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How to Fail a Drug Test

An Horry County man was arrested and charged with "defrauding drug and alcohol screening tests" after he tried to use old urine to cheat on a drug screen.

He was apparently being drug-tested at the pretrial intervention (PTI) office in Conway, SC when the case worker realized that the urine sample was the wrong temperature. He then admitted that he tried to cheat on the test using old urine.

Many people, when faced with the prospect of a drug test, begin searching for information on how to pass a drug test while still using drugs. Below are some tips and information that you may find helpful.

How to Pass a Drug Test

Stop using drugs. Drink plenty of water to clean out your system, then remain drug-free.

I recommend not cheating on a drug test. There is plenty of advice out there on how to pass a drug test, but much of it is unreliable. The only sure way to pass a drug test is to stop using.

How Long do Drugs Stay in My System?

The actual drug may not be in your system at all - most tests are not actually testing for the drug. They are looking for metabolites that your body creates to help process the drug.

Those metabolites can stay in your system for different lengths of time depending on the type of drug, your metabolism, and the frequency that you were using the drug. Although the most accurate drug test is probably a hair follicle test, urinalysis is the most common test used.

According to, metabolites can be found in your urine for the following lengths of time:

  • Alcohol: 3-5 days
  • Amphetamines: 1-3 days
  • Barbiturates: 2-4 days
  • Benzodiazepines: 3-6 weeks
  • Cannabis: 7-30 days
  • Cocaine: 3-4 days
  • Codeine: 1 day
  • Heroin: 3-4 days
  • LSD: 1-3 days
  • MDMA (ecstasy): 3-4 days in urine
  • Methamphetamine (crystal meth): 3-6 days in urine
  • Methadone: 3-4 days in urine
  • Morphine: 2-3 days in urine

These times will be different for blood tests or hair follicle tests.

Why Would I be Drug-Tested?

The most common reason that people are drug tested is for employment. Many potential employers will require a drug screen as a condition of employment. When you become caught up in South Carolina's court system, however, there are many different situations where a drug screen may be required including:

  • Pretrial release: A judge may order drug testing as a condition of your bond. If you fail a drug test, your bond could be revoked, and you could be sent back to jail until your case is resolved.
  • Pretrial intervention (PTI): If you are accepted into Horry County's PTI program, drug tests are a requirement of the program. Once you complete all of the requirements including community service, any counseling that is ordered, and passing drug tests, your case is dismissed and your record expunged.
  • Probation and parole: If you are placed on probation or if you are released from prison on parole, drug tests will be a regular requirement. If you do not comply with the conditions of probation or parole, including passing drug tests, your probation or parole could be revoked.
  • Drug Court: If you are accepted into drug court, you will be subject to regular, random drug screens.
  • Child custody: When there are allegations of drug abuse, a parent can be required to submit to drug testing as a condition of custody or visitation rights.

I Failed a Drug Test for Probation, What Now?

If you failed a drug test for your probation or parole officer, revocation is not necessarily automatic. The first thing that you need to do is stop using. If you need help from a treatment facility, your probation officer or your defense lawyer may be able to help you get to the right place.

Your probation may be revoked. If you don't stop using, it will almost certainly be revoked.

If you are facing a probation revocation or other penalties for failing a drug test, call our Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at Axelrod and Associates at (843) 916-9300 or fill out our contact form today for a free consultation.

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