Xanax (generic name Alprazolam) is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the US today. It's also the most commonly abused benzo, ahead of similar drugs like Valium and lorazepam. Combined with a growing awareness of prescription-drug abuse, it's getting more and more likely that Xanax can cause you to fail a drug test.
Xanax and Drug Tests
Failing a drug test can have serious consequences for your career. In the best case, you'll be forced to seek treatment and be put on probation. In the worst case, you can miss out on an attractive job offer or lose your current job.
So, when might you fail a drug test for Xanax? How long does Xanax stay in your system? Read on to learn everything you need to know.
The basic 5-panel drug test looks exclusively for five major street drugs, namely weed, coke, opiates, amphetamines, and PCP. It never looks for drugs in the benzodiazepine class, such as Xanax and Valium. If you only need to take this test, you don't need to worry about failing because of Xanax.
So, How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?
However, extended tests are getting more popular over time. These extended tests have come about as employers realize that the basic tests aren't catching many commonly abused drugs, especially prescription drugs.
Most extended tests include a panel for benzos, so you can assume Xanax will show up on it. There is a rumor that Xanax isn't reliably detected at lower doses, but we can't confirm this. As always, it's better to play it safe and assume it will be detected.
Note that these numbers are for rough guidance only. It's impossible to predict exactly how long it takes a drug to leave someone's system, because there are so many factors involved. In general, you can help yourself by eating healthily, exercising, and drinking ample water. All these help to flush drugs out faster.
Taking a Drug Test
Xanax is a relatively short-acting drug when compared to Valium. If you're an average-size person, you would expect Xanax to stay in your urine for 1-4 days after last use. To be safe, you should wait at least a week.
Note that this is very dependent on how much and for how long you've been taking it. People who've been taking benzos for over a year often fail urine drug tests 4-6 weeks after stopping.
Saliva tests have a much shorter detection time (48 hours max.), while hair tests can detect substances for as long as 90 days later.
If you've prepared yourself for a urine test by not taking Xanax, be sure to test yourself before going to a real test. This can set your mind at rest, but if it shows positive, there are other actions you can take.
Firstly, you could give someone else's urine instead of your own. It isn't always so easy to get your hands on this, because the donor cannot be on any prescription medication that will show up.
An alternative solution is to just use a detox drink shortly before your test. With some careful timing and proper use, this will lower the concentrations of toxins in your urine, enabling you to take a drug test.
Even saliva and hair tests don't have to be a problem, because suitable mouthwashes and shampoos are readily available.