Drug Testing Frequently Asked Questions

At NUAA we get lots of members and service users asking us about how long certain drugs stay in their system. The length of time depends on the test used, the amount you take, if you have any other medical conditions and your metabolism. 

What is a Drug Test?

Drug testing looks for traces of drugs in your body. Most drug tests in Australia ask you to provide samples of breath, urine or saliva. Drug testing can only let the testers know if you have used drugs, not the amount taken, when they were taken, or if you are impaired., Except for alcohol breath testing that measures impairment.

What Types Of Drug Tests Do They Do In Australia?

Most tests in Australia ask you to provide samples of breath, urine or saliva. You will be asked to provide a fresh urine sample or asked to provide a cheek swab.

  • Breath test is used to measure Alcohol Impairment and is used by police and workplaces.
  • Urine tests for all prescription and illicit drugs, including some forms of synthetic cannabis. Tests can be modified to detect particular substances. Used by: Workplaces, drug treatment centres, and sporting bodies.
  • Saliva tests for cannabis, methamphetamines, MDMA (ecstasy), cocaine, opiates and some benzodiazepines. Used by: Police and workplaces.

How long do drugs stay in your system?

Most lists you find can only give you an estimation of how long it will take for a drug to leave your system. Below is a guide to help you if you have to take a drug test. Remember the length of time varies from person to person. 

Alcohol 3 – 5 days in urine and around 10 – 12 hours in your blood.

Amphetamines 1 – 3 days in urine and 12 hours in your blood.

Barbiturates  2 – 4 days in urine and 1 – 2 days in your blood.

Benzodiazapines 3 to 6 weeks in urine and 2 – 3 days in your blood.

Cannabis 7 to 30 days in urine and two weeks in your blood.

Cocaine 3 – 4 days in urine and 1 – 2 days in your blood.

Codeine 1 day in urine and 12 hours in your blood.

Heroin 3 – 4 days in urine up to 12 hours in your blood.

LSD 1 – 3 days in urine and 2 – 3 hours in your blood.

MDMA (ecstasy)  3 – 4 days in urine 1 – 2 days in your blood.

Methamphetamine (crystal meth) 3 – 6 days in urine and 24 – 72 hours in your blood.

Methadone 3 – 4 days in urine and 24 – 36 hours in your blood.

Morphine 2 -3 days in urine 6 – 8 hours in your blood.

I have heard you can beat a drug test

At NUAA we get lots of people asking us about different methods to beat drug tests. There really isn’t anything you can do or take that will help you pass a drug test. The only guaranteed way to beat a drug test is to not take a drug or wait until the drug has passed through the body. Below are some of the most common myths people ask NUAA about. 

Does drinking lots of water help me pass a drug test?

If you have to do a urine drug test drinking lots of water, sports drinks etc all this will do is dilute your urine. Many urine tests measure the natural creatinine levels in your urine and if these a low it will be obvious you where trying to beat the test by drinking lots of water.

Hardcore exercise will help you pass a drug test

Some evidence suggests that working up a sweat will indeed aid the body in efficiently processing a drug’s metabolites faster than it may otherwise. But newer studies suggest that intense workout sessions actually increase your odds of failing a drug test depending on the ways in which the metabolites bind to fat cells.

I have been told taking Aspirin will help me pass a drug test?

An extremely dangerous myth is if you take an overdose of aspirin you will pass a drug test. Overdosing on aspirin will not help anyone pass a drug test and it can actually cause kidney and liver failure if the overdose is severe. Over the counter pain medications don’t influence urine or saliva drug tests in any way.

My mate told me you can buy cures on the internet that can help you pass drug tests

Save your money these cleansing cures that are advertised and sold on the internet won’t help you pass a drug test. These cures advertise that they will flush all of the toxins out of your body and as a result your urine will be drug free. However, THC metabolite stays in our fat cells and will continue to come out in your urine for anywhere between days to months. These cures may be very good for cleaning out our digestive tracts, but they won’t help you pass a drug test.

Where Can I get More Information?

Check out more information about drug testing in the workplace.

User’s News Issue 85 also had an article about drug testing in the work.

Check out more information about road side drug testing.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation has additional information about road side drug testing.