Skip to content

What Are Opioids?

Opioids, sometimes called narcotics, are medications prescribed by doctors to treat persistent or severe pain. They are used by people with chronic headaches and backaches, by patients recovering from surgery or experiencing severe pain associated with cancer, and by adults and children who have gotten hurt playing sports or who have been seriously injured in falls, auto accidents, or other incidents.

Opioids are a broad group of pain-relieving drugs that work by interacting with opioid receptors in your cells. Opioids can be made from the poppy plant — for example, morphine (Kadian, Ms. Contin, others) — or synthesized in a laboratory — for example, fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, others) [1].

When opioid medications travel through your blood and attach to opioid receptors in your brain cells, the cells release signals that muffle your perception of pain and boost your feelings of pleasure. Opioid addiction can happen after just a week of use. The risk for long-term opioid abuse increases after only five days of taking the medicine. Some people who were supposed to take opioids for only a week are still taking them a year later. 

Ryan Zofay forming a circle and hugging friends.

Get Your Life Back

Find Hope & Recovery. Get Safe Comfortable Detox, Addiction Rehab & Dual Diagnosis High-Quality Care.

Hotline (877) 378-4154

How Opioids Are Metabolized?

The metabolism determines how quickly a drug enters and leaves a person’s body. When taken orally, most opioids experience first-pass metabolism, meaning a significant portion of the opioid is metabolized by the liver or stomach wall before it enters blood circulation. Intravenous or transdermal administration causes the opioid to immediately enter the bloodstream before being metabolized. Metabolites, a byproduct of metabolism, are usually attached to chemicals such as glucuronic acid before being excreted. However, some chemicals are directly excreted in the urine.

For example, heroin is metabolized by the liver, kidneys, brain, and heart into a chemical called 6-monoacetylmorphine, more commonly known as 6-MAM. The body converts 6-MAM into morphine, and the liver metabolizes morphine. After morphine is metabolized, the chemical is either excreted in the urine or feces as morphine or attached to glucuronic acid and then excreted. 6-MAM can also be excreted in urine or feces. Because morphine is a byproduct of heroin, the presence of morphine in a drug test can indicate either heroin or morphine use. 6-MAM is only a byproduct of heroin.

Some opioids, such as heroin or codeine, produce active metabolites that are more potent than the original compound. Heroin and codeine are metabolized into morphine, which can have euphoric or pain-relieving effects on the brain. If the drugs reach the brain before metabolizing, the effects are less noticeable.

How long do opiates stay in your system
How long do opiates stay in your system? Opiates can stay in your system for up to one week. Saliva tests can detect the drugs for between 24 and 48 hours. Urine tests can detect opiates and opioids for about seven days.

Each person’s metabolic rate affects how mildly or severely they experience a drug’s effects. For example, someone who struggles to metabolize codeine may not feel the drug’s effects because the body converts only a small amount of the drug into the active metabolite morphine. On the other hand, people who rapidly metabolize codeine can end up with a dangerously high level of morphine in their system.

How long does a pain pill stay in your system? Metabolism rates can affect drug tests because someone with a high amount of morphine caused by the rapid metabolism of codeine could be suspected of using heroin. However, that scenario is rare.

Some stores and websites sell products that claim to help a person remove opioids or opioid metabolites from a person’s body. However, over-the-counter detox products are unlikely to help you pass a drug test. Changes in diet or exercise may cause minor changes in how your body removes opioids from its system, but at-home detox strategies don’t cause significant changes.

Factors That Affect Drug Processing

Opiates tend to have short half-lives, meaning they leave the system quickly, though effects can last several hours. How long drug tests detect each opiate depends on many factors, including the type of ingestion. For example, prescription opiates typically come in pill form. Taking a drug orally means passing through the digestive system first, so it can take around an hour for the effects to begin. On the other hand, substances like heroin are more often injected, smoked, or snorted. These methods create a much faster and more intense high, and they pass out of the body sooner.

