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How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System? Detecting Meth in Tests FAQs & Effective Treatment Options

Meth is one of the most addictive drugs and it also has potentially fatal side effects. Discover what affects how long meth stays in your system and how the body breaks down meth.

By We Level Up NJ Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: November 16, 2022

How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System?

Meth is a highly addictive stimulant that excites the brain. It typically comes in the form of a powder, but it can be snorted, smoked, injected, and even swallowed in pill form. Meth is frequently abused and sold on the street under many different nicknames because of its highly addictive quality, meth users struggle to give up on their own and must seek professional meth addiction help to finally stop permanently. Continued abuse can lead to serious health problems as well as a drastic decline in physical condition.

How long does meth stay in your system for? Each individual is different; therefore, there is no set time for how long meth stays in your system. Various factors contribute to and can affect this number. Generally, the “high” that users get from meth starts relatively fast. The metabolism of meth is faster in some people than in others. The effects of the drug typically last from six to twelve hours. However, traces of meth in an individual’s system can be found even months later. The amount of time that the drug remains in the body can change depending on the average dose of meth taken, the person’s physical characteristics, and the frequency of use.

What Is Meth?

Methamphetamine, often known as meth, crystal, ice, or Tina, is a synthetic central nervous system stimulant that is extremely addictive because of its well-known abuse potential and propensity for addiction, methamphetamine is classified in the US as a Schedule II substance. Although there are authorized prescription forms available, most of the drug is produced illegally, and any recreational use is strictly prohibited. An estimated 1.9 million (0.7%) Americans ages 12 and older reported using methamphetamine in the previous 12 months in 2018. Meth’s effects can continue for eight to twenty-four hours, and it can be discovered in hair and urine for up to ninety days after use.

What’s The Difference Between Meth & Crystal Meth?

Crystal meth is a very pure form of meth, which forms in a crystalline structure. It is typically traded this way to prove that it is in its purest form. However, it’s the same substance you’d get in a powder, putty, or tablet form. The effects are the same, although more robust. Therefore, crystal meth can stay in the system longer than a weaker form of the same drug. The question is, how long does meth stay in your system? One of the main reasons to be aware of how long meth remains in the system is the risk of overdose. Read this article to learn more.

Since many people combine meth with other substances, that can affect how long meth stays in your system as well as how you feel when you take the drug. For example, people often drink alcohol when they take meth to reduce the jittery effects that the drug has on their bodies.
Since many people combine meth with other substances, that can affect how long meth stays in your system as well as how you feel when you take the drug. For example, people often drink alcohol when they take meth to reduce the jittery effects that the drug has on their bodies.
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Methamphetamine Fact Sheet

Methamphetamine is also known as Meth and Desoxyn


Methamphetamine Stimulant

It can handle ADHD. It can aid in the weight loss of obese patients.


Methamphetamine Controlled Substance

Can lead to heart failure, delirium, panic attacks, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and psychosis.

Methamphetamine Availability

Prescription only.


Methamphetamine & Pregnancy

Consult a physician.


Methamphetamine & Alcohol

Avoid. There may be very serious interactions.

Meth Addiction Statistics

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2015 to 2018, an estimated 1.6 million U.S. adults aged 18 years and above, on average, reported past-year meth use; 52.9% had a meth addiction, and 22.3% reported injecting meth within the past year. In addition, co-occurring substance use and mental illness were common among those who used meth within the past year.


2.6 million

In 2020, 0.9%, or around 2.6 million people, reported taking methamphetamine in the previous 12 months.

Source: National Institute On Drug Abuse

0.2%

In 2021, it is projected that 0.2% of eighth-graders, 0.2% of tenth-graders, and 0.2% of twelfth-graders used methamphetamine in the previous year.

Source: National Institute On Drug Abuse

1.5 million

A methamphetamine use problem in the previous 12 months affected a projected 0.6% (or 1.5 million) of individuals aged 12 or older in 2020.

Source: National Institute On Drug Abuse


How Long Are The Effects Of Meth?

Methamphetamine is often either injected or smoked in a tiny glass pipe. The drug enters the brain fairly quickly with both of these techniques, with injection being the quickest. This results in an immensely delightful “rush” or “flash” of bliss. The drug can also be taken orally or snorted through the nose, generating a long-lasting high that can last up to half a day instead of an acute rush and is frequently accompanied by increased physical activity.

Contrary to cocaine, a stimulant that is swiftly eliminated from and almost entirely digested in the body, meth stays in the body for a considerably longer period of time, mostly remaining untouched by the body’s metabolism. This results in sustained stimulant effects. Depending on how much is consumed, the time of day, how it was administered (IV, oral, etc.), how well the kidneys and liver are functioning, and the person’s body chemistry, the effects of meth can last anywhere from 8 to 24 hours.

How Does Meth Break Down In The Body?

