Urine, Saliva and Hair Drug Testing FAQs | TestCountry
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Most Important Questions and Answers about Drug Testing and Drugs of Abuse

Drug testing

Q: What different types of drug tests are there?

A:There are many different types of drug tests. TestCountry sells instant urine and saliva tests, plus laboratory drug testing service and hair tests.

Q: What is the best type of drug test to use?

A: Choosing the best type of test for your purposes will depend on many variables, including your budget, how far back in time the drug test needs to detect usage for and if you need the results instantly or can wait for them. TestCountry’s knowledgable staff can help you choose the best drug tests for your purposes.

Q: Can eating foods that contain poppy seeds cause a positive test result for opiates?

A: Although opiates are derived from the poppy plant and eating poppy seeds does cause your body to produce opiate metabolites, it is not possible for eating food containing poppy seeds to produce a false positive on a drug test because sensitivity standards were raised in the year 2000 from 300 ng/ml to 2000 ng/ml OPI to eliminate the possibility of false positive results that were possible from consumption of large quantities of poppy seeds or poppy seed paste at the lower sensitivity level.

Q: Is it possible for exposure to second hand marijuana smoke to cause a false positive on a test?

A: No. Concentrations of THC metabolites above the cutoff sensitivity level of the test, which would give a positive result, are not possible by exposure to second hand smoke.

Q: What will the control region on a test look like if the test is working ?

A: The control line should always appear regardless of the presence of drugs or metabolites. If the control line does not appear, all results are invalid.

Q: Will commonly ingested substances such as vitamins, over-the-counter pain killers or caffeine affect the results?

A: No. The tests are drug and drug metabolite specific. Because these commonly ingested substances are chemically and structurally different after metabolized by the body from the drugs being tested for, they will not interfere with or compromise test results. Cigarette smoke and chewing gum have been known to interfere with saliva test results. Every test comes with clear instructions, though, on how best to perform the test to avoid false positives or invalid results.

Q: How long can a urine specimen be stored before testing?

A: Specimens can be stored if refrigerated at 2 - 8 C for up to two (2) days (48 hours) or frozen at 0 C or below, before testing. It is strongly recommend testing the sample as soon as possible after collection. For samples that have to be shipped to a laboratory, it is best to ship them immediately after they are taken.

Q: How do I read the instant test results?

A: TestCountry sells a wide variety of instant drug test kits, which all come with their own instructions on how to perform the tests and how to read and interpret the results. It is important to fully read these instructions before attempting to perform any of these tests so you do them correctly and know what the results mean.

Q: What are the standard drug test sensitivity cut-off levels?

A: The table below indicates the standardized threshold concentration levels for lateral flow immunoassay tests established by regulating authorities like the World Health Organization, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. These levels are reviewed and updated periodically to conform to new data on drug development, technology and testing statistics. Concentration is expressed in nanograms per milliliter solution (ng/ml).


Target Drug/Metabolite




50 ng/ml



300 ng/ml



25 ng/ml



2000 ng/ml



1000 ng/ml



500 ng/ml



100 ng/ml



1000 ng/ml



300 ng/ml



300 ng/ml



300 ng/ml


Tricyclic Antidepressants

30 ng/ml



300 ng/ml

Q: What drugs could interfere and cause a positive morphine (opiates) test?

A: Codeine, a commonly prescribed pain medication and also the active ingredient in some prescription cough medicines, and Meperidine are structurally related to morphine and could therefore cause false positive test results. Codeine can also be addictive and can be abused.

Q: If I get an inconclusive test result, what is the likelihood that the test device is defective?

A: Approximately 98% of the time, inconclusive test results or failure to obtain usable test results is the result of user error like failure to follow instructions, inadequate sampling, device contamination, failure to use a timer or other user related factor. This is why it is critically important to read through the instructions completely before beginning the test and then follow them exactly while doing the test. People often expect the testing devices to be accurate regardless of how they are used.

Q: How do people cheat drug tests?

