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The use of drugs takes its toll on our body and leaves a mark in the blood, urine and hair that often helps police and doctors to know the use of a narcotic substance by a person. Of course, the chemical footprint is not the same depending on the type of drug consumed.
The moment we take a drug, whether it's snorted, smoked, or swallowed, our bodies begin to break it down. In the process, metabolites or byproducts are produced that can persist in our bodies long after the first effects are felt.
It is these traces that will be detected in a subsequent drug test and that will indicate whether the subject has consumed that drug and not only been exposed to it accidentally.
Thanks to some graphics from the digital publication Business Insider based on information from the Drugs.ie website, I have been able to see how long these traces remain in blood, urine and hair.
How long is it detectable in blood?
As we can see, traces of LSD, morphine, heroin, amphetamines or alcohol can remain in our circulatory system for up to 12 hours after consuming them.
Beyond that time, we can already find meth amphetamines (37 hours), MDMA, cocaine, barbiturates (48 hours) and cannabis (2 weeks).
How long is it detectable in urine?
Despite the fact that many believe that urine ends up eliminating any trace of drug from our body in a short time, they are wrong.
Practically the vast majority of substances that I have mentioned can be detected between 3 and 6 days after consumption. The only one that broadens the spectrum is cannabis, which lasts up to 30 days.
How long is it detectable in the hair?
Except for LSD, which disappears from the hair in 3 days, the rest of the drugs can become detectable in the following 3 months.
Therefore, it is easy to determine what substances a subject has consumed and even determine a specific date (taking into account that hair grows about one centimeter per month, measuring the length, we can know at what time it was consumed).
We can now talk about the consequences of using these different substances.
Consequences of these drugs in the body
Alcoholic beverages are psychoactive substances that decrease vital functions. Depending on the drink, the amount of alcohol varies but, anyway, it always enters the bloodstream very quickly. Alcohol decreases breathing rate, heart rate and brain function, and yet it is legal in much of the world for adults.
"Alcohol is mainly metabolized in the liver, but it is different from other substances because it varies with the amount ingested," explained a specialist.
“Alcohol differs from other substances because it is the only one that varies by the amount ingested”
It is a very strong synthetic drug with a stimulating and highly addictive effect used for medical purposes but also marketed illegally.
Because they are stimulants, these pills increase heart rate and blood pressure and can permanently damage heart health.
Barbiturates are a type of depressant drug that causes relaxation and drowsiness. They are also effective as anxiolytic, as hypnotics or as anticonvulsant.
They are highly addictive, produce physical dependence and a very dangerous withdrawal syndrome. Overdose of this substance is also life-threatening.
Marijuana is a psychotropic obtained from the Cannabis sativa plant that is consumed for recreational and medicinal purposes.
It is one of the most consumed illegal substances in the world with tranquilizing, relaxing and sense-amplifying effects, although it can increase euphoria and cause paranoia.
Cocaine is an extremely addictive stimulant alkaloid that directly affects the brain, kidneys, heart, and liver. It has effects of euphoria, energy and expansion of visual and auditory sensations.
It can decrease appetite and the need to sleep, damaging the consumer's health in the long term.
Ecstasy (also called MDMA) is a substance with a stimulating and euphoric effect, but in the long term it produces anxiety, agitation and reckless behavior.
It is a semisynthetic opiate derived from morphine that is consumed illegally. It produces a very intense sensation of pleasure that after a few seconds turns into a state of total sedation with a certain euphoria that lasts approximately two or three hours.
It is consumed intravenously and in the long term it can cause digestive, psychological, gynecological and nervous system problems.
Lysergic acid is a hallucinogenic semisynthetic substance that, although not addictive, is highly toxic. Hallucinations can last up to 13 hours and bring long-term psychological problems, in addition to the risk of inflicting an injury during the effects.
Like amphetamine, methamphetamine increases activity and speech, decreases appetite, and produces a general sense of well-being.
However, methamphetamine differs from amphetamine in that at similar doses, higher levels of methamphetamine enter the brain, making it a more powerful stimulant drug with longer-lasting and more damaging effects on the central nervous system.
Morphine is an opiate intended for medicinal uses, but also illegally. It has very strong analgesic effects, and in the long term it can cause respiratory or kidney problems or complications due to toxicity.
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