How long do Opioids stay in your system?

Understanding Opioids 

Opioids are a type of drug which is commonly used in the medical universe to reduce intense or chronic pains such as operation recovery or cancer. As effective as these drugs are, they are highly addictive and are quick to cause dependency. 


This drug and its compounds are highly illegal across the world, the most common type of this illegal drug includes fentanyl and heroin, and they tend to be stronger than those administered medically. Those only administered with a prescription include com morphine, Vicodin, and oxycontin .also, the method of administration of the illegal type creates a more intense high effect. 

Like most drugs, they will stay for a certain period in your system, and the timeframe will depend on several factors. In this article, we shall answer questions regarding the ingestion of this drug, its effect on your system, and ways to detect it.

What Happens When You Use Opioids?

Opioids can be taken in different ways. Medically, these drugs are administered in pill form, meaning a patient has to ingest them. So, the pill takes a while before an individual can feel its effect. On the other hand, recreational use of this drug involves snorting, injection, or smoking. This means that the blood absorbs the drug a lot faster, meaning the individual experiences a more intense effect in a fraction of the time. 

Compared to the pill forms, other methods of consumption means the drug will pass out of the body sooner. 

How Much Time Does Opioids Spend In The System?

Naturally, the amount of time an opioid takes in your system is relative to the rate at which your body will metabolize an opioid once it is in the body. 

The most direct factors that influence the metabolism of this drug include the compound ingested and whether an individual has a medical condition that interferes with metabolism. 

Can You Measure How Long These Drugs Be Present In The Body?

In a simple answer, yes. It is crucial to understand the lifetime of an opioid, regardless of the direct influence of metabolism. 

A drug’s half-life defines the amount of time necessary for half dosage of a drug to naturally leave the body. The drugs could either be a long or short half-life, depending on the type of compound in question. 

For instance, oxycodone and hydrocodone will exit the body in about five hours because they have short half-lives. Methadone has a half-life of up to thirty-six hours, making it a long half-life compound.

The amount of times it takes your system to get rid of these drugs directly determines how long they can be detected. People are often tested for opioid use for different reasons, either medical or legal. 

The detection will depend on the type of test procedure and physical activity. Older people and those with more body fat tend to break down opioids much slowly, meaning they can be detected for a lot longer than in those who exercise. In addition, frequent use of high doses will result in positive tests for a lot longer than occasional and low dosages.

Factors Affecting the Amount of Time Opioids Stay in the System

Other than physical activity and age, there are other factors that interfere with this timeframe. They include:

What Are The Time Estimates For Positive Detection?

One of the primary factors that determine the positivity of opioid use is the type of procedure and samples used. Samples include urine, blood, saliva, and hair. So, how long will different opioids stay in your system?


This type is considered a fast-acting drug, and it has a very short half-life. As such, a saliva test within the first five hours after use will detect heroin in the system. A blood test can test positive for heroin use up to 6 hours after use. 

On the other hand, urine samples can test positive for up to seven days after drug use. This timeframe makes it the preferable method for heroin testing. If hair follicles are used as samples, they can detect usage for up to three months/90 days.

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Heroin Detection Times


Compared to heroin, this drug will require a longer time to be effective, and the effects also last longer. Regardless, a blood test will only detect morphine use for the first twelve hours. Urine samples can read positive even for up to three days. In this case, saliva samples are a more effective sample for tests because drug use can be detected for up to 4 days. Likewise, hair samples will detect morphine even up to 90 days.

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Morphine Detection Times


The liver normally breaks down this drug to produce different metabolites. The kidney is in charge of the excretion process. The drug has a half-life of about 3-5 hours. As such, a urine test will test positive for oxycodone within 1-3 hours and up to 4 days since last consumption. The saliva will test positive within minutes and up to 48 hours since the last dosage.

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Oxycodone Detection Times

What Are The Types Of Test Used To Detect Drug Use?

The type of test procedure will depend on the reason behind the test request. In most circumstances, drug tests are a precautionary step for employers and in competitive athletics. Also, they can be used in court for parole, divorce and custody cases, compensation, or parole. 

Test procedures include:

Urine Testing

A urine test is the most preferred method of drug detection. These tests are common because most excretion products of opioids pass through the kidney before the body gets rid of them. The byproducts in these waste products tend to be drug-specific, and a test can detect drug use based on the byproducts found. 

In addition, ingested drugs tend to take a long time before they metabolize fully. As such, urine tests can be used up to 4 days after the last drug intake. 

Saliva Tests

Compared to the other samples required, saliva is often less invasive and takes a shorter time. However, it is hard to get accurate results from this test, especially if it has been a few hours after use. 

Blood Tests

These tests are more effective in terms of detecting drug use and the amount present in the system at a given time. This method offers guaranteed and accurate results.

However, the effectiveness means that tests are more invasive and will cost more compared to the other tests.

Perspiration Testing

Over the years, medical workers have introduced a new way of testing for drug use. The use of perspiration is a fairly new method that is not commonly used. These tests take a while to deliver results, making them inconvenient in most circumstances. They are more suited for probation monitoring.

Hair Testing

The effectiveness of this procedure depends on the metabolic byproducts that your body gets rid of after drug use. The byproduct metabolites tend to flow through the body in your blood, and it is then deposited into growing follicles of hair. 

Technically, your hair can reveal a detailed log of what you commonly ingest even after several months. As effective as it is, most workplaces tend to forgo this method because employers are more concerned about recent or frequent drug use. 


Frequent and heavy use of recreational drugs will lead to dependency and addiction. If you think you or a loved one is hooked to drugs, reach out for professional help.