A: Saliva and hair tests are virtually impossible to cheat. Urine tests, however, can be cheated in a number of ways. The most common method of cheating is dilution of the sample, either from drinking an excessive amount of water or other liquid or adding water to the sample once it has been voided. Other ways of cheating include adding a foreign substance to the sample, drinking a commercially available “urine cleaning” substance or substituting a different specimen.

Q: How do drug testers detect cheating?

A: Dilution of a sample by drinking excessive amounts of liquid or by adding water to it afterwards is easily detected by measuring the creatinine levels in the specimen, along with measuring the specific gravity of the sample. Creatinine is produced and excreted by the body at a constant rate and abnormally low levels of creatinine usually indicate a diluted sample.

Specific gravity is the measure of the density of one liquid compared to another (usually water) and an abnormally low measurement of specific gravity for urine typically indicates dilution.

Like all liquids, human urine has an average pH level, which can be tested. An abnormally high or low pH level would be an indicator that something has been added to the specimen to try and throw off the drug test. Some common additives are household cleaning products like bleach.

Abnormally high nitrate levels are an indicator that a commercially available “urine cleansing” product like Klear, Whizzies or UrineLuck has been ingested prior to testing. These products contain nitrates, which are oxidizing agents that attack the drug or drug metabolite molecules when present at high concentrations.

The complete absence of lgG Hormone would indicate that a non-human urine specimen has been substituted for the real specimen or some other type of cheating has occurred, as lgG hormone is found exclusively in human bodily fluids and should always show up if tested for.

Checking the temperature of a fresh specimen is the easiest way of detecting cheating via substitution. A fresh urine specimen should be 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 to 37.8 degrees Celsius).

Q: Will prescription medication cause a positive result on a drug test?

A: Yes. Prescription drugs, if they fall into the class of drug being tested for, will cause a positive test. For example, if a prescription drug is classified as an opiate and you take a drug test that is meant to detect opiates, your prescription drug will cause a positive result on the test. You can find general classifications of prescription drugs by asking your pharmacist or by visiting www.rxlist.com and entering the name of the prescription drug to determine it's general classification and pharmacology.

Q: Can a drug test determine how long ago a drug was taken and over what period of time?

A: The only type of drug test that can determine approximately how long ago a drug was taken and for how long is a hair test (for up to 90 days). Drug testing using urine, saliva or even blood cannot determine these things.

Q: What are the drug detection periods for the most abused drugs and how long after use can drug tests detect drug presence or use?

A: Drug tests that use bodily fluids are designed to detect only if a specific drug or drug metabolite is present at the time the test is performed. Numerous factors unique to the individual being tested determine how long a drug stays in the person’s system. These variables include: age, weight, body fat index, sex, metabolic rate, overall health and amount of drug consumed over what period of time.

This chart gives an example of the approximate amount of time that a drug is detectable in a person’s system after usage. A completely healthy, infrequent user would be at the lower end of the range while an unhealthy, chronic user would be at the higher end of the range. All time ranges are approximations.

Typical Drug Detection and Clearance Times for Drug Testing Using Bodily Fluids

Target Drug

Minimum Detection Period

Maximum Detection Period

Alcohol (Ethanol)

0-4 hours

< or = 6-8 hours

Alcohol (EtG EtS)

0-4 hours

< or = 4-5 days


2-7 hours

2-4 days

Anabolic Steroids

4-6 hours

Oral: 2-3 weeks;

Injected: 1-3 months; Naldrolene: 8 months+


2-4 hours

Short acting type (Alphenal, Amobarbital, Allobarbital, Butethal, Secobarbital): 1-4 days;

Long acting type (Phenobarbital, Barbital): 2-3 weeks or more


2-7 hours

Infrequent user: 3 days; Chronic user: 4-6 weeks

Cannabinoids (THC, Marijuana)

6-18 hours

Infrequent user: up to 10 days

Chronic user: 30 days or more

Cocaine metabolite

1-4 hours

2-4 days


2 hours

1-4 days


1-2 hours

2-4 days


2 hours

2-6 days


1-3 hours

2-4 days


3-8 hours

Up to 10 days

MDMA (ecstasy)

