The human body counts with a complex and sophisticated system that helps us eliminate toxins and unwanted substances — including illegal drugs. The substance elimination process depends on the type of drug that the subject has been exposed to. Each drug has a window of detection, which is the time for a drug screening to be able to identify the remaining clues of a drug in our system. In this article, we will expose the drug testing timelines for the five most abused drugs.


Overall, our bodies eliminate over 90% of alcohol through the liver, while the rest eliminates through urine, sweat, or breath.

The alcohol detecting timeline varies according to the biological sample examined during a drug test. Here is how:

  • Blood. Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) is a lipid molecule that produces due to alcohol intake, PEth can be detected in blood within 1 to 2 hours to 12 days of alcohol consumption.
  • Urine. Alcohol can last from about 10 -12 to up to 48 hours in urine.
  • Oral Fluid. Alcohol contamination in oral mucous can last up to 24 hours.


Marijuana screenings aim to find the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) — the chemical compound of marijuana that causes a hallucinogenic sensation.

Moreover, the detection of marijuana varies depending on the biological sample that is in testing. Here is how:

  • Urine. Generally, THC lasts around 1 to 3 days for non-regular users. Meanwhile, it could last up to 30 days for chronic users.
  • Sweat. Marijuana tends to last from about 7 to 14 days in sweat samples.
  • Oral Fluids. Cannabis could last up to 24 hours in saliva.
  • Hair. Marijuana could last up to 90 days in the hair samples.


Patients with severe trauma or pain commonly receive opiates used as analgesics as treatment.

 Unfortunately, beyond medical purposes, opiates are one of the most abused drugs.

There is a wide variety of opiates, but we will provide a general input of the most commonly used — that being codeine, morphine, and heroin:

  • Urine. Opiates could last from 2 to 5 days in urine samples.
  • Sweat. They can last for about 7 to 14 days in sweat samples. 
  • Oral Fluids. They last about 1 to 36 hours.
  • Hair. They can last up to 90 days in hair samples.


 Many individuals use Benzodiazepines substances as sedatives or to ease anxiety. Xanax, Valium, and Ativan are common examples of prescribed benzodiazepines.

The benzodiazepine window of detection varies according to each sample. Here is how:

  • Urine. It can last up to 7 days after drug intake.
  • Hair. Benzodiazepines can last up to 90 days in hair samples.

Benzodiazepines are in urine and hair while Methamphetamine is found in urine, sweat, and bodily fluids.


Lastly, Methamphetamines are addictive stimulants that affect the central nervous system in order to release chemicals like serotonin and dopamine.

According to the next biological samples, here is how the detection time for methamphetamines works:

  • Urine. Methamphetamines can be detected in a lapse of 2 to 5 days.
  • Sweat. Methamphetamines can last for about 7 to 14 days in sweat samples.
  • Oral Fluids. Methamphetamines last about 1 to 48 hours in saliva.
  • Hair. Methamphetamines can be detected in hair samples up to 90 days after consumption.

It is important to acknowledge that the drug detection time could vary in each person. Some factors that affect the window of detection are drug dose, route of consumption, frequency of use, metabolism, and test sensitivity.

Soteria Screening Laboratories count with quality protocols that aim to ensure accurate results. Feel free to contact us today to know more about our drug screenings. We are here to help. 


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