Last updated: September 25, 2023
Drug testing is routine when you’re applying for a new job and, in some states, government benefits. Passing a drug test may also be key to keeping your employment status. One question people often ask is “How long do drugs stay in my system?” There is no one answer, however, because different drugs stay in the human body longer than others, and some testing methods may be able to test for drugs for a longer time period.
For example, alcohol can show up in a urine test up to five days after consumption, even though blood samples only show the presence of alcohol up to twelve hours. During a drug test via hair, alcohol can be present for 90 days. Heroin stays in the body for the same amount of time.
Marijuana stays in the body for much longer. It spends two weeks in the blood stream and between seven and 30 days in your urine. However, many drugs exit the system much quicker than marijuana. A blood test has to catch codeine within 12 hours while urine drug testing will come back positive for codeine after a day.
Drugs known as barbiturates spend up to four days in urine and two days in blood. Benzodiazapines are present in urine between three and six weeks while appearing in blood test up to three days later. Cocaine and ecstasy are in urine for four days and in blood for two days. Methadone has a similar timeline. Finally, methamphetamine stays in urine up to six days and in blood up to 72 hours.
If being drug-free is part of your parole or probation agreement, stringent testing can show if you’ve cheated. In fact, the only drug that can’t be detected within 90 days is LSD, which spends just three days in your hair.