1 hour

2-3 days

Nicotine (tobacco)

4-6 hours

Infrequent user: 2-3 days; Chronic user: 1-2 weeks

Opiates (Heroin, Morphine, Codeine)

2 hours

2-3 days


1 hour

1-2 days

Phencyclidine (PCP)

5-7 hours

Infrequent user: 6-8 days; Chronic user: 3-4 weeks+


4-6 hours

1-2 days

Psilocybin (Mushrooms)

2 hours

1-3 days


1 hour

< or = 8 hours


1 hour

< or = 8 hours

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA)

8-12 hours

2-7 days


Q: What is PCP?

A: PCP is an abbreviation for phencyclidine, which is an arylcyclohexylamine. One street name of PCP is "angel dust".

Q: What is Ecstasy?

A: Ecstasy (MDMA) is a popular recreational drug that is a refined and processed form of amphetamine with a chemical structure closely resembling methamphetamine. Drug tests with a target screen for methamphetamine should also detect Ecstasy, but tests can also be MDMA specific.

Q: What is the difference between Methamphetamine and Amphetamine?

A: Amphetamine and methamphetamine are both potent symphathominetic agents. Methamphetamine is the parent drug. It metabolizes (or changes) into amphetamine in the body. Methamphetamine and/or amphetamine are excreted in the urine. A positive result for Amphetamine can also be interpreted as a positive test for methamphetamine.

Q: What is the difference between morphine, heroin and codeine?

A: Chemically, there is no real difference between these three drugs. All of these drugs are derived from opium or the opium chemical structure and they are all classes as Opiates. The difference between them is primarily in the manner in which opium is refined or synthetically manufactured and the form and method of delivery of each drug.

Q: What does THC mean?

A: THC is an abbreviation for 11-nor-delta9 Tetrahydrocannibinol-9-carboxylic acid, which is the primary metabolite of marijuana. Marijuana itself is a hallucinogenic agent derived from the leaves, flowers or seeds of the hemp plant. The production and "curing" of the marijuana plant into its useable (smokable or edible) form closely resembles that of tobacco. Marijuana is almost always smoked and inhaled into the lungs where it is quickly metabolized (or changed) by the body into 11-nor-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid, which is excreted in the urine. Marijuana can also be eaten if it is baked into edible products or if it is used to create cannabis butter, which in turn is used to make edible products.

Q: What are common street names for drugs?


  • Amphetamine - Speed, amp, bennies, black beauties, chalk, uppers, hi, speed balls, beans, hiballs, beenie babies, eve
  • Methamphetamine - Crystal, meth, ice, glass, speed, icebergs, bergs, ecstasy, MDEA, jib
  • Cocaine - Coke, crank, snow, flake, crack, blow, rock, line, snuff, sugar, snort, stones
  • Marijuana - Pot, weed, herb, bud, MJ, doobie, reefer, joint, blunts, grass, rope, hemp, roach
  • Phencyclidine (PCP) - Angel dust, sherms, star dust, magic dust, dust, silver/gold glitters
  • Opiates (heroin) - Horse, smack, hairy hombre, H, scag, jones, fix
  • Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines - Downers, uppers, highway, lows, reds, barbs, trangs
  • GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyerate) - G, Liquid X, Liquid E, Scoop, Soap, Gook, Grievous Bodily Harm, Georgia Home Boy, Natural Sleep-500, Easy Lay, Gamma 10
  • Rohypnol - roofies, Roche, R-2, rib and rope, rophies

Q: What are the common drugs of abuse and how do they work?

