Alcohol Information -
e.g. Beer, wine, spirits, etc and the UK legal Drink Drive Limit
Although alcohol is a legal substance used by many, there is
clear and undisputed evidence that it impairs the user. Accordingly,
there is a legal drink-driving limit of 80 mg/dl or 0.08% BAC
(Blood Alcohol Concentration) enforced by law in the UK and USA.
For information on drink drive limits in your country visit our
Drink Driving Limits for DUI / DWI page.
Alcohol is broken down by the liver at the rate of approximately
one unit per hour (a pint of normal strength beer being two units).
Consequently, it is possible to still be under the influence the
following morning if you have drunk excessively the night before.
In fact, every year in Britain over 25,000 people lose their driving
licences the morning after a night's drinking.
To exercise caution, the following calculation can be used to
estimate your level of risk after having drunk the night before.
1 Unit of alcohol = ½ Pint ordinary strength beer
1 standard glass of table wine
1 standard glass of sherry
1 single measure of spirits.
It is advised that you allow a minimum of 1 hour per 1 unit of
alcohol before driving or operating heavy machinery or electrical
equipment in order to ensure that you are not under the influence
This simple formula will help:
Number of units drunk - Number of hours
since last drink = Alcohol content
For example: A person drinks 6 pints of an ordinary strength
beer (12 units) finishing drinking at 11pm. They start work at
8am the following day. (9 Hours later).
12 Units - 9 hours = 3. In this scenario, the person could still
have 3 units of alcohol left in their body whilst driving to work
the following day - risking both Police prosecution and the safety
of others. 3-4 Units will bring most people to the UK / USA legal driving
limit. Please exercise caution.
For test kits to screen for alcohol, please visit our alcohol
test kit page.
Controlled substances Overview - Illegal
Controlled substances come in a variety of forms, (each carrying
different lengths of prison sentence for possession if not under
prescription from a qualified medical professional). They all
induce different effects and are classified by the Misuse of Drugs
The main classes of controlled drugs you may come across are:
Amphetamines / Amphetamine
Information- e.g. Speed, Whiz, Uppers, Dexies:
Amphetamines are central nervous system stimulants that give
the user increased energy, reduced appetite and an overall feeling
of wellbeing. Found in the form of white pills or powder, Amphetamines
may be inhaled, injected, or swallowed. Street names include uppers,
wake ups, bennies, dexies, jollies, speed and whiz. Short-term
effects include an increase in talkativeness, aggressiveness,
breathing rate, heart rate and blood pressure, reduced appetite,
dilated pupils, visual and auditory hallucinations, sweating and
compulsive, repetitive actions. Amphetamines are detectable in
urine using the
Amphetamines drug test kit (AMP) for 2 to 6 days at a cut-off level
of 1000 ng/ml. <<
Barbiturates / Barbiturate
Information - e.g. Barbs, Block-Busters:
Barbiturates are prescription sedatives. Commonly abused Barbiturates
include amobarbital (Amytal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), and secobarbital
(Seconal). Typically in the form of multicoloured tablets and
capsules, this class of drug has numerous street names including
barbs, red devils, goof balls, yellow jackets, block-busters,
pinks, reds and blues. When abused, Barbiturates mimic alcohol
inebriation causing mild euphoria, reduction of inhibitions, relief
of anxiety and sleepiness. Higher doses cause impairment of memory,
judgement and co-ordination, irritability, and paranoia.
Barbiturates are detectable in urine using the
Barbiturates drug test kit (BAR) for 3 to 8 days at a cut-off level
of 200 ng/ml. <<
Benzodiazepines (tranquillisers) Information - e.g. Benzos, Tranx:
Benzodiazepines (otherwise known as tranx or benzos) are a group
of structurally related drugs widely prescribed for depression
and sleeping disorders. They have sedative-hypnotic, muscle-relaxant,
anti-anxiety & anticonvulsant effects and are usually administered
orally in tablet or capsule form. The family of drugs include
oxazepam, temazepam, diazepam (valium), chlorazepam, prazepam,
halazepam and chlordiazepoxide.
Please note that even when correctly prescribed by a Doctor,
Benzodiazepines may interfere with the ability of some users to
perform certain physical, intellectual and perceptual functions.
