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How Long Do Drugs Stay In Your System: Answers From Medical Experts


If you are reading this article, you might be interested in how long drugs stay in your system for the following reasons- 

  • Your employer might be looking to conduct organization-wide drug tests as is done by many businesses
  • There might be a pending legal case where law enforcement officials would want to know about drug consumption
  • You are in the midst of a custody battle with your spouse about rights to your children or going through divorce proceedings
  • There are requirements from the detox or recovery centre that you might be planning to check into for rehabilitation

No matter the nature of your requirements, you need to know how long drugs stay in your system. The first thing you should know is that drugs affect different individuals in a variety of ways. 

In other words, no two individuals will have the same retention rates and effects of drugs on themselves. While there are drugs that continue in our system for months, others are only there for days.

Important Factors that Determine the Presence of Drugs in your System

In this section, we are going to look at some critical factors that help determine the nature of the effect and presence of drugs in the human body.

The Type of Drugs which are consumed

The first and probably the most important factor is the nature of the drugs consumed. For example, something like alcohol can be detected in your urine anywhere between three and five days. In terms of its presence in the bloodstream, you will find traces of alcohol within twelve to fourteen hours. The duration of THC goes up to 30 days.

The Quantity of Drugs consumed

The number of drugs you consume plays a key role in determining their presence in your body. This is directly proportional to your body’s ability to process the same and remove it through urine and fecal matter. If you have consumed a lot, the body will take a longer time to rid it. If you have consumed in smaller quantities, the process is faster.

The Metabolism of the Body

Not a lot of research has gone into understanding the effects of the body’s metabolism on drug retention. If you are someone that regularly engages in physical activity, and have a supposedly healthy lifestyle, drugs are going to stay in your system for short periods. This is why seniors or older individuals who have limited physical functions tend to have higher drug retention.

The presence of Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

There have been several studies and researches that have linked longer drug presence in the body with pre-existing medical illnesses. For example, if you have diabetes, the drugs are going to stay in your system for longer spells. The same goes for cancer. If you are healthy, do not have prior illnesses, and hydrate well, you are not going to have drugs in your system for long.

The Age of the Individual

Younger people tend to have better metabolism and the absence of prior medical ailments. This is why if you are younger (in the teen, adolescent, or young adult stage) chances are that your body will be able to process the removal of the drugs much faster. This process slows down as you gradually age and start developing other illnesses or ailments. 

In addition to the above, medical experts have also pointed out that factors like ethnicity, body weight, the tolerance level for drugs, etc. all play some or the other role in determining how long drugs stay in your system. 

Types of Medical Tests that are done to Find Out the Presence of Drugs in your System

In this section, we are going to educate our readers on the various tests that are carried out to find out the presence of drugs in your system

Urine Testing

Testing the urine samples of an individual that is speculated to have consumed drugs has been around for a long time. This was one of the first tests that were devised to successfully find drug presence. Urine testing is preferred because it is simple, easy, and affordable. The technology has become mainstream and is present in almost all pathological laboratories. The conclusive answers from urine testing can be generated in a short time frame.

Hair Testing

One of the major reasons hair follicle tests started being used is because people found a way out of urine testing. In other words, while urine testing was not found to be full-proof, hair testing was. There is no way you can cheat on a hair test. This is usually done to check for the presence of drugs in the body’s systems for longer durations. The period can sometimes stretch to as many as 90 days! It throws light on repeated drug use or frame comparative assessments. 

Saliva Testing

The past few years have seen many organizations take swab samples for drug testing. This is most used in on-spot surprise testing centers in offices or at sporting events. This is impossible to fake as the same is carried out in a completely public place, unlike urine testing. This is also referred to as a Mouth Swab Drug Test and is finding favor with law enforcement practices. 

Apart from the other three, blood tests can also be done to determine the presence of drugs in your system. However, given how they take a lot of time and can be manipulated, the above three ways are the most preferred ones. 

The Final Takeaway

Drug consumption can alter your life in more ways than one. It can affect your personal relationships as well as your professional engagements. Even if you are caught in one instance, it can badly reflect in your career history and prevent you from getting good professional opportunities. If you would like us to address any specific points that have been mentioned in the article, please write to us in the comments below. We will be more than happy to clear as many of your doubts as possible. 

Mehedi Hasan

Mehedi Hasan is an enthusiastic health blogger and the founder member of WOMS. He likes to share his thoughts to make people inspired about their fitness. He is an experienced writer and author on highly authoritative health blogs.

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