Drug Information – Information on Drugs and Alcohol

If you have any unanswered questions on drugs and alcohol, you are in the right place. We have collated a wide range of drug information in one place. We provide descriptions of the nature, street names and effects of the more common controlled substances. This list is intended to be in no way exhaustive, but it will give you broad background information.

Alcohol information:

Although alcohol is a legal substance used by many, there is clear and undisputed evidence that it impairs the user. As such, there is a legal drink-driving limit of 80 mg/dl or 0.08% BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) enforced by law in England and Wales and 50 mg/dl or 0.05% BAC in Scotland.

How long does alcohol last in the body?

Alcohol is broken down by the liver at the rate of approximately one unit per hour (a pint of normal strength beer being two units). Consequently, it is possible to still be under the influence the following morning if you have drunk excessively the night before. In fact, every year in Britain over 25,000 people lose their driving licences the morning after a night’s drinking.

To exercise caution, the following calculation can be used to estimate your level of risk after having drunk the night before.

1 Unit of alcohol = ½ Pint ordinary strength beer or…
1 standard glass of table wine or…
1 standard glass of sherry or…
1 single measure of spirits.

It is advised that you allow a minimum of 1 hour per 1 unit of alcohol before driving, operating heavy machinery or electrical equipment, to ensure that you are not under the influence of alcohol.

This simple formula will help:

Number of units drunk – Number of hours since last drink = Alcohol content

For example: A person drinks 6 pints of an ordinary strength beer (12 units) finishing drinking at 11pm. They start work at 8am the following day. (9 Hours later).

12 Units – 9 hours = 3. In this scenario, the person could still have 3 units of alcohol left in the body whilst driving to work the following day – risking Police prosecution. 3 – 4 Units will bring most people to the legal driving limit in England / Wales or 2 units in Scotland. Please exercise caution.

Controlled substances – Signs, Symptoms and Effects

Controlled substances come in a variety of forms, (each carrying different lengths of prison sentence for possession if not under prescription from a qualified medical professional). They all induce different effects and are classified by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

The main classes of controlled drugs you may come across are as follows:

Information on Amphetamines:

Information On Drugs - Amphetamines (Uppers, Wake Ups, Bennies, Dexies, Jollies, Speed and Wizz)

Amphetamines are central nervous system stimulants that give the user increased energy, reduced appetite and an overall feeling of wellbeing. Found in the form of white pills or powder, Amphetamines may be inhaled, injected, or swallowed. Street names include uppers, wake ups, bennies, dexies, jollies, speed and wizz.

Short-term effects include an increase in talkativeness, aggressiveness, breathing rate, heart rate and blood pressure, reduced appetite, dilated pupils, visual and auditory hallucinations, sweating and compulsive, repetitive actions.

How long do Amphetamines stay in your system? Amphetamines are detectable in urine using the MHE Amphetamines test (AMP) for 2 to 6 days at a cut-off level of 1000 ng/ml.

Drug Information – Barbiturates:

Barbiturate Capsules (Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal)

Barbiturates are prescription sedatives. Commonly abused Barbiturates include amobarbital (Amytal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), and secobarbital (Seconal). Typically in the form of multicoloured tablets and capsules, this class of drug has numerous street names including barbs, red devils, goof balls, yellow jackets, block-busters, pinks, reds and blues. When abused, Barbiturates mimic alcohol inebriation causing mild euphoria, reduction of inhibitions, relief of anxiety and sleepiness. Higher doses cause impairment of memory, judgement and co-ordination, irritability, and paranoia.

How long are Barbiturates detectable? Barbiturates are detectable in urine using the MHE Barbiturates test (BAR) for 3 to 8 days at a cut-off level of 200 ng/ml.

Benzodiazepines (tranquillisers) and their signs and symptoms:

Benzodiazepines (otherwise known as tranx or benzos) are a group of structurally related drugs prescribed for short-term relief of severe, disabling anxiety or insomnia. They have sedative-hypnotic, muscle-relaxant, anti-anxiety & anticonvulsant effects and are usually administered orally in tablet or capsule form. The family of drugs include oxazepam, temazepam, diazepam (valium), chlorazepam, prazepam, halazepam and chlordiazepoxide.

Drug Information - Benzodiazepines / Tranquillisers, Tranx / Benzos

Please note that even when correctly prescribed by a Doctor, Benzodiazepines may interfere with the ability of some users to perform certain physical, intellectual and perceptual functions. For this reason, people who are prescribed benzodiazepines should consult with their Doctor before they operate a motor vehicle (or heavy machinery) or engage in tasks requiring concentration and good co-ordination. Such activities may become more dangerous if Benzodiazepines are used together with alcohol or antihistamines (found in many cold, cough and allergy remedies).

How long will Benzodiazepines last in your body? Benzodiazepines are detectable in urine using the MHE Benzodiazepines test (BZD) for 2 to 14 days (depending on the drug) at a cut-off level of 300 ng/ml.

