Instead of a dry, boring article, the following is an excerpt from a recent interview with Attorney Leckerman on the subject.
Interviewer: Now let’s talk about how long drug metabolites will stay in your system for both prescription and illegal drugs. Marijuana seems to stay in your system by far the longest, to my knowledge.
Kevin Leckerman: It depends on the study. There’s information that says a marijuana metabolite can be in somebody’s system for weeks, following smoking it. It really depends on how much the user, or how often the user smokes or ingests marijuana. So, chronic users may have the metabolites in their system for a much longer period of time than the infrequent user. With infrequent users, their bodies actually metabolize the marijuana much more quickly and flush it from the system. It would be less likely that an infrequent user would have marijuana metabolites in his system weeks after smoking.
For prescription drugs, such as Xanax, Ambien, Valium, Subutex, Oxycodone, etc., you would expect to find the drug in a person’s system, because he or she has been using it on a regular, prescribed basis. Under the law, simply having a prescription drug in the blood or urine does not equate to a conviction. The government still has to prove the driver was under the influence of the prescription drug.
Interviewer: And just to be clear, in Pennsylvania they test this through a blood test. Would they find this through a urine test or a breath test?
Kevin Leckerman: Breath tests would not show the presence of drugs. Urine tests do show the presence of drugs. Hair and saliva can also be tested to find the presence of drugs, but those types of tests are not utilized for prosecutions in Pennsylvania.
Interviewer: How often are both used? Is blood used far more than urine or vice versa?
Kevin Leckerman: Blood is tested far more often in the counties in Pennsylvania in which I practice. It’s definitely the preferred method of testing.
Interviewer: To be 100% clear, the counties you practice in Pennsylvania are what?
Kevin Leckerman: I practice in Philadelphia county, Delaware county, Montgomery county, Chester county and Bucks county.