Are you taking or planning to take opiates? The, you may be curious about how long they would stay in you system.
Opiates are usually prescribed to people struggling with chronic pain. This fast-acting group of drugs is used in the medical setting but can also be highly addictive, leading to addiction. Please note that millions of people worldwide suffer from drug use disorders, which has negative health impact.
Prescription opiates misuse resulted in opioid issues not only in the US but also in different parts of the world. For this reason, it is critical to understand the basics of opiates, including how long they stay in a person’s system.
Opiates: A Brief Overview
Opiates refer to a class of drugs used for pain relief derived from the opium poppy plant.
Some people are confused between opiates and opioids. To make it clear, opioids refer to substances interacting with opioid receptors and include substances created in the laboratory. As with opiates, they are substances derived from the opium plant.
Opiates are classed as prescription drugs used to relieve pain. Heroin, codeine, morphine, and opium are common opiates. Some natural opioids are codeine and morphine that also serve as chemical building blocks.
What are the Specifications of Opiates?
Opiates are known for their pain-killing effects. Doctors generally prescribe this class of drugs to help relieve mild to severe pain from operation recovery, cancer, and other forms of chronic pain.
Although opiates are effective pain killers, they are also known for their addictive nature. If opiate use is left unchecked, it can cause severe dependency. Once taken, they stay in the system for varying amounts of time.
Opiates and opioids are usually used interchangeably because they are prescribed for similar purposes and have the same effects.
Please note that opioids can be synthetic opioids or semi-synthetic opioids. This means they are not entirely natural because they are created through chemical processes. There is also a certain amount of time how long opioids stay in your system. Hydromorphone, oxymorphone, methadone, tramadol, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl are common opioids.
While opiates and opioids both have the same effects, they differ in chemical makeup. These drugs are prescribed in different forms, including a liquid form for IV use, nasal sprays, films, patches, lozenges, or pills.
How is Opiates Use Detected?
In many cases, employers use drug testing to ensure all prospective employees are reliable and productive. Drug testing is also used in employees’ compensation cases, competitive athletics, child custody disputes, parole, and other cases.
Below are different drug test types for detecting opiates use:
Urine tests are the most common test for detecting opiate use. When the body metabolizes various substances, the byproducts usually pass through the kidneys and then into urine for disposal. These tests can determine certain byproducts that end in urine. Please note that byproducts are specific to every drug.
Hair testing relies on detecting byproducts released by the body after using drugs. These tests can detect traces of opiates even months after use.
When the body metabolizes opiates, byproduct molecules (metabolites flow through the blood on the scalp. Then, they are deposited on growing hairs.
Saliva tests are preferred by many because of their less invasive nature. On the other hand, their window for accurate opiate use detection is smaller compared to urine tests. These tests may not detect drug presence accurately unless they are taken within several hours of testing.
Blood tests provide an accurate result of a person’s recent use of opiate. They can determine the levels of opiates in the blood. On the other hand, the increased effectiveness comes with invasive and expensive nature. This is why only a few people prefer these tests.
What are the Factors that Affect Opiates Processing?
Opiates come with short half-lives. In other words, while the drug’s effects can last a few hours, they leave the system quickly.
Drug tests detect the period of each opiate varies depending on many factors, like the ingestion type. Generally, prescription opiates come in pill form.
If a person takes an opiate orally, the drug will initially pass through the digestive system. As a result, it takes approximately 1 hour for opiate effects to start. However, opiates like heroin are more often snorted, smoked, or injected. Please note these methods can create a more intense and faster high. They also pass out of the system sooner.
Below are common factors influence how long these drugs stay in the system:
Medical conditions that affect drug elimination
Presence of other drugs in the body
The mode of administration
The dose is taken regularly
Speed of metabolism
How much drug was taken
The health of kidneys and liver
Amount of water in the body
Furthermore, the opiate type also influences how long drug tests can detect the drug. Most opiates come with a short-life. For instance, if morphine comes with 2-4 hours of half-life, it will take 4-8 hours for a person to feel its effects. However, it still depends on the person’s reaction to morphine.
What is Opiates Half-Life?
The half-life of a drug is the amount of time it takes for its 50% to be metabolized and processed out from the system. When 4-5 half-life cycles are completed, the drug becomes almost undetectable in the body.
Different Opioids and opiates’ half-life vary from minutes to hours. Here are the most common opiates and opioids (synthetic opioids/semi-synthetic opioids) alongside their half-lives:
Morphine – 1.7 to 4.5 hours half-life
Heroin – 3 minutes half-life, but metabolizes into morphine
Codeine – 2.9 hours half-life
Oxycodone – 3.5 to 7 hours half-life
Hydrocodone – 3.5 to 9 hours half-life
Fentanyl – 2 to 4 hours half-life (intravenous); 7 to 17 hours (patch/lozenge)
How Long Do Opiates Stay in the System?
Check out the following to learn how long opiates and opioids stay in the system according to drug test detection time:
Morphine – can be detected 2 to 5 days after last use
Heroin – can be detected 2 to 3 days after last use
Codeine – can be detected 2 to 4 days after last use
Oxycodone – can be detected 3 to 4 days after last use
Hydrocodone – can be detected 3 to 4 days after last use
Fentanyl – can be detected 8 to 24 hours after the last use
Methadone – can be detected 2 weeks after the last use
Morphine – can be detected 1 to 36 hours after last use
Heroin – can be detected 1 to 36 hours after last use
Codeine – can be detected 1 to 36 hours after last use
Oxycodone – can be detected 1 to 96 hours after last use
Hydrocodone – can be detected 1 to 36 hours after last use
Fentanyl – can be detected 1 to 96 hours after last use
Methadone – can be detected 2 days after the last use
Morphine – can be detected up to 90 days after last use
Heroin – can be detected up to 90 days after last use
Codeine – can be detected up to 90 days after last use
Oxycodone – can be detected up to 90 days after last use
Hydrocodone – can be detected up to 90 days after last use
Fentanyl – can be detected up to 90 days after the last use
Methadone – can be detected 90 days after the last use
Morphine – can be detected 12 hours after last use
Heroin – can be detected 6 hours after use
Codeine – can be detected 12 hours after the last use
Oxycodone – can be detected 12 hours after last use
Hydrocodone – can be detected 12 to 36 hours after last use
Fentanyl – can be detected 12 hours after the last use
Methadone – can be detected 3 days after the last use
How Long Does Codeine Stay in the System?