For this reason, people who are prescribed benzodiazepines should
consult with their Doctor before they operate a motor vehicle
(or heavy machinery) or engage in tasks requiring concentration
and good co-ordination. Such activities may become more dangerous
if Benzodiazepines are used together with alcohol or antihistamines
(found in many cold, cough and allergy remedies).
Benzodiazepines are detectable in urine using the
Benzodiazepines drug test kits (BZD) for 2 to 14 days (depending on
the drug) at a cut-off level of 300 ng/ml. <<
Buprenex, Temgesic and Suboxone):
Buprenorphine is a potent analgesic often used in the treatment
of opioid addiction. The drug is sold under the trade names
Subutex™, Buprenex™, Temgesic™ and Suboxone™, which contain
Buprenorphine HCl alone or in combination with Naloxone HCl.
Therapeutically, Buprenorphine is used as a substitution treatment
for opioid addicts. Substitution treatment is a form of medical
care offered to opiate addicts (primarily heroin addicts) based on
a similar or identical substance to the drug normally used. In
substitution therapy, Buprenorphine is as effective as Methadone
but demonstrates a lower level of physical dependence.
Concentrations of free Buprenorphine and Norbuprenorphine in urine
may be less than 1 ng/ml after therapeutic administration, but can
range up to 20 ng/ml in abuse situations. The plasma half-life of
Buprenorphine is 2-4 hours. While complete elimination of a
single-dose of the drug can take as long as 6 days, the typical
detection window for the parent drug in urine using a
Buprenorphine drug test kit is approximately 3 days at a
cut-off of 10 ng/ml.
Cannabis / Cannabinoids / THC /
Marijuana Information - e.g. Weed, Pot, Grass, Hash:
Cannabis is the most commonly abused illegal drug. It is a derivative
of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa) and can take several physical
forms including dried plant material (a green or grey mixture
of dried, shredded flowers and leaves), blocks of resin and small
containers of Cannabis oil. Slang terms include weed, pot, grass,
ganja, hash, hashish, herb, skunk, draw and gangster. Most users roll loose
Cannabis into a cigarette called a "joint". It can be
smoked in a water pipe, called a "bong", or mixed into
food or brewed as tea. If someone is intoxicated by Cannabis,
he or she may have balance problems and have trouble walking.
Their eyes may appear red and bloodshot and he or she may exhibit
memory difficulties. When the early effects fade, over a few hours,
the user can become hungry and later sleepy.
The active ingredient of cannabis (THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol)
is detectable using the
Cannabis test kit (THC) for typically 14 to 28 days for
frequent use of the drug, or around 5 days for a one-off use, at a cut-off level of
50 ng/ml. The reason for this long retention time is that THC
binds with the body's fat reserves - and leaches out over a number
of days. You will also undoubtedly have patients who claim that
they are positive due to passive smoking. Let us assure you that
this is not the case. The cut-off level of the test is set at
a level much too high for passive smoking to affect the test results.
For more information on Cannabis / Marijuana, please visit our
Cannabis Information - Class, Signs, Symptoms and Effects
Cocaine Information - e.g. Coke,
Cocaine, otherwise known as coke, charlie, snow, blow, big C,
white, nose candy, crack, rock, and freebase is derived from coca
leaves whose properties include increased energy and an overall
feeling of euphoria. It is a potent stimulant and one of the most
powerfully addictive drugs. It comes both in the form of a white
powder that is snorted and white crystals (freebase or crack)
that are smoked. Visible signs of cocaine use include dilated
pupils, increased temperature, heart rate and blood pressure,
insomnia, loss of appetite, feelings of restlessness and anxiety.
Cocaine's effects are relatively short lived, and once the drug
leaves the brain, the user experiences a "coke crash"
that includes depression, irritability, and fatigue. Cocaine is
detectable in urine using the
Cocaine drug test kit (COC) for 2 to 5 days at a cut-off level of 300
Please also see our
Cocaine information - Facts, Signs and Symptoms page for more
Heroin (a member of the opiate family)
Information - e.g. H, Smack, Dope, Junk:
With such street names as H, dope, junk, skag, brown and smack;
Heroin is an addictive narcotic drug derived from the opium poppy.
It comes in the form of a light brown or white powder that can
be heated and injected or smoked in a rolled joint or cigarette.
Heroin interferes with the brain's ability to perceive pain and
activates the brain's pleasure system.
