Even though urine drug testing is the most frequent option, at times healthcare professionals perform blood drug testing as well. At times, blood testing is required as part of the pre-employment process, or at the workplace as a random type of testing to find out who used illegal drugs. It is important to know that blood testing is the sole type of test that is legally acceptable to determine/confirm intoxication levels (because urine tests can be tampered with easily).
Types of drugs that can be detected with a blood test
Generally, blood tests can confirm the presence of the following drugs in blood: Marijuana, Amphetamines, Cocaine, Heroin & Opiates and PCP (angel dust). Single use of Marijuana can be detected for about 12 to 24 hours in blood, while regular use can be detected for about 2 to 7 days maximum. It is extremely important to note here that the presence of Marijuana in urine will stay much longer than in blood. In urine, marijuana can be detected even after several months in case of regular use.
Amphetamines can be detected in 24 hours in blood, after which there will be no trace of the substance in blood. On the other hand, in urine the same substance is traceable even after 3 days. Cocaine can be detected in 1 to 3 days after last use, while Heroin and Opiates stay in blood for up to 3 days.
How accurate are blood tests
For recent drug usage, blood tests are the most accurate. However, as you can note from the details above, many of the illegal substances are not traceable in blood after a 24hours to 3 days. Blood tests are not used that frequently because they are more invasive (blood is drawn with the help of a needle), while a urine test does not come with any discomfort.
Yet another important factor is that urine tests can be easily tampered with. People can get access to hundreds of ideas online on how to get a false negative test even while consuming drugs. Some of these methods include diluting urine with eater to modify its concentration or adding certain enzymes to the sample.
Most frequently, they perform blood drug tests at the sites of accidents, or in cases of Driving under the Influence (DUI charges). This way, officials are able to tell quickly if the respective person was indeed under the influence of illegal drugs while provoking the accident for example.
The blood drug test will actually give an indication whether or not the person is under the influence of drugs at the moment the blood is drawn. If someone consumed Marijuana one week ago, and today they are subjected to a blood test, there will be no confirmation of the existence of illegal substances in his system.
Why is blood testing considered the most accurate
Even though blood tests will only tell if the person has used recently drugs, blood tests are considered the most accurate because patients cannot alter them. When during an unobserved urine drug test, people can easily alter their sample one way or another. The blood test is an observed type of testing because the healthcare professional is the one performing the test, and there is no way the sample can be altered.
How to prepare for the test & how it feels
If you have been told that you will go through blood drug testing, there are some things you need to keep in mind. First of all, ensure to let the healthcare practitioner know exactly what prescription medication you are taking (if any). Include here OTC (Over the Counter medication) you might be taking, and inform about the dosages as well.
Blood drug testing comes with a certain level of discomfort. A needle is inserted to draw blood, and you might feel a moderate sensation of pain at the insertion. Check out below another list with detection times of certain medications in the blood:
- Benzodiazepines can be detected for up to 6 weeks (in the case of regular use)
- Codeine will stay in blood for up to 2 days (depending on level of usage)
- Hydromorphone stays for 24 to 48 hours
- Morphine based drugs are traceable for 1 or 2 days in blood.
Check our guide to pass blood drug test.
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