A: Alcohol: Because alcohol is a legal drug, it is often abused and people usually don’t consider its abuse to be as serious as illegal drugs. But alcohol abuse can easily lead to addiction and significant health problems. Alcohol is quickly metabolized by the liver into its principle chemical components that include carbon dioxide and sugars. Alcohol, classified as a depressant, causes slurred speech, loss of motor coordination, impaired judgment, loss of inhibitions and feelings of euphoria. Alcohol, if testing for ethanol, can only be detected through testing for a relatively short period due to its rapid metabolization and elimination. Generally, detectable levels of alcohol intoxication are gone within 12-18 hours if testing for ethanol. However, if testing for EtG and EtS, it can be detected for up to five days. Amphetamine: (AMP) Amphetamines, classified as stimulants, cause alertness, wakefulness, increased energy, reduced hunger and an overall feeling of well being. Large doses coupled with long term usage can result in high tolerance levels and thus dependence on the drug.

The most common source for amphetamine drugs are the prescription diet pills Phentermine. Barbiturates: (BAR) Classified generally as depressants, barbiturates produce a state of intoxication similar to alcohol intoxication. Symptoms include: slurred speech, loss of motor coordination and impaired judgment. Depending on the dose, frequency, and duration of use, a person can quickly develop tolerance, physical dependence and psychological dependence on these drugs. Barbiturate abusers prefer the short-acting and intermediate-acting barbiturates pentobarbital (Nembutal), secobarbital (Seconal) and amobarbital (Amytal). Other short-and intermediate-acting barbiturates are butalbital (Fiorinal, Fioricet), butabarbital (Butisol), talbutal (Lotusate) and aprobarbital (Alurate).

Benzodiazepines: (BZO) Classified as depressants, benzodiazepines are used therapeutically to produce sedation, induce sleep, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms and to prevent seizures. They act as hypnotics in high doses, as anxiolytics in moderate doses and as sedatives in low doses. Like barbiturates, benzodiazepines differ from one another in how fast they take effect and how long the effects last. Shorter acting benzodiazepines, used to manage insomnia, include estazolam (ProSom), flurazepam (Dalmane), quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril) and triazolam (Halcion). Longer acting benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), halazepam (Paxipam), lorazepam (Ativan), oxazepam (Serax) and prazepam (Centrax). Abuse of Benzodiazepines occurs primarily because of the "high," which replicates alcohol intoxication.

Approximately 50 percent of people entering treatment for narcotic or cocaine addiction also report abusing benzodiazepines. These drugs are often consumed by drug abusers to “come down” from other drugs or to help them to sleep, as many drugs of abuse cause abusers to stay awake for days at a time. Cocaine: (COC) Cocaine is made from coca leaves and its effects include: alertness, wakefulness, increased energy and an overall feeling of euphoria. A person who is high on cocaine will often be extremely talkative and will usually be sniffing/snorting constantly. Cocaine may be smoked, snorted through the nose or injected and is an extremely addictive drug. Cocaine is metabolized by the body into the chemical compound Benzoylecgonine. Marijuana: Tetrahydrocannibinol (THC) is the main psychoactive component in marijuana. Classified as a hallucinogen, marijuana is commonly ingested by smoking, but it may also be eaten. Marijuana, the most common recreational drug of abuse, may impair learning and coordination abilities and is most commonly the drug of choice among teenagers and young adults. The hallucinogenic effect of Marijuana can lead to irrational behavior, disorientation, and paranoia, although it rarely leads to actual visual hallucinations.

Low concentrations of THC can be detected in urine for many days after smoking. MDMA (Ecstasy): (MDMA) Methylenedioxymethamphetamine is a designer drug first synthesized in 1913 by a German drug company for the treatment of obesity. Those who take the drug frequently report adverse effects, such as increased muscle tension and sweating. MDMA is not clearly a stimulant, although it can increase blood pressure and heart rate, something it has in common with amphetamine drugs. MDMA does produce some perceptual changes in the form of increased sensitivity to light, difficulty in focusing, blurred vision and extreme feelings of euphoria in some users. The “high” it produces is thought to be via release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and it may also release dopamine, which would explain the feelings of extreme euphoria. The most pervasive effect of MDMA, occurring in almost all people who have taken a reasonable dose of the drug, is to cause them to incessantly clench their jaws. Methadone: (MTD) Although chemically unlike morphine or heroin, methadone produces many of the same effects.

