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How long do drugs show up in tests?

On Behalf of | Jul 1, 2024 | Drug Crimes

Those facing charges for using illegal drugs may wonder what type of evidence the authorities can gather. For instance, if they were given a drug test, would they fail it?

There are many different factors to consider when using drug tests. The results depend on the type of test that is used and the type of drug, as different substances will show up for very different amounts of time. Some tests are more reliable than others, or they last for a longer time period. All of this can affect the results of those tests.

It’s not like a breath test

One common mistake people make is assuming that drug tests are like alcohol breath tests: They show the level of impairment at the time. But this isn’t necessarily true because many drug tests will show evidence of past use even long after that impairment has worn off.

For instance, use of opioids like morphine or codeine could show up for 1 to 3 days in a urine test. Ecstasy, on the other hand, could show up for one to five days. Chronic use of a substance like PCP could be discovered through a urine test for up to 30 days.

But these are certainly not the only options that the authorities can use. Hair follicle tests can often allow for drug detection up to six months after use. There are also tests based on saliva, sweat and blood. These can all show different results with various substances.

Navigating your case

That said, evidence of past drug use may just be one type of evidence being compiled against you. If you are facing serious drug charges, such as accusations of illegal sales or drug distribution charges, make sure you know exactly what criminal defense options you have.