Upon receiving an offer of employment, many people are required to take a drug test prior to their first day of work. Some employers also require the random drug testing of employees even after their hiring.

You may not think much about drug testing if you do not take medications, but what happens if you are? For instance, what if you are taking codeine under the supervision of your doctor? Will codeine show up in drug testing?

What Is Codeine?

Codeine changes the way your body detects pain, and it also changes the cough reaction in your body by altering the area in your brain that causes you to cough.

Many people take codeine to manage their illnesses or after surgery. For instance, codeine is in Tylenol 3, some Fiorinal and Promethazine products, Codate, Codophos, and other pain and cough relief products. Codeine is an opiate. Like other opiates, it is addictive. And it is easy to move from the appropriate use of codeine in your surgical recovery to ongoing substance misuse, which can lead to addiction.

See More: Codeine Withdrawal & Detox

Does Codeine Show Up in a Drug Test?

If you need to take a drug test for work and you have been using codeine, whether or not it shows up on a test involves a number of different factors. These include:

  • How much you take
  • The frequency of use
  • Your body, including your weight, age and metabolism
  • How much water you drink and how much you exercise

Codeine can be detected in your body in several ways. It stays in your hair for up to three months, saliva for up to four days, urine for up to three days and blood for a day.

Taking a Drug Test

If you are taking a drug test for work and you are using codeine under a doctor’s care, you might consider asking your doctor to communicate with your employer about your appropriate use of codeine.

However, if you are misusing codeine or fear that you may have become addicted to it, consider an upcoming drug test as an opportunity to take control and take steps to end your dependence on codeine and any accompanying substance use disorders. What better way to start a new career than to do so substance-free?

Would you like to have help to find the right codeine addiction treatment options for your circumstances? If so, contact The Recovery Village Columbus today. This Ohio addiction treatment center will focus on helping you achieve and maintain sobriety long-term.

Editor – Nicole LaNeve
Nicole leads a team of passionate, experienced writers, editors and other contributors to create and share accurate, trustworthy information about drug and alcohol addiction, treatment and recovery for The Recovery Village and all Advanced Recovery Systems sites. Read more
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Tiffany Bell, MD
Dr. Tiffany L. Bell is a Central Ohio-trained physician in Psychiatry. She currently practices Addiction and General Psychiatry in Columbus, Ohio. She has a background working with a multitude of mental health conditions and substance dependencies. Read more

NIDA. “Drug Testing.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2021. Accessed May 14, 2021.

Rollins DE, Wilkins DG, Krueger GG. “Codeine disposition in human hair after […] and multiple doses.” Eur J Clin Pharmacol., 1996. Accessed May 14, 2021.

Medlineplus.gov. “Codeine.” National Institutes of Health, December 15, 2020. Accessed May 14, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.