The body quickly absorbs meth whether it’s injected, smoked, snorted, or taken orally. The drug is naturally broken down by the liver. In the liver, part of meth is turned into amphetamine, a stimulant drug that has the same chemical structure. Both amphetamine and methamphetamine are released in the urine. The length of time meth stays in the body depends in large part on the drug’s elimination half-life, which is the amount of time it takes for the body to clear half the drug from the bloodstream.

Half-lives are not precise, however, and they can change depending on many physiological factors. The half-life of meth commonly ranges from six to fifteen hours. The pH level, or the acidity, of a person’s urine, may also impact how fast the drug is excreted. Other factors, which may include weight, age, and overall health, affect how fast meth is metabolized or discharged from the body.

So, how long does crystal meth stay in your system? That often depends on the strength and volume of the drug taken and how it is used. If you take a prescription recommended dose of 30mg it’s halved to 15 in your system within 12 hours. By 24 hours, you’re down to 7.5mg. At 60 hours, you’d have slightly less of a milligram of drug left in your system.

What Is The Half-Life Of Meth?

The half-life of meth is 9 to 24 hours. Accordingly, it takes between 9 and 24 hours for the concentration of meth in a person’s blood to drop by half.

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What Factors Affect How Long Crystal Meth Stays In Your System?

Metabolic Rate

Metabolic rate is the number of calories needed to keep the body functioning at rest. An average man has a metabolic rate of around 7,100 KJ per day, while an average woman has a metabolic rate of about 5,900 kJ per day. If you have a high metabolic rate, you’ll process drugs much more quickly. Factors such as age, gender, activity level, and health also will play major roles when determining your metabolic rate. An 18–25-year-old man will most likely metabolize meth much more quickly than nearly any other demographic.

Body Fat

Lipids usually retain substances and store them. This could mean that people with a higher percentage of body fat will retain meth much longer. This, along with naturally slower metabolisms, is why most women typically show up positive on drug tests for longer as compared to men.

Rate of Use

The more the person uses meth, the harder it is for the body to metabolize the drug. The body will experience what is called “system saturation”. It means the body will retain the meth for a longer period of time. Frequent, heavy, and long-term abuse means meth will stay in the system for longer.

Health

The liver and kidneys’ health will play a major role in how long crystal meth stays in your system. This is affected by your health, total drug use, infections, food, and more.

Usage

Injecting crystal meth means it will stay in your system much longer than someone smoking or using the drug orally. This isn’t true with prescription amphetamines designed for slow release with oral tablets but is true of crystal meth.

These hazardous effects can be worst if you are mixing crystal meth and alcohol.

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How Long Does Meth Stay In Saliva?

Same as most drugs, crystal meth can normally be detected in saliva or oral fluids for one day. However, in some cases, it can be detected up to three days later. Saliva samples are most often collected by placing an absorbent swab in between a person’s gums and lower cheek. The swab is left in place for several minutes before the sample is sent to the lab for testing. Just like blood, saliva tests offer one of the shortest detection windows by detecting meth up to 48 hours after the last use. This factor is because substances like meth are immediately metabolized and eliminated from the membranes and secretions of the mouth, making it harder to identify them.

Substance abuse and addiction can get out of hand quickly, so it is best to get professional help as soon as possible.
Substance abuse and addiction can get out of hand quickly, so it is best to get professional help as soon as possible.

How Long Does Meth Stay In Your Hair?

Hair has the longest detection period for meth. Methamphetamine can be detected in hair follicles as soon as seven to ten days after an individual has used it. The substance stays in the hair for up to ninety days. However, hair tests are usually expensive compared to other types of testing. Illicit drugs such as cocaine, opioids, and meth tend to adhere more strongly to hair with darker pigments. Unfortunately, environmental contamination has been proven to cause false positives.

Tests using the hair sample are best suited for detecting heavy meth use. However, it won’t necessarily identify one-time use of the drug. A hair test will show what substance entered the body when it first entered the body, and when it last entered the body. Myths of achieving a clean drug test like dying your hair, baking soda bombs, or drinking a large amount of water do not help. The only way that will help you achieve a clean drug test is not taking drugs long enough before the drug test.

How Long Does Meth Stay In Urine?

How long does meth stay in your system urine test? The kidneys are primarily responsible for discharging methamphetamine from the body. They will excrete hydroxymethamphetamine, the byproduct of methamphetamine metabolism, and 37-54% of methamphetamine is eliminated by the body in the form of urine.

Urine testing is the most popular and cost-effective method to screen for meth use. This is because meth and its primary metabolite, amphetamine, will show up in urine within an hour of ingesting the drug. Samples of urine obtained from occasional meth users will test positive one to three days after the last use. A chronic meth user might still test positive seven to ten days after using the drug.

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How Long Does Meth Stay in Your Blood?