Other factors affecting how quickly an opiate leaves the system include:

  • The individual’s metabolism rate
  • Body mass and weight
  • Body fat content
  • The health of the liver and kidneys
  • Age
  • How often and how heavy is opiate use is
  • Quality of the drug
  • Amount of water in the body
How long do opiates stay in your system
How Long Do Opiates Stay in Your System? We Level Up NJ is a premier New Jersey residential opiate rehab center

Of course, the type of opiate also factors into how long drug tests can detect it. Commonly prescribed opioids include Vicodin, OxyContin, morphine, and codeine, discontinued in the U.S. market.

Get Help. Get Better. Get Your Life Back.

Searching for an Accredited Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers in Near You?

Even if you have failed previously and relapsed, or are in the middle of a difficult crisis, we stand ready to support you. Our trusted behavioral health specialists will not give up on you. When you feel ready or just want someone to speak to about therapy alternatives to change your life call us. Even if we cannot assist you, we will lead you to wherever you can get support. There is no obligation. Call our hotline today.

FREE Addiction Hotline – Call 24/7

Factors that Influence How Long Opioids Stay In Your System

  • How much was taken
  • Weight
  • Speed of metabolism
  • The dose is taken regularly
  • The method of administration
  • Presence of other drugs in the body
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Medical conditions affecting drug elimination
  • Gender

How Long Do Opiates Stay in Urine?

Numerous factors determine how long do opiates stay in your system. The most influential factors are the frequency of drug use and the type of opioid. For example, most drug tests only detect short-lasting opiates such as codeine for a few days. Still, long-lasting opioids such as methadone can be detectable for multiple days or one week [2].

Drug tests are essential for caregivers, doctors, and therapists to keep loved ones or patients in recovery from addiction accountable. In addition, knowing that a drug test is on the horizon may deter someone from using opiates and help them maintain sobriety. But drug tests aren’t perfect, and many of them can produce misleading results if the person administering the test isn’t aware of the detection window for opioid use. For example, hair and urine tests can detect opioids and opiates in the body for longer than blood or saliva tests.

How long do opiates stay in your system
How long do opiates stay in your system? Different Opioids remain in your system for different amounts of time. Both the rate at which they activate and the number of times. Opioids are detectable after use, depending on which specific Opioid was used.

How long do opioids stay in your system? Different opioids and opiates stay in the body for various lengths of time. The term opioid refers to drugs similar to chemicals found in the opium plant. The difference between opiates and opioids is that opiates occur naturally. Manufactured opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone usually stay in your system longer than opiates.

Heroin stays in your system for a few minutes, but standard drug tests can detect heroin metabolites for about three days. Oxycodone stays in the body for a similar length of time. After last use, it remains in urine for up to three days, saliva for between 24 and 48 hours, and blood for about 25 hours.

Brand name drugs stay in the body for similar lengths as generic versions. For example, Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen) stays in urine for up to three days and in blood for about a day. On the other hand, OxyContin, an extended-release version of oxycodone, stays in the body for eight and 12 hours. Therefore, it can remain in a person’s system longer than generic oxycodone.

Vicodin and other drugs containing hydrocodone stay in your system for a similar amount of time as oxycodone products. Similarly, morphine can be detected by most drug tests for two to three days.

First-class Facilities & Amenities

World-class High-Quality Addiction & Mental Health Rehabilitation Treatment

Rehab Centers Tour

Renowned Addiction Centers. Serene Private Facilities. Inpatient rehab programs vary.

Addiction Helpline (877) 378-4154

Proven recovery success experience, backed by a Team w/ History of:

  • 15+ Years Experience
  • 100s of 5-Star Reviews
  • 10K+ Recovery Successes
  • Low Patient to Therapist Ratio
  • Onsite Medical Detox Center
  • Comprehensive Dual-Diagnosis Treatment
  • Complimentary Family & Alumni Programs
  • Coaching, Recovery & Personal Development Events

How Long Do Opiates Stay in Your System – Urine Test?

Opioids represent one of many therapeutic options to treat chronic nonmalignant pain (CNMP) and have been among the most frequently prescribed medications in the United States since the 1990s, with hydrocodone being the second most dispensed medication overall 2015.