It is primarily used today for the treatment of narcotic addiction. The effects of methadone are longer-lasting than those of morphine-based drugs, lasting up to 24 hours. This is useful in heroin detoxification and maintenance programs because it allows for easy monitoring of doses, as they only need to be given once per day. However, methadone itself is a frequently abused narcotic and is often encountered on the illicit drug market. It has been associated with a number of overdose deaths.

Methamphetamine: (MET or M-AMP) Methamphetamine is classified as a stimulant and is quickly metabolized to amphetamine. It is used in pill or powdered form by snorting or injecting. Crystallized methamphetamine, on the other hand, is inhaled by smoking and is more powerful in this form. Some of the effects of methamphetamine use include: increased heart rate, wakefulness, physical activity and decreased appetite. Methamphetamine abuse can cause irreversible damage to the brain, producing strokes and convulsions, which can lead to death. Ecstasy is a refined and processed form of methamphetamine.

Nicotine: (COT) Most experts and healthcare professionals agree that nicotine is unquestionably the most addictive drug in use today. The primary source of nicotine is tobacco products. Smoking or chewing tobacco results in the absorption of nicotine through the lungs and buccal/nasal epithelium, after which nicotine is metabolized into 20 metabolites excreted in urine, including the primary metabolite cotinine. Cotinine is the primary marker for nicotine tests and tobacco use screening. Smoking has been confirmed as a contributing factor to throat and lung cancer and other major health problems like heart disease. Chewing tobacco, commonly called "snuff," is a refined powdered version of tobacco and has been found to contribute to the development of oral cancers and tumors. Opiates: (OPI) Opiates are any of the many addictive narcotics derived from the resin of the poppy plant. Opiates are classified as analgesics (pain relievers), which work by depressing the central nervous system. They can also depress the respiratory system and doctors often prescribe these types of drugs for severe or chronic pain.

Opiates are extremely addictive, both physically and psychologically and even short time usage normally results in addiction. Common opiates are: Codeine, Darvon, Heroin, Methadone, Morphine, Opium, Percodan, Talwin, Dilaudid and Demerol. Opiates, commonly referred to as "downers," can appear in many forms: white powder or crystals; small white, yellow or orange pills; large colorful capsules; clear liquid and dark brown, sticky bars or balls.

Heroin accounts for the majority of illicit opiate abuse. Some physical indications of opiate use include: extreme loss of appetite and weight, needle tracks or punctures, black and blue marks from "skin popping", scars along veins, cramps, nausea, vomiting, excessive scratching and complaints of itching, excessive sweating, constipation, raw, red nostrils from snorting, runny nose, tiny pupils and watery eyes, reduced vision, drowsiness, euphoria, trance-like states, excessive thirst, tremors, twitching, unkempt appearance, strong body odor, irritability, chills; slight hallucinations and lethargy. Opiates reduce attention span, sensory and motor abilities, produce irrational behavior, depression, paranoia, and other psychological abnormalities.

Oxycodone: (OXY) Oxycodone is found in pharmaceutical drugs like Percodan, Percocet, Roxicodone and Oxycontin. While classified as an Opiate, the chemical structure and metabolite of Oxycodone requires a separate Opiate test with a substantially higher sensitivity detection level than the standard Opiate drug test. Therefore, a positive test result will not only confirm Oxycodone but other opiates, too. In this regard the Oxycodone test is not Oxycodone specific but opiate specific being able to detect Oxycodone/opiate use at the higher sensitivity level required while the 2000 ng/ml sensitivity level of the standard opiate test would not detect Oxycodone. Oxycodone is generally prescribed in oral pill form with the analgesic buffer Acetaminophen. Phencyclidine: (PCP) Phencyclidine hydrochloride, commonly known as "angel dust," is classified as a hallucinogen.

