Approximate Duration of Detectability and Common Cutoffs for Selected Drugs
Window of Detection
Ethyl succinate and ethyl glucuronide can persist in the urine up to 5 d after heavy alcohol use. However, use of hand sanitizer, mouthwash, cough syrup, etc, can result in low levels without “alcohol use.”
Ethyl succinate, ethyl glucuronide
Up to 5 d
Note that methylphenidate is not detected on a routine amphetamine panel; therefore, a positive amphetamine test result cannot be explained by use of a methylphenidate preparation.
>100 ng/mL of AMP+MAMP
Short-acting, 4–6 d
Intermediate, 3–8 d
Long-acting, 10–30 d
Short-acting, 1 d
Most benzodiazepine screens identify oxazepam and will not pick up all benzodiazepines. If evaluating a patient for benzodiazepine use, it is important to find the specific drug on the test panel or speak with the laboratory personnel.
Intermediate, 1–12.5 d
Long-acting, 5–8 d
Can last 30 d after last use
Single use, 1–3 d
Note that synthetic cannabinoids will not be picked up on a cannabinoid screen. If use of synthetic cannabinoids is suspected, speak to the laboratory regarding availability of tests for these substances.
Moderate use, 4 d; heavy use, 10 d
Chronic, 3–5 wk after last use
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)
Methadone and metabolite 2-ethylidene-1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine
1 d–1 wk
Morphine and codeine
<24 h up to 1–2 d
6-acetyl-morphine is pathognomonic for heroin use but has a narrow time window and is most often not detected on a drug test. A test that is positive for morphine outside of the use of prescribed morphine is suggestive of heroin use.