Know about SAMHSA 5 Drugs and their Detection Periods

By | January 23, 2012

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), after conducting many surveys and researches released the list of five most popularly abused drugs. SAMHSA five includes Cannabinoids, Cocaine, Amphetamines, Opiates, and Phencyclidine. Following writeup gives approximate detection periods for each substance by test type. However, the ranges depend on the amount and frequency of use, metabolic rate, body mass, age, overall health, drug tolerance, and urine pH.


  • Cannabinoids which are popularly called as marijuana is the most commonly abused drug in United States. It is administered in two ways – oral and smoked. Immunoassay test is used to screen specimens for marijuana and the detection periods are 2-3 days in blood, 12-24 hours in saliva, 2-3 days in urine and up to 90 days in hair.
  • Cocaine is the next highly abused drug. Cocaine and its primary metabolite are generally detected by a variety of laboratory techniques. Coming to the detection periods, cocaine cannot be found through blood test, but its detection period in saliva is 1 day, 4-5 days in urine, and up to 90days in hair. It is taken in either by injecting, smoking or sniffing.
  • Amphetamine is a stimulant which can be detected using immunoassay test. The route of administration is through injections, oral, smoking or sniffing. They can be detected till 12 hours in blood, 3days in saliva, 1-4 days in urine, and up to 90 days in hair.
  • Opiates are very old drugs which are derived from opium poppy. Immunoassay is used for primary detection. It is detected up to 2-4 days in urine and up to 90 days in hair.
  • Phencyclidine or PCP is cheap but popularly used drug among selected socio economic groups. It is administered either orally, or smoking or could be injected. It is an anesthetic which results in hallucinations and the detection periods are 1-3 days in blood, 3 days in saliva, 3-7 days in urine, and up to 90 days in hair.

These are detection periods of SAHMSA five.