Approximate Duration of Detectability and Common Cutoffs for Selected Drugs

DrugMetaboliteWindow of DetectionComments
AlcoholAlcohol7–12 hEthyl 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 glucuronideUp to 5 d
 Amphetamine (AMP)MAMP1–3 dNote 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.
 Methamphetamine (MAMP)>100 ng/mL of AMP+MAMP1–2 d
 3,4-MethylenediozyAMPMDA1–2 d
 3,4-MethylenediozyMAMPMDMA1–2 d
 Pento/secobarbitalSecobarbitalShort-acting, 4–6 d
 ButalbitalSecobarbitalIntermediate, 3–8 d
 PhenobarbitalSecobarbitalLong-acting, 10–30 d
 TriazolamHydroxyethyl flurazepamShort-acting, 1 dMost 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.
 Clonazepam7-amino ClonazepamIntermediate, 1–12.5 d
 DiazepamOxazepamLong-acting, 5–8 d
 Chronic useCan last 30 d after last use
CocaineBenzoylecgonine1–3 d
CannabinoidsCarboxy-THCSingle use, 1–3 dNote 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)Nor-LSD4 h
MethadoneMethadone and metabolite 2-ethylidene-1,5-dimethyl-3,3-diphenylpyrrolidine1 d–1 wk
 Morphine (M)Morphine1–2 d
 Codeine (C)Morphine and codeine1–2 d
Semisynthetic opiatesHydrocodone1–2 d
Hydromorphone1–2 d
Oxycodone1–3 d
Oxymorphone1.5–2.5 d
Heroin6-acetyl-morphine +morphine<24 h up to 1–2 d6-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.
Phencyclidine (PCP)PhencyclidineCasual use, 2–10 d
Chronic use, several weeks