness therapy, aftercare planning, and more.