When injected or smoked, users report a surge of pleasurable
sensation or "rush." Often, the rush is accompanied
by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and a heavy feeling
in the limbs. Nausea and vomiting may also ensue. Use of Heroin is detectable
in urine using the Drug-Aware
Opiates / Morphine drug test kit (MOR) for 2 to 5 days at a cut-off
level of 300 ng/ml. Other opiates (such as codeine in some pain
medication and cough syrups) can also be detected, regardless
of the detection method, so please determine any recently taken
medications prior to conducting the test.
If you would like more information, please visit our
heroin overdose, withdrawal and addiction page. <<
Inhalants (or solvents) Information:
Inhalants are ordinary household or industrial products that
are inhaled or sniffed by solvent abusers to achieve intoxication.
There are hundreds of household products on the market today that
can be misused as inhalants, including glue, nail polish remover,
cleaning fluids, hair spray, petrol, the propellant in aerosol
cans and correction fluid. When inhaled via the nose or mouth
into the lungs in sufficient concentrations, inhalants can cause
intoxicating effects that can last a few minutes or several hours
if inhalants are taken repeatedly.
For more information, visit our
solvent abuse information page. <<
Ketamine Information - e.g. Ketaject,
Special K, Vitamin K:
Ketamine hydrochloride is a central nervous system depressant
and a fast-acting general anaesthetic with sedative-hypnotic,
analgesic, and hallucinogenic properties. Used as a general anaesthetic
in both human and veterinary medical practice, Ketamine is normally
found in injectable form. However, it can be converted into a
white powder (for snorting or smoking) and re-packaged in small
sealed bags or capsules. Street names include Special K, Vitamin
K, new Ecstasy, psychedelic heroin, Ketaject, and Super-K. Ketamine
is not detectable using Drug-AwareTM diagnostic tests. <<
LSD Information- e.g. Acid, Trips:
LSD is the most common hallucinogen and is one of the most potent
mood-changing chemicals. It is manufactured from lysergic acid,
which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other
grains. It is often in the form of printed blotting paper that
is placed on the tongue. Other forms include coloured tablets,
clear liquid, and thin squares of gelatine. Slang terms include
Acid, tabs, doses, trips, hits, or sugar cubes. The effects of
LSD are unpredictable. They depend on the amount taken, the user's
personality, mood, and expectations and the surroundings in which
the drug is used. The physical effects include dilated pupils,
higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure,
sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors.
However, sensations and feelings change much more dramatically
than the physical signs. The user may feel several different emotions
at once or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. LSD is found
in the body in concentrations too low to be detected by a visually
read diagnostic test kit. Consequently, laboratory tests are needed
to screen for LSD.
For more information, visit our
LSD information page. <<
Magic Mushrooms Information -
e.g. Shrooms, Caps:
Certain types of naturally occurring mushrooms contain hallucinogenic
chemicals that can be released when eaten. The mushrooms produce
a syndrome similar to alcohol intoxication (sometimes accompanied
by hallucinations). Once ingested, magic mushrooms generally cause
feelings of nausea and other physical symptoms before the desired
mental effects appear. The intoxication from using mushrooms is
mild and consists of distorted perceptions. Effects may include
different perceptions of stimuli like touch, sight, sound and
taste. The onset of symptoms is usually rapid and the effects
generally subside within 2 hours. Physical effects can include
sweating, a feeling of nervousness and paranoia. Common nick-names
include shrooms, caps and magic mushrooms. Magic mushrooms are
not detectable using Drug-Aware diagnostic tests. <<
MDMA, or Ecstacy Information - e.g. E,
MDMA or Ecstasy (3-4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a synthetic
drug with amphetamine-like and hallucinogenic properties. Known
as E, Adam, ecstasy, XTC, and X, MDMA often comes in tablet form
that is branded, e.g. Playboy bunnies, Nike logo, Mitsubishi logo,
etc. This is commonly considered to be a dance or 'rave' drug
used by younger people. External physical symptoms of use include
muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision,
rapid eye movement, faintness and chills or sweating.
