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Drugs are detectable for longer than their effects last

On Behalf of | Mar 21, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Alcohol, breath tests and other means of testing confirm the presence of a substance in a person’s system but cannot confirm whether that presence is having an impact on them.

Many drugs are still be detectable in a person’s system long after the impact of those drugs has worn off. The individual will no longer be high or impaired, but that does not mean that the drug has been entirely cleared out of their system as quickly as they may believe that it has been. This is important for drivers to understand, as they may be cited for impaired driving even though substances in their body have long-ago “worn off.”

How long can hydrocodone be detected?

One example is hydrocodone, which is an opioid painkiller. It is similar to other types of opiates and to heroin. It blocks the sensation of pain. Once taken, the effects are generally going to last for around eight hours. However, hydrocodone can still be detected in a urine test for as long as four days. It can be detected in a hair test for as long as 90 days.

Chronic use plays a role

One thing to keep in mind is that the level of use can make a big difference in re: this issue. For instance, say that someone uses codeine once. This is a similar drug to hydrocodone, but it does impact a person a bit differently. In a urine test, codeine is probably only going to show up for about two days. However, if that person is a chronic user who takes codeine daily, it could still show up for a week after they stop taking it.

It’s not just prescription medication that has lasting effects. Marijuana, for example, can stay in someone’s system for weeks, even though a high will only last for a few hours – at most.

Are you facing charges?

If you’re facing drug charges, they can have a major impact on your future. It’s very important for you to understand how the process works, how evidence is gathered and all of the legal options that you have available to you. Seeking legal guidance can help you to mount a strong defense, that may feature the reality that the trace amounts of drugs in your system weren’t causing impairment at the time of your arrest.