How Long Do Different Types of Opioid Drugs Stay in a Person’s System?

Different opioid drugs can stay in a person’s system for different amounts of time. Depending on the type of drug you are using, it can be helpful to understand how long it is likely to linger in your system. Call 800-530-0431Who Answers? today to find rehab programs where you can put an end to substance abuse and start your life anew.

How Long Do Different Opioids Stay in Your System?

Some opioids are considered short-acting drugs, including heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. These drugs will usually cause effects that will last for 4 to 6 hours. Long-acting opioids, like extended-release medications, can cause effects that may last as long as 12 hours or, in the case of methadone, 24 to 36 hours (National Institute of Justice). Once the effects start to subside, the individual will no longer feel like the drug is in their system.

In truth, though, opioids tend to linger in a person’s body much longer than the amount of time in which the individual experiences the drugs’ effects. And because different opioids will have different lengths of effects in the body, some will also stay in the person’s system longer as well.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a drug test can determine whether or not a person has used a certain drug in a certain period of time. Different types of drug tests can determine use over a longer or shorter period of time as well. Below is the general timeline for how long a drug test can determine the use of different opioids, including the timelines for the different types of drug tests.

Opioid Drugs

Opioids can be detected in the blood for up to 4 days.

  • Heroin
    • Blood test: 4 to 6 hours
    • Urine: 2 to 7 days
    • Hair: 90 days
  • Codeine
    • Blood: 1 day
    • Urine: 1 to 2 days
    • Hair: 90 days
  • Hydrocodone
    • Blood: 6 hours
    • Urine: 2 to 4 days
    • Hair 90 days
  • Opium
    • Blood: 6 hours
    • Urine: 2 to 4 days
    • Hair 90 days
  • Morphine
    • Blood: 12 hours
    • Urine: 2 to 3 days
    • Hair: 90 days
  • Hydromorphone
    • Blood: 6 hours
    • Urine: 2 to 3 days
    • Hair: 90 days
  • Fentanyl
    • Blood: 1 to 4 days
    • Urine: 4 to 6 days
    • Hair: 90 days
  • Methadone
    • Blood: 24 hours
    • Urine: 6 to 12 days
    • Hair: 90 days
  • Buprenorphine
    • Blood: 1 to 2 days
    • Urine: 4 to 6 days
    • Hair: 90 days

In general, these are the amounts of times different opioid drugs can stay in a person’s system. However, there are other variables that can affect these timelines.

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What Other Variables Can Affect the Time an Opioid Stays in Your System?

Determining how long a certain opioid will stay in a person’s system isn’t an exact science. Every individual is different and may be affected differently by the drugs they use. As such, some of the variables that can affect the length of time an opioid lingers in someone’s system include

  • Body fat and weight: Opioids often build up in the body’s fat cells. A person who weighs more will see more of a buildup of the drug; hence, it will linger in their system longer.
  • Metabolism: People with faster metabolisms will process and get rid of the drug more quickly while those with slower metabolisms will take longer to excrete the substance.
  • Age: A person’s metabolism usually slows with age.
  • General health: People who are healthier will be able to process the drug more quickly as well, and their bodies will get rid of it faster. Those who are unhealthy will not. This is often an issue with drug abusers whose frequent substance use causes unhealthiness.
  • Frequency and amount of use: Those who use opioids frequently and in large doses––and especially those who abuse them––will accumulate a buildup in their fat cells, causing them to take longer to fully rid their systems of these drugs.

Every drug, person, and situation is different, but these are general rules you can follow if you are wondering how long an opioid drug might be likely to stay in your system.

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