Drug testing is a prerequisite for entering a profession, participating in international sports, and for those accused of committing some crime. There are many aspects to the testing process. These are complicated and many face problems, as they are unaware about the facts about passing drug tests.
Authorities who conduct drug testing include prospective employers, medical insurance companies, military, and the police. Schools also conduct drug tests for students participating in a sport. Many times, those who conduct drug testing are often labeled as insensitive, unscrupulous, and some are even accused of disregarding human rights. Parents have forced, and would continue to do so in the future, their children to undergo these tests when they have been suspected of using drugs.
Drug Testing Samples
This testing is done by chemically analyzing a sample of the body which includes blood, other body fluids such as saliva and urine, and the human hair. The actual process of testing is carried out in a controlled atmosphere. The dependency and the accuracy level depends on the type and level of drug abuse.
Here are some types of testing material:
- Hair: This testing conducted with hair, as the testing sample, is used to detect those drugs which have been used for long periods and were taken in heavy doses. However, a test done with the hair would not be able to detect any recently used drugs.
- Blood: Among the many drug testing sources, blood remains the most accurate one though expensive. Till recently, the Federal Drug testing program has not permitted the blood as a medium of drug analysis.
- Saliva and Sweat: The accuracy level of testing with saliva and sweat is high but not exactly very popular.
- Urine: Urine is the most commonly used medium for drug testing for the detection of recent and occasional use of drugs. It is also the cheapest way of testing.
- Residue: The fastest and the most accurate method is the drug residue left after a drug use. However, residues are found very rarely as drug users tend to take utmost care to conceal their actions.
Detection Time of Some Common Drugs
- Amphetamine : 2-5 days
- Barbiturates (Short acting) : 2 days
- Barbiturates (Long acting) : 3-4 weeks
- Benzodiazepines : 7-10 days
- Cannabis (THC, Marijuana) : 5-60 days
- Clenbuterol : 4-6 days
- Codeine : 5-7 days
- Cocaine : 1-4 days
- Euphoric (Ecstasy, Shrooms) : 5-7 days
- Ketamine (Special K) : 5-7 days
- Methamphetamines : 5-7 days
- Nicotine (Cigarettes) : 4-10 days
- Opiates : 5-7 days
- Peptide hormones : undetectable
- Phenobarbital : 10-20 days
- Phencyclidine (PCP) : 2-4 days
- Propoxyphene : 6 hours to 2 days
- Steroids (anabolic oral) : 14-28 days
- Steroids (anabolic parentally) : 1-3 months
Factors affecting Drug Detection
- Metabolism of the user: A person having faster metabolism, can rid the body off the substance in a shorter duration and in a faster way as compared to others.
- Frequency of use: The frequency of the use of drugs plays a very important role during testing. The detection time of a drug is longer in a person who has been taking the drug more frequently.
- Tolerance level of the user: The prolonged use of the drug takes the tolerance level much higher in the user, which makes the detection time of the drugs much shorter.
- Body weight of the user: The detection period of the drug lasts much longer in a person whose body weight is more, as the dilution of the drugs takes longer in a body with a higher weight.
- Potency level of the drug: The detection level also depends on the potency level as higher the potential, higher are the chances of detection and vice versa.
The detection time of a drug depends upon the analysis method used; drug metabolism, tolerance, and physical condition of the person. Furthermore, many other conditions such as fluid intake, the method, and frequency of ingestion of the drug, etc., must be considered.
There have been cases wherein a person has failed to clear a test, without any mistake on his/her part. It may be because he/she has no knowledge of how to pass a drug test. It is necessary that anyone undergoing a drug test, should be prepared with the facts about clearing drug tests and should be ready to face the consequences that would follow.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.