MDMA, or Ecstasy is detectable in urine using the
Methamphetamine drug test kit (MET) for 2 to 6 days at a cut-off level
of 1000 ng/ml. Please also be aware that higher doses of Ranitidine
(a medication used to control stomach acid) has been known to
give a positive result on numerous brands of Methamphetamine test
kits. Please determine any recently taken medications prior to
conducting the test. A genuine Methamphetamine or MDMA positive
sample will frequently prove positive on the Amphetamine (AMP) test
as well because Amphetamine is one of the breakdown products of
those drugs. <<
Methadone is prescribed to people who take heroin (or other opiates)
to help reduce the risks of their illicit drug use. Methadone
is usually prescribed as a green liquid for oral consumption but
it also comes in injectable and tablet forms. When taken,
methadone creates a sense of well-being and absence of stress
which is much less intense but much longer acting than that
produced by heroin. Other side effects include constipation, small
pupils, sweating and itchy skin. Please note: if used by someone
who is not opiate dependent this drug can prove fatal. Methadone
is detectable in urine using
Methadone drug test kits (MTD) for 2 to 8 days at a cut-off level of
300 ng/ml. <<
Phencyclidine / PCP Information - e.g. Angel
Phencyclidine or PCP is a white crystalline powder with a distinctive
bitter chemical taste. It is a drug only occasionally found in
Britain and is much more common in America. It is illegally manufactured
and sold on the street with such names as angel dust, ozone, wack,
peace pill, elephant tranquilizer, dust and rocket fuel. At high
doses, there is a drop in blood pressure, pulse rate and respiration.
Nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, drooling, loss of balance and
dizziness may accompany this. Psychological effects at high doses
include illusions, hallucinations and inability to feel physical
PCP is detectable using the
PCP drug test kit (PCP) for 2 to 6 days at a cut-off level of 25 ng/ml.
Information on Test Cut-off levels / Drug Retention Times:
The cut-off level is the level at which a diagnostic test determines
whether a sample is positive or negative. The level at which a
sample becomes positive varies from drug to drug but is based
upon the research and guidance of SAMHSA in the USA (the Substance
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). You may have
heard of NIDA cut-off levels, which are essentially the same,
but were established by the predecessor of SAMHSA (the National
Institute on Drug Abuse).
The principle behind the cut-off level is for all laboratories
and rapid tests to test at the same level, so that wherever a
test is conducted, the patient will be assessed by the same criteria
and that results from one region are comparable with those of
More importantly, the cut-off levels are set at a point that
is high enough to rule out passive smoking and low enough to ensure
that a patient must have abstained from the drug to test negative.
Alcohol (Breath / Saliva)
1 hour per unit consumed
2 - 6 days
3 - 8 days
2 - 14 days
Typically 14 - 28 days, but a one-off use may be
undetectable in 5 days.
2 - 5 days
2 - 7 days
2 - 6 days
2 - 5 days
2 - 6 days
Please note: Many factors such as age, height, weight, sex, purity
of drug, dose and frequency of use can influence the above drug retention
times, so please use these purely as a guide. Urine
testing detects drugs for days,
hair testing detects for months
Saliva Drug Tests (Oral Fluid Drug Testing) detect drug use
Drug Test Kit Cross reactivity data
Cross reactivity is the term used to describe an instance where
several drugs can give a positive result on a drugs test.
Cross-Reacting Opiates Information:
There are a number of legally available over-the-counter and
prescription medications that contain
opiate-based drugs. Opiates
are a class of related drugs that are all derived from the Poppy.
When an Opiate is taken into the body, it is broken down to be
detected in the urine as Morphine. Laboratory screening techniques
and rapid drug tests are designed specifically to detect Morphine,
so when you get an Opiate positive result, it is not possible
to tell which Opiate was originally taken without further tests.
Any of the following opiate-based drugs may create a positive
result on an Opiate drug test:
There are many over-the-counter and prescription-only
medicines that may contain these compounds or derivatives of them.
They vary from pain killers, to cough mixtures, to diarrhoea preparations.
When collecting a urine sample to carry out a drug test, it is
advisable to list on the patient's consent form which medications
they have used in the last 7-14 days.
If you are not sure whether certain medications contain any of
the above Opiates, please call Drug-Aware.com on 0845 900 2755
for completely free advice. We hold comprehensive pharmaceutical
listings and are happy to help at any time.
Does this medication
contain Opiates? or "How long does this drug test
Call Drug-Aware.com on 0845 900 2755 for FREE advice.
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