Meth Detection Timelines [INFOGRAPHIC]

A visual representation of the amount of time meth remains detectable on urine, hair, saliva, and blood tests.

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Drug Name: Methamphetamine
Drug Class: Stimulant
Street Names: Glass, Ice, Speed

What Is a Drug Test?

The simplest way to describe a drug test is to define it as a tool which detects drug presence. In fact, a drug test is a formal way of searching for psychoactive drugs in the blood, urine, sweat, or hair.  Drug testing is a common and frequent practice in many companies; standard drug tests are routine in some industries, especially to government jobs or during military service. It may also be required for your school.

Meth Detection Timelines [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Drug testing is a common practice by employers to determine if their employees or job applicants are using drugs. It can identify evidence of recent drug, alcohol or prescription medication abuse. But drug testing can also provide you with the opportunity to face an addiction problem and look for treatment options. If you like to learn more about drug testing, download our FREE e-book The Definitive Guide To Drug Testing.

How do most people drug test for meth?

The testing clinic will use a sample of your urine, hair, blood, or saliva in order to determine if you have meth in your system or not. To bring the subject of drug testing to light, we’ve created this meth infographic. More here, with a section at the end for your questions.

Meth Detection Times

Q: How long does meth stay in your system?
A: Detection times for meth depend on what form of drug test is ordered.

Urine. A urine drug screen is designed to help doctors detect potential drug abuse problems. If the test identifies meth presence doctors can help you start a treatment plan. Taking urine drug tests throughout substance abuse treatment helps to ensure that you no longer take meth. The detection window for meth on a urine drug test is between 3 to 10 days after your last use.

Hair. Drug metabolite(s) are incorporated into the hair from the bloodstream after drug use. Hair drug testing detects drugs that are embedded in the hair. A standard test of 1.5 inches of hair cut close to the scalp can provide 90 days window to detect meth ingestion.

Saliva. Saliva (oral fluid-based) drug tests are used to detect drug use during the previous few days. Oral based tests enable the employer to randomly test employees, which is recognized to be the most effective type of drug screening. Testing is usually performed by employers, for pre-employment, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, or return-to-duty testing. Saliva drug test will show meth presence 2-4 days after your last use.

Blood. This type of test uses blood sample, usually extracted from your vein with a needle, or through finger stick, to detect the presence of meth. A blood test is considered the only way to determine legal intoxication. Meth is detectable in blood for 1 -3 days after the last use.

Factors That Influence Meth Detection Times

The ability to identify the amount of time meth has been in your system depends on:

  • How fast your body metabolizes meth.
  • How often you use meth.
  • Meth cut off levels (least amount needed to measure).
  • The type of drug test use (hair, urine, sweat, blood).
  • The way you administer meth (snorting, smoking, intravenous).
  • Your body size and weight.

NOTE: Meth drug detection times in urine, blood, and saliva are an average and can vary greatly by individual. The information in this infographic are general guidelines only.

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Your Questions

We believe we’ve covered the basics about meth detection windows on various types of drug tests. However, if you still have any remaining questions, feel free to use the section below. We will try to respond to all real-life questions as soon as we can.

Reference Sources: Utah Department of Health: Methamphetamine
NCBI: Methamphetamine Disposition in Oral Fluid, Plasma, and Urine
The Department of Health: Detection time for selected drugs in urine
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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