In 2015, clinicians in the United States prescribed three times more opioids than they did in 1999 and 4 times the amount their European counterparts did in 2015. The lack of alternative nonopioid medications to address moderate to severe pain that are equally effective yet safer than opioids partially explains the explosion in opioid prescribing for this population [3].

How long does opoids stay in your system? While urine drug testing may be contentious, it only remains a supplement to the many other equally important elements that assist the clinician in risk assessing the person when developing or modifying the pain management treatment plan:

  • Performing a focused history and physical examination
  • Reviewing any available pertinent past medical records
  • Reviewing the prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP)
  • Remaining vigilant for behavior issues (self-escalation, reports of lost or stolen prescriptions, frequent phone calls to the clinic, specific drug requests due to alleged intolerances or allergies, or doctor shopping)

How long does opiates stay in urine? Urine tests can detect codeine for up to 48 hours. Morphine can be detected for 48 to 72 hours. Hydrocodone can be detected for up to three days.

How Long Do Opiates Stay in Your Hair?

How long do opiates stay in your system – Hair Test? Hair tests have the most extended detection window of all types of drug screenings. Hair tests can detect opiates within seven to ten days after use and for up to ninety days. However, people who have been abusing the drug for an extended period of time may have far longer hair follicle detection windows.

How Long Do Opiates Stay in Your Saliva?

How long do opiates stay in your system – Saliva Test? Saliva tests are similar to blood tests because they cannot detect opioids in the system for very long. As a result, saliva tests are rarely used to screen for opioid drugs. Saliva drug screenings may detect opioids for up to 5 hours after a person’s last use. However, saliva tests are very accurate at testing for heroin, so they are a common choice if someone suspects a person has taken the drug in the last few hours.

How Long Do Opiates Stay in Your Blood?

How long do opiates stay in system? Blood tests are typically only used in a medical emergency where individuals require immediate attention. Furthermore, heroin isn’t detected in blood for very long, so blood tests generally detect heroin for only 5-6 hours after the drug is taken. In rare instances, blood screenings may detect heroin for up to two days.

How long do opiates stay in your system – Blood Test? Blood tests can detect morphine for six to eight hours in your blood. Codeine can be detected for 12 hours. Hydrocodone can be detected for up to 24 hours. Fentanyl can be detected in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours.

World-class, Accredited, 5-Star Reviewed, Effective Addiction & Mental Health Programs. Complete Behavioral Health Inpatient Rehab, Detox plus Co-occuring Disorders Therapy.

CALL (877) 378-4154

End the Addiction Pain. End the Emotional Rollercoaster. Get Your Life Back. Start Drug, Alcohol & Dual Diagnosis Mental Health Treatment Now. Get Free No-obligation Guidance by Substance Abuse Specialists Who Understand Addiction & Mental Health Recovery & Know How to Help.

Which Opioids Are The Most Commonly Abused? 

Prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drug abuse is at epidemic levels. The two represent what a doctor prescribes (a prescription medicine) and what you can buy without a doctor’s prescription (OTC). Both have immediate and long-term consequences. The consequences can be serious, even deadly.

The most commonly abused prescription drugs are opioids. These include codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone, and Fentanyl. These are known as pain medicines. Doctors prescribe them for pain related to surgery, chronic medical conditions, and dental procedures. Addiction to prescription opioids can occur after just a week of use. The risk for long-term opioid abuse increases after only five days of taking medicine. Some people who were supposed to take opioids for only a week are still taking them a year later. 

Current thinking encourages doctors to limit opioid prescriptions to just three days if they are necessary. After three days, doctors encourage patients to use OTC pain medicine, such as Tylenol. Other prescription medicines that are abused include sedatives (to sleep), tranquilizers (to relax), and stimulants (to stay awake).

Finding the Next Level of Treatment At We Level Up NJ

If you’re wondering how long do opiates stay in your system and are detected on drug tests, you are also probably wondering how to get the opiates out of your system. Unfortunately, there is no pill you can take or drink you can drink to surely and safely flush opiate metabolites from your system. Instead, the only way to get the drug out of your system is to stop using it and ask for professional help.