Buprenorphine (Subutex) information:

Buprenorphine And Subutex Drug Information

Buprenorphine is a potent analgesic often used in the treatment of opioid addiction. The drug is sold under the trade names Subutex™, Buprenex™, Temgesic™ and Suboxone™, which contain Buprenorphine HCl alone or in combination with Naloxone HCl. Therapeutically, Buprenorphine is used as a substitution treatment for opioid addicts. Substitution treatment is a form of medical care offered to opiate addicts (primarily heroin addicts) based on a similar or identical substance to the drug normally used.

In substitution therapy, Buprenorphine is as effective as Methadone but demonstrates a lower level of physical dependence. Concentrations of free Buprenorphine and Norbuprenorphine in urine may be less than 1 ng/ml after therapeutic administration, but can range up to 20 ng/ml in abuse situations. The plasma half-life of Buprenorphine is 2-4 hours.

How long will it take Buprenorphine to leave your system? While complete elimination of a single-dose of the drug can take as long as 6 days, the typical detection window for the parent drug in urine is approximately 3 days at a cut-off of 10 ng/ml.

Cannabis / Marijuana information:

Cannabis is the most commonly abused illegal drug. It is a derivative of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa) and can take several physical forms including dried plant material (a green or grey mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves), blocks of resin and small containers of Cannabis oil. Slang terms include weed, pot, grass, ganja, hash, herb, skunk, draw and gangster.

Cannabis / Marijuana (Weed, Pot, Grass, Ganja, Hash, Herb, Skunk, Draw Gangster) With Joint and Grinder

Most users roll loose Cannabis into a cigarette called a “joint”. It can be smoked in a water pipe, called a “bong”, or mixed into food or brewed as tea. If someone is intoxicated by Cannabis, he or she may have balance problems and have trouble walking. Their eyes may appear red and bloodshot and he or she may exhibit memory difficulties. When the early effects fade, over a few hours, the user can become hungry and later sleepy.

How long does Cannabis stay in your system? The active ingredient of cannabis (THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol) is detectable using the MHE Cannabis test (THC) for typically 14 to 28 days at a cut-off level of 50 ng/ml, although a one-off dose may be undetectable in as little as 5 days if there isn’t a build up of the drug in the person’s system. The reason for this long retention time is that THC binds with the body’s fat reserves – and leaches out over a number of days. You will also undoubtedly have patients who claim that they are positive due to passive smoking. Let us assure you that this is not the case. The cut-off level of the test is set at a level much too high for passive smoking to affect the results.

Cocaine Information, Signs and Symptoms:

Cocaine Powder - Coke, Charlie, Snow, Blow, Big C, White, Nose Candy, Crack, Rock, Freebase

Cocaine, otherwise known as coke, charlie, snow, blow, big C, white, nose candy, crack, rock, and freebase is derived from coca leaves whose properties include increased energy and an overall feeling of euphoria. It is a potent stimulant and one of the most powerfully addictive drugs. It comes both in the form of a white powder that is snorted and white crystals (freebase or crack) that are smoked.

Visible signs of cocaine use include dilated pupils, increased temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, insomnia, loss of appetite, feelings of restlessness and anxiety. Cocaine’s effects are relatively short lived, and once the drug leaves the brain, the user experiences a “coke crash” that includes depression, irritability, and fatigue. How long does Cocaine stay in urine? Cocaine is detectable in urine using the MHE Cocaine test (COC) for 2 to 5 days at a cut-off level of 300 ng/ml.

Information on Heroin (a member of the opiate family):

Information on Drugs - Heroin (H, Dope, Junk, Skag, Brown and Smack)

With such street names as H, dope, junk, skag, brown and smack; Heroin is an addictive narcotic drug derived from the opium poppy. It comes in the form of a light brown or white powder that can be heated and injected or smoked in a rolled joint or cigarette. Heroin interferes with the brain’s ability to perceive pain and activates the brain’s pleasure system.

When injected or smoked, users report a surge of pleasurable sensation or “rush.” Often, the rush is accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and a heavy feeling in the limbs. Nausea and vomiting may also ensue.

How long does Heroin stay in your system? Heroin is detectable in urine using the MHE Opiates / Morphine test (MOR) for 2 to 5 days at a cut-off level of 300 ng/ml. Other opiates (such as codeine in some pain medication and cough syrups) can also be detected, regardless of the detection method, so please determine any recently taken medications prior to conducting the test.

Drug Information – Inhalants (or solvents):

Inhalants - Glue, Nail Polish Remover, Cleaning Fluids, Hair Spray, Petrol, Aerosol Cans, Correction Fluid

Inhalants are generally not controlled substances but can still be abused. They are ordinary household or industrial products that are inhaled or sniffed by solvent abusers to achieve intoxication. There are hundreds of household products on the market today that can be misused as inhalants, including glue, nail polish remover, cleaning fluids, hair spray, petrol, the propellant in aerosol cans and correction fluid. When inhaled via the nose or mouth into the lungs in sufficient concentrations, inhalants can cause intoxicating effects that can last a few minutes or several hours if inhalants are taken repeatedly.