Codeine is known to be one of the fastest opiates to leave the system. This opiate is found in urine for 2 to 4 days and in the blood just 12 hours after last use. Since saliva test has a wider range, this opiate can be detected 1 to 36 hours after last use. Lastly, codeine can be found in someone’s hair for up to 90 days.
How Long Does Heroin Stay in the System?
Aside from being a fast-acting drug, heroin also has a very short half-life. This opiate can be detected through saliva test 1 to 36 hours after the last dose. It is found in the blood 6 hours after last use.
A urine test helps detect this opiate up to three days after last substance use. Meanwhile, a hair follicle test can find this drug for up to 90 days.
How Long Does Morphine Stay in the System?
In comparison, morphine requires more time to work than heroin. However, its effect can last longer. A blood test can detect opiates like morphine 12 hours after last use.
A urine testing can detect the drug for up 5 days. For more effective drug testing, saliva tests can detect morphine traces for up to 36 hours after the last dose. Like other opiates, morphine is found in hair follicles for up to 90 days.
How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in the System?
Oxycodone is metabolized by the liver, which produces metabolites, including noroxycodone and noroxymorphone. This opioid and its metabolites are processed out from the system through the kidneys.
Since its half-time is 3.5 to 7 hours, it takes longer for 50% of the dose to be eliminated from the bloodstream.
Oxycodone is detectable in saliva for 1 to 96 hours, while 3 to 4 days after last substance use. Again, it is detectable in the hair for up to 90 days.
How Long Does Hydrocodone Stay in the System?
Unlike other drugs, hydrocodone is known for leaving the system faster. After taking the last pill, hydrocodone is found in saliva for 1 to 36 hours. Urine tests can detect the drug within 3 to 4 days, while up to 90 days for hair tests.
What Does Opiate Addiction Look Like?
If a person has taken an opiate for a long time, they may develop a physical addiction even if it was prescribed to them. It may not be a physiological addiction, but they may still experience opiate withdrawal symptoms upon ceasing consumption.
Opiate addiction is sometimes tricky to spot, especially since most people hide it because of unwillingness to stop, denial, shame, or social stigma. This means you may be someone with a substance abuse disorder without realizing it. Or you may have the addiction but are unaware of it.
Here are some signs of opiate addiction:
Cannot stop using opiates
Stealing or doing other unlawful behavior
Limited interest in activities and hobbies
Isolation and social withdrawal
Reduced self-care and personal hygiene
Lying and secretive behavior
Defensiveness and denial
What are the Treatments Available for Opiate Addiction?
A person with addiction to opiate will need to complete addiction treatment in a rehab facility. Please note that no specific rehab program is suitable for all.
That is why different treatment options and their related outcomes are available in varying settings. However, someone should do research and determine the appropriate treatment process for them. That way, they can ensure success in their journey.
The first step in every addiction treatment is detoxification. It helps remove opiates from the system and alleviate physical dependency on them.
Once a person completes the detoxification phase, the next thing to do is to work on addiction’s physiological side. Rehabilitation is beyond treating the physical aspect; it also heals the mind from trauma.
Therapies, such as group therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and one-to-one talk therapy, are critical to learning healthy coping mechanisms. With ongoing support from family members and healthcare providers, someone with addiction to opiate can prevent relapsing, stay on track, and recover successfully.
What Does Detox Mean?
Detox refers to the process of purging the body of all drug or alcohol traces. People can choose between a natural or medical detox when treating their substance abuse.
Natural detox is performed at home without using medications to relieve symptoms. Aside from being less effective, it can also be a dangerous method of detox.
As with medical detox, it is carried out through outpatient treatment process with qualified healthcare provider approval. It can also be completed in the inpatient treatment facility.
Ideally, someone must undergo the detox process in a safe environment, like rehab treatment facilities, ensuring it is under the supervision of specialized medical professionals. That way, withdrawal symptoms can be prevented or managed correctly.
What Do Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms Look Like?
People who stop taking opiates usually experience sudden withdrawal symptoms. It may be an uncomfortable transition, but it is the body’s way of taking back over opiates and purging them from the system.
Opiate withdrawal can be challenging; however, different treatments are available to alleviate symptoms. In treatment facilities, healthcare providers are responsible for providing necessary medications to make patients feel comfortable and better.
Opiates are derived from opium poppy plant. These natural opioid chemicals are often prescribed by licensed medical professionals, like doctors and other qualified healthcare provider to people suffering from chronic or severe pain to control the pain levels. However, opiates use can create feelings of euphoria and pleasure.
Due to these pleasurable and euphoric side effects, opiates carry the risk of overdose or drug abuse. So, people must, take a drug test, seek professional medical advice and undergo drug addiction treatment. Different treatment centers offer various opiate and opioid addiction treatment programs.
So, do not hesitate to contact nearest treatment facility’s qualified admissions representative with advanced recovery systems.