If you’ve tried to quit in the past but ended up using heroin again, that’s a clear sign you need professional help. Get them the safest help they need and deserve. Our team at We Level Up NJ specializes in creating an ideal environment and providing effective therapies.

How long do opiates stay in your system
How Long Do Opiates Stay in Your System? Reach out for help today!

FAQs on How Long Do Opiates Stay in Your System

How long do pain pills stay in your system?

How long do painkillers stay in your system? Painkillers are drugs administered to patients to relieve them of pain by dousing a current pain signal sent to the central nervous system. On the whole, opioids tend to have a half-life of one to seven days, depending on the drug taken. However, they may show up in hair for up to 90 days.

How long do pills stay in your system?

Different pills will stay in your system for different amounts of time. Most pills can often be detected days after use by a urine test. However, many variables can affect the time a specific drug lingers in a specific individual’s system.

How long do opiates stay in your system? According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these are some common timeframes in which a particular type of pill could linger in a person’s system, causing them to provide a positive drug test.

  • Opiates: 1 to 3 days
  • Speed (amphetamine, methamphetamine): 2 to 3 days
  • PCP: 7 to 14 days
  • Ecstasy: 2 to 4 days
  • Benzodiazepines: 1 to 4 days
  • Barbiturates: 1 to 3 weeks
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants: 2 to 7 days
How long do narcotics stay in your system?

The most commonly reported half-life for narcotics is between 3 to 5 hours; however, it is hard to determine this information since so many contributing factors exist. One major factor affecting the drug’s half-life is how someone takes a narcotic.

How long does narcotics stay in your system? The length of time that narcotics remain in urine, hair, or the blood varies depending on the potency of the drug, among other factors. Hair follicles can show traces of narcotics for up to 90 days. For urine, it is normally between 1 to 4 days.

How long are painkillers in your system?

A painkiller like codeine will not stay more than two days in urine. Another popular painkiller, morphine, will not stay in saliva for more than two days.

How long do pain killers stay in your system? On the whole, opioids tend to have a half-life of one to seven days, depending on the drug taken. However, they may show up in hair for up to 90 days. A painkiller like codeine will not stay more than two days in urine. Another popular painkiller, morphine, will not stay in saliva for more than two days.

How long does Roxy stay in your system?

Roxy is the street name for the drug known as Roxicodone. Its generic and better-known name is Oxycodone. This drug is a semi-synthetic opioid medication commonly proscribed to treat moderate to severe pain in a person. 

Due to its relatively short half-life, Roxicodone may stay in a patient’s system for up to 20 hours. However, it is important to note that each patient’s unique physiology affects how quickly they process medications. This time frame may be shortened or lengthened, depending on the patient.

How long do opioids stay in your system?

The following chart shows how long common opioids stay in your system based on detection time in drug tests:

Heroin – Urine: 7 days; Blood: 6 hours; Saliva: 5 hours; Hair: 90 days

Hydrocodone – Urine: 2-4 days; Saliva: 12-36 hours; Hair: 90 days

Morphine – Urine: 3 days; Blood: 12 hours; Saliva: 4 days; Hair: 90 days

Codeine – Urine: 24-48 hours; Blood: 24 hours; Saliva: 4 days; Hair: 90   day

Oxycodone – Urine: 4 days; Saliva 2 days; Hair: 90 days

Fentanyl – Urine: 24 hours; Blood: 12 hours; Saliva: 4 days; Hair: 90   days

Methadone – Urine: 2 weeks; Blood: 3 days; Saliva: 2 days; Hair: 90 days

How long do muscle relaxers stay in your urine?

Muscle relaxant drugs are commonly prescribed to people who report symptoms that may include spasms, cramps, and similar events.

Below is a guide that provides further details of different muscle relaxants, as well as the time they generally stay in the body and remain detectable:

  • Baclofen – Urine: 48 hours and up to 10 days for high doses
  • Flexeril – Urine: 4 days
  • Soma – 2 to 3 days
How long does fentanyl stay in saliva?

