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All drugs, whether illicit or not, have effects that stay in your body for a particular amount of time. These include prescribed opioids, or even those being sold in the black market. Know the timeline of opioids in your system and how to get rid of them permanently.
Opioids are known for their potency and long-acting effects. This is why some people wonder how long do opiates stay in your system, especially if they are bound to take a drug test for various reasons. Others may also be wondering about the timeline of opioids on the body as they need to be sober for daily responsibilities. In this post, we will understand the half-life of opioids, how long it stays in your body, and possible ways to flush it out.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, we can help. We have rehab centers in the following locations:
How Long Do Opioids Stay In Your System?
Many drug takers or even those suffering from substance abuse may ask, “How long do opioids stay in your system?”. This is a question that isn’t as straightforward as some would think. There are several factors that affect how much of the drug remains in your body even after hours, days, weeks, or even months of intake.
Opioids have several properties, such as being long and short-acting. However, one thing is common about these types of opiates–they are highly potent, and they last in the body for quite a while even after the effects wear out. To give you a better picture, here are some points to consider:
The amount of time opioids stay in your system varies.
There is no general answer on how long does it take to get opiates out of your system as there are different variations of the drug. Most prescribed medications such as hydrocodone can stay in the body, such as hair, for as long as 90 days. As for saliva and urine, hydrocodone will stay for as much as 36 hours up to 4 days when tested.
However, a different timeline can be set for other types of opioids such as codeine, morphine, or heroin. Some people wonder how long do opiates stay in urine, especially heroin. In this case, you would have to wait 2-7 days in order to test negative. Blood and saliva tests will test negative only after 5-6 hours.
These varied timelines tell us one thing: You truly cannot predict how long do opiates stay in your urine, blood, saliva, hair, or even skin–which brings us to the next point.
There are factors that influence how long opioids stay in your system.
The drug’s properties aren’t just the sole factor that influences the length of stay of opioids in the body. In fact, there are also other individual-based factors that may put on weight on the metabolism of opioids:
- Age: Younger people have a faster metabolism, and older age is associated with slower metabolism of opioids.
- Metabolism rate: Lifestyle habits, genetic predisposition, and weight are also determinants of one’s metabolism. Those with faster metabolism rates tend to process the drug quickly as well.
- Body fat content: Higher fat content is associated with a slower metabolism, as lipid cells may hinder the flow of blood.
- Drug quality: Prescribed medications may have average half-lives, but some illicit opioids may have highly varied rates in this area. Illicit opioids can contain other substances that can change how the body metabolizes the drug.
- Liver and kidney health: People who have health conditions associated with the liver and kidney tend to process opioids slower than those who have typical organ function.
- Body water composition: People who drink more water and are predisposed to store more water in the body tend to flush out opioids faster.
- Amount and frequency of use: Heavy and frequent users will have a higher-than-average length of wait to get rid of opioids in their system compared to those who only take the drug sparingly.
With these factors in place, it is best to say that there is no really set amount of time to be 100% sure that opioids cannot be detected in physical assessments. Understanding how opioids metabolize will also give us an idea of ways to flush them out.\
It is important to note that the term “opioids” is an umbrella term for different types of drugs with similar effects. As previously mentioned, drugs such as hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, and heroin are all opioids, and they have similarities and differences in terms of their route of metabolization in the body. We will be taking note of how opioids metabolize in general based on their similarities:
- Most opioids pass through the liver: After intake, the drug goes through the liver to filter out other unnecessary chemicals before entering the bloodstream. When opioids are taken intravenously, this step is skipped as the drug is directly injected into the circulatory system.
- The bloodstream carries opioid chemicals towards the brain: The brain has opioid receptors that match up with the substance and brings about its pain-relieving and pleasurable effects. The effects can last for minutes or hours, depending on the type of opioid taken.
- Remnants will be processed by the excretory system: When the effects wear out, the remnants of the drug will pass through the bloodstream again, where kidneys clean out the blood of opioids. This will be excreted through urine, sweat, saliva, and other bodily fluids.
This general 3-step process varies greatly on the individual factors as well as the amount and frequency of taking opioids.
What does opioid half-life mean? This is characterized by the typical half amount of time before the drug leaves the body. There are two kinds of half-lives for opioids: The short and long half-life.
Short half-life opioids are those which are highly potent but leave the body quickly. For example, fentanyl variants have half-lives of only 4-6 hours. This means that it is possible for fentanyl to be undetected after 12 hours–but then again, this still varies because of individual factors.
Long half-life opioids are those which may be less potent but stay longer in the body. Methadone has a half-life of 24-36 hours, which means that you need to wait at least 72 hours before testing negative.
How Long Can Opioids In Your System Be Detected?
It is important to note that these opioid half-life computations are averages, and it is determined when all other factors are within a controlled sample. Half-lives are reliable when you are taking the right dosage, have typical bodyweight, no health issues, among many others. Those with substance abuse problems may not find opioid half-lives as a reliable measure.
If you have an upcoming drug test and you are taking opioids within the right dosages, it is possible to rely on averages presented. However, if you are suffering from opioid addiction, the only sure way to get rid of the drug in your system is abstinence through detoxification.
Do-it-yourself detoxification methods may be ineffective and dangerous. Since opioid withdrawal causes a number of uncomfortable and even life-threatening effects, it is important to seek professional help when abstaining from the drug.
Find Help With Opioid Addiction
You may have encountered this post in the hopes of finding information about how to rid of opioids in your system, and thankfully, there is a safe and effective way to do so. Below are some of the highly recommended methods for opioid treatment:
- Medically Assisted Treatment: Health professionals will be prescribing medications such as buprenorphine to help dampen the effects of opioids in the body. This will help lessen the dependency, in the hopes of proceeding to rehab treatment once withdrawal symptoms wear off.
- Tapering Off: Some people recover from quitting cold turkey, but in most cases, it is proven to be dangerous and difficult. By going to an inpatient rehab center, you can receive lodging, therapies, and medications that can help you safely manage detox and withdrawal within an appropriate timeline.
- Therapies: Nutrition and fitness, counseling, psychotherapies, spiritual and holistic treatments can all supplement fighting opioid addiction after detox.
Flushing Opioids For Good? It Is Possible
Instead of constantly being anxious and wondering how long opioids can stay in your system, a better approach would be to flush out the drug away from your body for good. By taking a commitment towards opioid addiction recovery, you can free yourself from worries of testing positive–and step forward to a healthier, fulfilling life.
Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.
Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.