PCP is commonly taken orally, by smoking, by snorting or by injection. Users may exhibit signs of euphoria, anxiety, relaxation, increased strength, time / space distortions, panic or hallucination. PCP use can lead to paranoia and extremely irrational behavior. Once very popular, PCP use has declined dramatically in recent years and is no longer considered a major drug of abuse. Tricyclic antidepressants: (TCA) Tricyclic antidepressants have been prescribed since the 1950s for depression and compulsive disorders. Until recently, they were the primary choice of physicians for the vast majority of people with major depressive disorders. Somewhat ironically, they are often prescribed for symptomatic treatment of drug addiction and withdrawal.

These drugs work by raising the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain by slowing the rate of re-absorption by nerve cells. Usually TCAs are taken over an extended period as results from the drugs are gradual. Because of the possibility of causing serious cardiac complications, TCAs can be lethal if misused at high doses. Abuse of TCAs is often related to the fear of relapse for other drug abuse like alcoholism rather than any any kind of “high” feeling as with other drugs. But the potential for TCA abuse is well established, since the drugs do produce euphoric psychological and stimulatory physiological action in cases of chronic usage. Generic and brand names of the tricyclic antidepressants include Adapin, Amitriptyline, Amoxapine, Asendin, Desipramine, Doxepin, Elavil, Imipramine, Ludiomil, Maprotiline, Norpramin, Nortriptyline, Pamelor, Pertofrane, Protriptyline, Sinequan, Surmontil, Tofranil, and Vivactil.

Q: What are “Date Rape Drugs” and how do they work?

A: Rohypnol and GHB are commonly referred to as date rape drugs. Rohypnol is a sleeping pill marketed by Roche Pharmaceuticals and is a very potent tranquilizer similar to but much stronger than Valium. Rohypnol falls in the general drug class of Benzodiazepines and produces a sedative effect along with: amnesia, muscle relaxation and a slowing of psychomotor responses. The drug is often distributed on the street in its original packaging, which makes it appear legitimate and legal. Originally, illicit use of Rohypnol was reported in Europe in the late 1970s, while the first reports of illegal Rohypnol use in the United States began in the early 1990s. Rohypnol side effects begin approximately 20-30 minutes after taking the drug and peak within two hours. Symptoms of Rohypnol use include: decreased blood pressure, black outs (memory loss), disorientation, blurred vision, aggressive behavior, loss of inhibitions, and extreme anxiety. Rohypnol is known as a rape drug because perpetrators reportedly slip it into a victim's drink causing them to blackout, taking away a victim's normal inhibitions, leaving the victim helpless and blocking the memory of a rape or assault. Rohypnol would test positive for Benzodiazepines in a typical urine test. Testing would have to take place within a few hours of ingesting of the drug, though, because it is out of a person’s system usually in under eight hours.

GHB (Gamma-Hydroxybutyerate) Originally developed as an anesthetic, GHB is naturally occurring and is sold in powdered, liquid or capsule form. It is usually tasteless, but may be recognized at times by a salty taste. GHB was formerly sold by health-food stores and gyms as a sleep aid, anabolic agent, fat burner, enhancer of muscle definition and natural psychedelic. GHB was first synthesized in 1960 by a French researcher and has been used in Europe as a general anesthetic, a treatment for insomnia and narcolepsy, an aid to childbirth and a treatment for alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal. In the last few years it has been gaining popularity as a "recreational" drug offering an alcohol-like, hangover-free "high" with possible pro-sexual effects (dis-inhibition often occurs and inhibitions are extremely suppressed). GHB side effects are usually felt within 5 to 20 minutes after ingestion and they usually last no more than two to three hours. The effects of GHB are unpredictable and vary depending on the dose. Sleep paralysis, agitation, delusions and hallucination have all been reported. Other effects include excessive salivation, decreased gag reflex and vomiting in 30 to 50 percent of users. Dizziness may occur for up to two weeks post ingestion. GHB can cause severe reactions when combined with alcohol, benzodiazepines, opiates, anticonvulsant and allergy remedies. Presently, there are no urine tests for GHB.

Related Links:

Alcohol ETG Urine Testing Resources


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