Drug Information – Ketamine:

Ketamine Injection - Special K, Vitamin K, New Ecstasy, Psychedelic Heroin, Ketaject, Super-K

Ketamine hydrochloride is a central nervous system depressant and a fast-acting general anaesthetic with sedative-hypnotic, analgesic, and hallucinogenic properties. Used as a general anaesthetic in both human and veterinary medical practice, Ketamine is normally found in injectable form. However, it can be converted into a white powder (for snorting or smoking) and re-packaged in small sealed bags or capsules. Street names include Special K, Vitamin K, new Ecstasy, psychedelic heroin, Ketaject, and Super-K.

How long does Ketamine stay in your system? Ketamine is detectable in urine using the MHE Ketamine test (KET) for 2 to 3 days at a cut-off level of 300 ng/ml.


LSD Oral Blotting Paper (Acid, Tabs, Doses, Trips, Hits, Sugar Cubes)

LSD is the most common hallucinogen and is one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. It is often in the form of printed blotting paper that is placed on the tongue. Other forms include coloured tablets, clear liquid, and thin squares of gelatine. Slang terms include Acid, tabs, doses, trips, hits, or sugar cubes.

The effects of LSD are unpredictable. They depend on the amount taken, the user’s personality, mood, and expectations and the surroundings in which the drug is used. The physical effects include dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors. However, sensations and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical signs. The user may feel several different emotions at once or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. LSD is found in the body in concentrations too low to be detected by a visually read diagnostic test. Consequently, laboratory tests are needed to screen for LSD.

Magic Mushrooms:

Certain types of naturally occurring mushrooms contain hallucinogenic chemicals that can be released when eaten.

Drug Information - Magic Mushrooms (Shrooms, Caps)

The mushrooms produce a syndrome similar to alcohol intoxication (sometimes accompanied by hallucinations). Once ingested, mushrooms generally cause feelings of nausea and other physical symptoms before the desired mental effects appear.

The intoxication from using mushrooms is mild and consists of distorted perceptions. Effects may include different perceptions of stimuli like touch, sight, sound and taste. The onset of symptoms is usually rapid and the effects generally subside within 2 hours. Physical effects can include sweating, a feeling of nervousness and paranoia. Common nick-names include shrooms, caps and magic mushrooms. Magic mushrooms are not detectable using MHE diagnostic tests.

MDMA, or Ecstasy:

Information On Ecstasy And MDMA

MDMA or Ecstasy (3-4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a synthetic drug with amphetamine-like and hallucinogenic properties. Known as E, Adam, ecstasy, XTC, and X, MDMA often comes in tablet form that is branded, e.g. Playboy bunnies, Nike logo, Mitsubishi logo, etc. This is commonly considered to be a dance or ‘rave’ drug used by younger people. External physical symptoms of use include muscle tension, involuntary teeth clenching, nausea, blurred vision, rapid eye movement, faintness and chills or sweating.

How long does MDMA stay in your system? MDMA, or Ecstasy is detectable in urine using the MHE Methamphetamine test (MET) for 2 to 5 days at a cut-off level of 1000 ng/ml. Please also be aware that higher doses of Ranitidine (a medication used to control stomach acid) has been known to give a positive result on numerous brands of Methamphetamine test kits. Please determine any recently taken medications prior to conducting the test. A genuine Methamphetamine or MDMA positive sample will often prove positive on the Amphetamine (AMP) test as well because Amphetamine is one of the breakdown products of those drugs.


Methadone Injection

Methadone is prescribed to people who take heroin (or other opiates) to help reduce the risks of their illicit drug use. Methadone is usually prescribed as a green liquid for oral consumption but it also comes in injectable and tablet forms. When taken, methadone creates a sense of well-being and absence of stress which is much less intense but much longer acting than that produced by heroin. Other side effects include constipation, small pupils, sweating and itchy skin. Please note: if used by someone who is not opiate dependent this drug can prove fatal.

How long does Methadone stay in urine? Methadone is detectable in urine using the MHE Methadone test (MTD or MAD) for 2 to 7 days at a cut-off level of 300 ng/ml.

PCP or angel dust Facts:

PCP Angeldust Information

Phencyclidine or PCP is a white crystalline powder with a distinctive bitter chemical taste. It is a drug only occasionally found in Britain and is much more common in America. It is illegally manufactured and sold on the street with such names as angel dust, ozone, wack, peace pill, elephant tranquilizer, dust and rocket fuel.

At high doses, there is a drop in blood pressure, pulse rate and respiration. Nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, drooling, loss of balance and dizziness may accompany this. Psychological effects at high doses include illusions, hallucinations and inability to feel physical pain.

How long does PCP stay in your system? PCP is detectable using the MHE PCP test (PCP) for 2 to 6 days at a cut-off level of 25 ng/ml.

Further Information and Test Kits

if you would like to test for any of the above, please see the following products:

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