How long does fentanyl stay in your saliva depeds on several factors. How long does fentanyl stay in system? Fentanyl can be found in saliva for up to two days after the last dose. Fentanyl has a half-life of 7 hours, and experts usually agree that it takes 4 to 5 half-lives for a drug to be cleared from your body (which calculates to 35 hours). It’s challenging to detect fentanyl in saliva samples, especially if someone takes it transdermally or intravenously.

How long does opium stay in your system?

Opium-derived medications such as morphine have a short half-life, with half of it metabolized in 1.5 to 7 hours. Most of a single dose is eliminated in the urine within 72 hours. However, multiple or heavier dosages may take longer to clear from your system.

How long does Percocet stay in your saliva?

Percocet can be detected in saliva for up to two days after your last dose

Percocet can stay in your urine for up to four days after your last dose.

Percocet can be detected in your blood for about 24 hours after your last dose.

Tramadol stays in your system how long?

Generally, tramadol stays in our system for about 35 hours. Tramadol can be found in the hair for 30-90 days after taking the last dose of tramadol. Urine – Tramadol can be found in the urine for 24-72 hours after taking the last dose of tramadol.

How long does oxycodone stay in your saliva?

Drug tests pick up on oxycodone in 15 minutes or so, and a high drug concentration remains in saliva for 24 hours. The drug metabolites can be detected in the saliva for up to four days after taking the last dose.

How long does opioids stay in your urine?

Opioid drugs can be detected in the urine for two to four days. This time frame varies depending on the type of opioid someone has taken.

Common opioids and their average detection times in urine include:

  • morphine: two to three days
  • oxycodone (OxyContin): two to four days
  • codeine: up to three days
  • heroin: up to three days
  • hydrocodone (Vicodin): two to four days
  • methadone: up to two weeks
  • fentanyl: one to three days
How long does fentanyl stay in your bloodstream?

Blood testing is one of the least effective methods of detecting drug use over a long period. Fentanyl can only be recognized in the bloodstream for up to 12 hours. Although it typically isn’t detectable in the blood for longer than half a day, the adverse side effects of long-term opioid use manifest themselves in various ways, including life-threatening addiction and potential overdose.

How long does hydrocodone stay in saliva?

The pain relief effect of hydrocodone will wear off within four to six hours. But the drug may still be detected in the saliva for up to 36 hours, in urine for four days, and in the hair for 90 days after the last dose.

What does an opiates half life mean?

The half-life of a drug is the time it takes for the amount of a drug’s active substance in your body to reduce by half. This depends on how the body processes and gets rid of the drug. It can vary from a few hours to a few days, or sometimes weeks.

How long do opiates stay in your system? Morphine has a half-life that ranges from 1.5 to 23.9 hours. Heroin has a half-life of around eight minutes. Codeine has a half-life of up to three hours. Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) has a half-life of up to five hours.

How many days do opiates stay in your system?

Opiates are a common, fast-acting group of drugs often prescribed to those struggling with severe pain. 

Most opiates generally have a short half-life compared to other drugs. Opioids also tend to have a short half-life. For example, morphine has a half-life of approximately two to four hours. This means it takes four to eight hours for you to feel its effects no longer.

How long does opiates stay in blood?

When opiates are administered, they are collected in body’s fatty tissues and slowly discharged into the bloodstream. Detection-wise, opiates have a relativity short lifespan in the body; after approximately ten hours, the opiates are no longer detectable in the blood. However, depending on a number of factors, this number can easily change.

how long does hydrocodone stay in saliva

Start a New Life

Begin with a free call to an addiction & behavioral health treatment advisor. Learn more about our dual-diagnosis programs. The We Level Up treatment center network delivers recovery programs that vary by each treatment facility. Call to learn more.

  • Personalized Care
  • Caring Accountable Staff
  • World-class Amenities
  • Licensed & Accredited
  • Renowned w/ 100s 5-Star Reviews

We’ll Call You


Sources:

[1] NIDA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids

[2] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4920965/

[3] CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/prescribing/CDC-DUIP-UrineDrugTesting_FactSheet-508.pdf

[4] NCBI – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31643200/

[5] Top Opiate Addiction Treatment – Options And Timeline How long do opiates stay in your system – (welevelup.com)