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How Long Do Opioids Stay in Your System?

The length of time that Opioids stay in your system will depend on the type of Opioid and your metabolism, among many other factors. The half-life of an Opioid is one measure of how long an Opioid will remain in your body. After metabolism, Opioids are detectible in urine, blood, saliva, and hair sample tests, possibly for as many as 90 days.

The Amount of Time Opioids Stay in Your System Varies.

When a person uses an Opioid, the drug quickly reaches the brain through the bloodstream. The Opioid then binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system to elicit euphoria and numbness to pain. The amount of time an Opioid stays in the body’s systems depends on the type of Opioid, the dosage of the drug, the method of consumption, and the person’s sex and weight, among other factors. To understand how long Opioids remain in the body, it is important to understand the concepts of metabolism and half-life.

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Factors That Influence How Long Opioids Stay in Your System

  • Type of opioid
  • Frequency of use
  • Dosage
  • Method of administration
  • Health
  • Metabolism rate
  • Age
  • Body weight

Opioid Metabolism

The human body metabolizes food and drugs with the aid of enzymes and several organs. Metabolism is the process by which the body breaks down a substance, transmits it to various organ systems, and then expels it as waste. Opioids which enter the body through ingestion first undergo metabolism in the stomach and liver before entering the bloodstream. Opioids which enter the body intravenously bypass this first phase of metabolism. In either case, Opioids will pass through the liver and kidneys at least once before leaving the body in the urine. Most Opioids will yield metabolites, or metabolism byproducts, during this process. The metabolites of some Opioids are other Opioids. For example, Heroin metabolism yields Morphine, Morphine and Hydrocodone metabolism yields Hydromorphone, and Oxycodone metabolism yields Oxymorphone.

The rate at which the body metabolizes an Opioid is one of the most direct indicators of how long an Opioid will stay in the body’s systems. While Opioid metabolism is underway, the Opioid and its metabolites remain in the body. The timespan of Opioid metabolism varies on the basis of the type of Opioid and whether a person suffers from a medical condition which impairs metabolism, such as a kidney disease. By contrast, a person who drinks water and exercises will metabolize Opioids faster. Even after metabolism, Opioids will still be detectable in a person’s urine, blood, saliva, and hair.

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Opioid Half-Life

The half-life of a drug refers to the time required for a half of the amount of a drug to naturally leave the body. Therefore, half-life is another measure of how long Opioids stay in your system. Since the half-life of an Opioid depends partially on a person’s metabolism, the half-life of any Opioid will be longer for a person with a slower metabolic rate. This is a function of a person’s sex, age, weight, and health, and other factors.

However, Opioids can generally be classified as having a short or a long half-life, regardless of other metabolism factors. For example, Hydrocodone and Oxycodone are short half-life Opioids. On average, half of a dose of either drug will leave the body within three to five hours. Methadone is a long half-life Opioid. The half-life of Methadone is 24 to 36 hours. Fentanyl, one of the primary cause of the fatal overdoses which have characterized the Opioid Epidemic, has a half-life of four hours. An Opioid will require several half-lives to fully leave the body’s systems.

How Long Can Opioids in Your System Be Detected?

There are a number of legal and medical reasons why someone would be tested for Opioid use. Regardless of the purpose of the Opioid test, the test itself will require a sample of urine, saliva, blood, or hair. In general, Opioids can be detected in blood within 24 hours of use, in saliva within two to three days, in urine for within three days, and in hair up to 90 days. However, people who are older, have more body fat, or do not exercise regularly will be slower to metabolize Opioids, so tests will be able to detect Opioids in their systems longer. Furthermore, someone who uses Opioids frequently and in higher doses will test positively for Opioid use for longer than someone who uses them occasionally in lower doses.

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Some Opioids differ from others in detectability, depending on the test method. For example, Hydrocodone will not manifest itself in a saliva sample until 12 hours after use. Additionally, a blood test will only detect Morphine for up to 8 hours and Codeine for up to 12 hours after use. Unlike other Opioids, Methadone is detectible in a saliva test for 10 days and a urine test for 6-12 days after the last dose.

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Find Help with Opioid Addiction Today

Opioids are highly addictive and liable to cause life-threatening overdoses. A person who abuses Opioids will saturate their body with Opioids and Opioid metabolites on a permanent basis. In other words, Opioids will always be in their system. This represents a serious risk for a person’s long-term health and wellbeing. If you or someone you know is struggling with Opioid addiction, help is available. Please contact a dedicated treatment provider right away to learn more about your options for Opioid rehab.

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