Urine

It is good practice to request a sample of urine for drug/alcohol analysis when the incident has occurred in the preceding 4 days. If the allegation exceeds this time limit, contact the forensic science laboratory for advice on whether a sample is required. Ideally, 20 mL of urine should be placed in a container with a preservative that prevents decomposition and fermentation (e.g., sodium fluoride), although samples in plain bottles can be analyzed. Urine should be collected as soon as practically possible. Samples from complainants do not need to be witnessed. Complainants should be advised not to dispose of any towels, panty liners, or tampons at this stage.

Table 1

Approximate Detection Windows for Prescribed/Illicit Substances

Prescribed/abused drugs

Blood

Urine

Diazepam/Temazepam

2 d

4 d

Methadone

1 d

2-3 d

Flunitrazepam

12-24h

3 d

Y-Hydroxy butyrate

6 h

12 h

Barbiturates

1 or more d

2 or more d

Amphetamines

12-24h

1-2 d

Ecstasy

12-24h

2-3 d

Cocaine

12-24h

2-3 d

Heroin/morphine

12-24h

1-2 d

Cannabis—occasional user

0-4 h

12 h

Cannabis—regular user

days

weeks

From personal communications with A. Clatworthy and J. Taylor, members of the toxicology section of the Metropolitan Laboratory of Forensic Science, 2003.

From personal communications with A. Clatworthy and J. Taylor, members of the toxicology section of the Metropolitan Laboratory of Forensic Science, 2003.

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