Drug Tests

PCP is detectable in the system of the user for up to 3 months, depending on the type of test being administered, the frequency and amount of use, and the physical traits of the user. Physical traits can be body fat content, weight and height of the user, age of the user, physical condition of the user, body hydration, and other similar health components of the user.

How Phencyclidine Works in the System

Approximately 10% of PCP is eliminated intact through urine. It is stored in the body in fatty tissue and muscle for as long as several weeks. Those who use large amounts and frequent users will be more likely to test positive over a longer period than those with short-term and infrequent use. Also at risk for retention are those users who have a high body fat count. The half-life for PCP is 7-46 hours. As it metabolizes, PCP turns into hydroxylate or glucuronide. Up to 97% will be excreted within 7 days of use of a heavy dose. However, there are cumulative properties of PCP which may accrue for up to several weeks with chronic or high dose usage.

Types of Drug Tests for PCP

PCP can be detected with a urine test for 1-7 days when used on a limited basis or after a single use at a low dose. For those who use it frequently at higher doses, detection with a urine test may be possible for up to 4 weeks. Urine tests screen for PCP and its metabolized by-products.
  • A blood sample that is tested for presence of PCP may be viable for 24 hours.
  • Saliva testing may indicate use of PCP for 1 to 10 days.
  • Hair follicle samples may test positive for PCP for up to 3 months, which is common for most drug use with this type of test.

Limitations of Drug Tests for PCP

Results for tests of PCP are frequently specific and indicative of use. Few confounding test results are seen. However, the frequency of use may complicate test results for those who have only a single use. Some users may metabolize PCP quickly and will not test for presence within as short a period as 72 hours. Due to the side effects produced by PCP, these users may run the risk of being diagnosed with mental illness, such as schizophrenia or dissociative disorders if no remainder of the drug can be detected.

Legalities of Drug Tests for PCP

Drug testing varies from state to state, but national legislation, signed into law in 1989, put federal employees on notice that random drug tests would be performed for specific jobs of high security.
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