How long does meth stay in your blood system? Substances are immediately metabolized and broken down in the bloodstream. As a result, while meth can be discovered using a blood drug test, the period for detection is narrow compared to other methods. Blood tests can be applied to detect the presence of a substance up to 2 days after the last dosage.

What are the Implications of Second-Hand Meth Smoke?

While it may cause you to test positive for methamphetamine, researchers are unsure if inhaling in secondhand methamphetamine smoke will make you feel high. To confirm the specifics surrounding this topic, more research must be conducted in the area.

Meth Withdrawal

By this time, withdrawal symptoms from meth will start to appear, especially in strong, long-term users. This drug’s withdrawal symptoms are very unpleasant and are accompanied by strong cravings. An individual who uses meth is frequently motivated by this to take increasingly larger doses of the substance. It takes longer for a substance to completely leave the system the longer and heavier the use. Symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal may include:

  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness and sadness
  • Lack of pleasure (anhedonia)
  • Anger and violence
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle tremors
  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Dizziness
  • Inability to pay attention
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts

Despite not being immediately fatal like the withdrawal symptoms from opioids, alcohol, or benzodiazepines, the psychological repercussions of meth withdrawal can cause users to injure themselves or others. It is strongly advised against attempting “cold turkey” methamphetamine withdrawal management without a doctor’s supervision.

  1. How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System When Smoked?

    If you are wondering, “how long does smoking meth stay in your system?”, Methamphetamine may remain detectable in a person’s bloodstream for 2–3 days following use, and possibly longer for chronic users, although each person’s physiological makeup is unique.

  2. How Long Does Crystal Meth Stay In Your System For?

    Meth’s effects linger for a very long time, and its detoxification might take up to 4 days. It has a half-life of roughly ten hours. This indicates that it takes the body around 10 hours to digest and remove from the bloodstream 50% of the amount taken.

  3. How Long Does Meth Amphetamines Stay In Your System?

    Amphetamine abusers frequently question how long the drugs remain in their bodies. A doctor should be consulted if you’ve stopped using amphetamines or are thinking about quitting since you can experience withdrawal. A doctor can advise you on the best way to stop using these medicines. To assist you in managing withdrawal, a doctor may advise a tapering regimen or refer you to treatment.

How Long Does It Take To Get Addicted To Meth?

There is currently a lack of research demonstrating how long it takes for meth usage to lead to the onset of a substance use disorder. When someone has a substance use disorder, they engage in compulsive drug-seeking behavior, continuing to take their drug of choice despite feeling the negative symptoms of their addiction.

The possibility of developing a dependence on meth or going through withdrawal after just one use has also received little research. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), withdrawal usually happens when persons who use meth on a regular basis stop using it or reduce their usage.

How To Get Meth Out Of Your System

Due to the effects that meth has on the brain, many people may find that quitting is harmful. Programs for managing meth withdrawal assist patients detox from meth in a supportive and supervised setting.

Medical practitioners support patients in meth withdrawal management programs as they allow their bodies to detoxify off the drug. The symptoms of meth withdrawal may be managed by patients with the assistance of these medical specialists while they are detoxing off meth. Detoxing from meth is frequently the initial phase of a SUD treatment program.

Find The Right Treatment Plan At We Level Up NJ

Talk to one of our team members at We Level Up New Jersey to learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help you recover from meth mouth as a result of crystal meth addiction.
Talk to one of our team members at We Level Up New Jersey to learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help you recover from meth mouth as a result of crystal meth addiction.

If you are asking yourself the question, how long does meth stay in your system, then it’s either you’re concerned about having too many drugs in your system or worried that you will test positive for the drug. Heavy meth users need to detox from the drug under the guidance of a medical professional who can supervise them safely through the withdrawal and treatment process.

Talk to one of our team members today to learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help you recover from meth mouth as a result of crystal meth addiction. Our team at We Level Up NJ specializes in creating an ideal environment and providing effective therapies to help individuals who struggle with crystal meth abuse. We will develop a personalized treatment plan and lead you to recovery. Get started today!

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Sources

[1] CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6912a1.htm

[2] We Level UpRehab » Meth Addiction Treatment

Substance Abuse and Mental health Services Administration. (2019). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: results from the 2018 national survey on drug use and health. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration. (2017). Drugs of abuse: a DEA resource guide, 2017 edition. Washington, DC: Drug Enforcement Administration.

American Society of Addiction Medicine. (2019). The ASAM principles of addiction medicine, sixth edition. Philadelphia, PA: Welters Kluwer.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, October). Methamphetamine research report.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Drug Facts: Methamphetamine.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, January). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A Research-based guide (Third edition): Is there a difference between physical dependence and addiction?

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). “Protracted Withdrawal.” Substance Abuse Treatment Advisory: News for the Treatment Field. July 2010.

World Health Organization (WHO). “Withdrawal Management.” Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings, 2009.