How long do drugs stay in your system?


How long does it take for drugs to be processed by my body? How long can drugs be detected in my body? When can I drive and go to work after taking drugs, without putting myself and others at risk?

With the number of Australians taking drugs growing, these are questions that more and more people are asking. And while it would be great to have a definitive answer, unfortunately it’s not that easy. Drugs affect people differently, so while one person could potentially be safe to drive and work 8 to 10 hours after smoking cannabis, another person certainly wouldn’t.

Here are some other insights about drugs and how long they take for your body to process:

  • The level of drugs in a person’s system will depend on a range of individual factors such as sex, age, tolerance, general health, metabolism and mood.
  • The strength and quantity of drugs taken, how they were administered and the mix of drugs also plays an important role in determining how long drugs stay in the body.
  • Even a small amount of cannabis can be detected several hours later in a drug test.
  • Methamphetamine, such as ICE and speed, can be detected for up to 24 hours and even longer after they were taken.
  • Similarly, ecstasy can be detected for 24 hours after use and even longer in some circumstances.
  • It’s important to remember that like alcohol, drug users can be affected by after effects long after they’ve taken their last drug. These effects can include tiredness, anxiety, irritability and general wellbeing, which can all affect how safe they are to drive and work.

What this means is that if you are driving and working, the only way to stay safe is not to take drugs at all. In fact, according to the Drugs Info website, most drugs take at least 24 to 48 hours (depending on the quality and quantity) to be processed by your body. This means that even for the occasional drug user who uses on a Saturday night, they could still have drugs in their system when they go to work on Monday.

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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