Hydrocodone is a very effective pain medication that is widely prescribed throughout the United States, but it can cause you to fail a drug test in some circumstances. You could, of course, just inform your employer that you've been prescribed hydrocodone, but sometimes it's preferable to keep your medical history private.
So what can you do about drug tests for hydrocodone? Under what circumstances will you be tested for it? How long does hydrocodone stay in your urine for drug testing purposes? What can you do to avoid detection? What about other forms of drug testing, such as hair and saliva tests?
Testing for hydrocodone
Historically, hydrocodone has not been widely abused, so it does not show up on a typical SAMHSA/DoT 5-panel drug test, which focuses more on organic opiates like heroin, morphine, and codeine. This means you should be safe on these tests, but don't ignore the possibility of some labs incorporating opioid detection into their opiates panel. It's always best to play it safe.
There is also a growing awareness that recreational drug use goes beyond the traditional street drugs like coke, heroin, weed, PCP and speed. Prescription drugs are being increasingly used in their place, either because people become dependent after being prescribed them for an illness or simply because they are easier to obtain. This has led to extended drug tests being developed to detect the presence of prescription drugs like hydrocodone and benzos.
If you need to take an extended drug test, you'll surely need to prepare yourself beforehand.
How long does hydrocodone stay in your urine?
In most cases, your body is quite efficient at metabolizing drugs and flushing the waste byproducts from your system. Unfortunately, this is exactly how urine drug tests work: they look for drug metabolites being expelled in your urine. This means that after stopping hydrocodone, you'll still be able to fail a drug test for a short time.
Most people will generally be able to pass a urine drug test after three or four days of complete abstinence. It will also help to avoid other drugs and eat healthily, as well as maybe take a course of supplements.
Passing a urine drug test
Hydrocodone is a strong narcotic, so it may not always be easy to quit completely in time for a drug test. Maybe you simply don't have enough warning to detox in time.
Fortunately, you can take a detox drink shortly before your drug test to rapidly cleanse your urinary system. While you will still have traces of hydrocodone in your body, the levels in your urine will be much lower, at least for a few hours. This isn't a free license to pop a pill just before a drug test, however.
Other drug tests
Not all drug tests are based on urine samples. Sometimes you need to give an oral swab for a saliva test or a few hairs for a hair drug test, which actually has a theoretical detection time of 3 months. Should you need to take one of these tests, get a detox mouthwash or a detox shampoo respectively. Alternatively, you can cover all the possibilities with a complete drug cleaning kit.