Amphetamines, which are a type of drug that works to increase the presence of some chemicals in the brain, are commonly used for their stimulant abilities. Taking them can help increase energy levels and spurs the brain to communicate faster across neurotransmitters. People take them to gain confidence, reduce inhibitions, self-medicate mental health disorders and stay awake. Overuse can lead to addiction, and some can have deadly consequences when overused.
How long are amphetamines detected? This question is common in people who are using the drug improperly, such as to get high or to improve their ability to study or focus. It’s important to understand how amphetamine detection occurs and how long it is possible to spot the drug in a person’s system.
The short answer to this question is that it ranges from one drug to the next. Adderall, for example, can remain in the system for three days, but its half-life (the length of time at least half remains in your body) is generally 9 to 14 hours. There’s more to this to know, though.
Why Are People Drug-Tested for Amphetamines?
Amphetamines are considered a Schedule II control substance. This means they are at high risk for becoming abused when used. Doctors prescribe them to help people with conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. Sometimes, doctors prescribe them to people who are obese. Any outside use of a prescription is considered illegal in the United States.
As a result, many reasons exist for determining if there are drugs in a person’s system. It is common for employers to drug-test employees, for example, to ensure it is safe for them to work. Illicit-use detection is important in those who are convicted of a crime. Testing also occurs in schools and private organizations. In people who have a substance use disorder, routine testing for amphetamines is sometimes done to ensure a person remains sober.
Are Amphetamines Normally Tested?
Most drug screenings, such as those related to employment screenings, will look for amphetamines present. Because methamphetamine is one of the most difficult to control addictive substances once a person begins to use, testing for it is nearly always done in drug panels by health care screening, employment drug tests and other types of background checks. The most common method for testing for amphetamines is in urine, but it is also done through blood tests. In even less invasive testing, health care workers can use a strand of hair to detect the presence. Keep in mind that, in hair, use over a much longer period can be detected.
Amphetamines Detection in Blood
How long is meth in your blood? Most blood tests are only effective for four to six hours after a person uses the drug. After this point, the amphetamines are no longer racing through the body to provide their effects. This can be somewhat different between various drugs, though. A good rule of thumb is that if you feel the effects of using amphetamines, it is still possible to detect it in the blood in most cases. The meth detection window may be slightly longer, for example, than dextroamphetamines.
Amphetamines Detection in Urine
How long is meth in urine? The most common method for testing for meth and other amphetamines is through urine testing. Various factors impact how long stimulants are in urine, including the type as well as the amount consumed. Typically, a positive urine test is likely for four to six hours after consumption. However, it will remain detectable for up to three days. If a test comes back positive, that generally means a person has used amphetamines in the last one to four days. However, in those who are regular uses of the drug, this can extend for up to a week after the last intake.
With methamphetamine, it is common to detect for up to three days. Other rugs, such as 3, 4-methylenediozydamphetamine and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDA and MDMA), can be detected for up to two days in urine. Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine can remain present for up to five days.
For this type of detection, users will need to urinate into a sample container. Health care workers then analyze the urine through a testing process to determine if amphetamines are within it. This test takes just a matter of minutes to complete.
Amphetamines Detection by Oral Fluid (Saliva)
An oral fluid test can sometimes be used for amphetamine detection. Though it is not as commonly used, it can provide insight into use in the last 24 to 48 hours after intake. Because this is an easy method for gathering drug use information, it is commonly used in police-related testing. The process does not take long and is not invasive.
The most common method is to use an absorbent pad or swab to wipe the saliva from the inside of a person’s mouth. In situations where evidence is being collected, such as after a vehicle accident or assault, multiple collections may be performed at one time. That’s because a single sample can only be tested one time.
Amphetamines Detection in Hair
An effective way of detecting the presence of amphetamines in a person’s body for a much longer time is through a strand of hair. Hair collects substances within each strand for months or longer. That is why it is possible to gather insight into drug use for as long as 90 days after intake of amphetamines.
However, hair tests do not provide insight into recent use. They also typically are less accurate for occasional drug use, such as a one-time use of amphetamines. That’s because it can take seven to ten days for a substance to travel from the bloodstream into the hair follicles, and for the hair follicles to grow enough to show the presence of the drug.
There are some limitations to using hair as a detection method. For example, color can impact the testing results. Darker hair typically has more methamphetamine in it than those who may have a lighter color hair. That happens just because the drug tends to bind better with darker colors. Other factors play a role in accuracy, too, such as if a person uses chemical treatments on their hair, the growth rate of hair and a person’s overall hair hygiene.
Ways That People Try to Alter Test Results
It is not uncommon for people to try to find a way to beat drug testing for amphetamines. Athletes, employees, those with a criminal background and those with a substance use disorder may be tempted to take this route if they’ve used in the past and do not want to get caught doing so now.
One example of this is to try to switch out urine for another substance (or another person’s urine) during the drug tests. There are products purchased over-the-counter that some people may try to take that make the test ineffective, for example. Synthetic urine tests may have a similar pH balance, which makes it seem authentic. Other people try to use household chemicals as a way to alter their drug results. Yet, new testing helps to limit the effectiveness of any method.
If You’re Trying to Alter Results, You May Need Help
Men and women who knowingly worry about the amphetamine drug tests and detection windows are generally people who have used the drug recently. Those who use prescription drugs properly are less likely to have such testing completed to look for specific high-risk illicit drugs, such as the presence of meth.
Ask yourself, honestly, if you may have an addiction. With amphetamines like meth, it is very hard to simply stop using on your own. You may need addiction treatment through a licensed therapist. Many people with an amphetamine addiction need a detox program with residential care because of how intense such addictions can be. If you are trying to avoid drug tests showing positive results, reach out for substance abuse treatment instead.
FHE Can Help You
FHE provides comprehensive substance abuse treatment, including for amphetamines. If you are at risk, take the time to contact our compassionate counselors today to learn about the support we offer. Call us, 24 hours a day, at (844) 299-0618.