How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System and How to Recover?

Drug Abuse
Drug Addiction
Drug Addiction Recovery

Drug abuse has been a longstanding problem globally. It has affected billions of lives regardless of age, race, or social background. To further understand how drug use affects our mind and body, we at Transcend Recovery Community shed light on one of the most common questions asked regarding drug abuse, “How long do drugs stay in your system and how to recover?”

Continue reading below to find out the answers and gain more information about drug abuse in general.

How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System?

Depending on many factors and the type of drug an individual has ingested, the duration from which substances can be traced in your body may vary. But to have a clearer idea of how they are, here are some drug detection periods for different drugs. Note that these figures are estimates and should only be used as a guide:

Alcohol – 3 to 5 days in the urine and about 10 to 12 hours in the bloodstream.

Amphetamines –1 to 3 days in your urine and 12 hours in your blood.

Barbiturates – 2-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood

Benzodiazepines – 3-6 weeks in urine and 2-3 days in blood

Cannabis – 7-30 days in urine and up to 2 weeks in blood

Cocaine – 3-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood

Codeine – 1 day in urine and up to 12 hours in blood

Heroin – 3-4 days in urine and up to 12 hours in blood

LSD – 1-3 days in urine and up to 2-3 hours in blood

MDMA (ecstasy) – 3-4 days in urine and 1-2 days in blood

Methamphetamine (crystal meth) – 3-6 days in urine and 24 - 72 hours in blood

Methadone – 3-4 days in urine and 24-36 hours in blood

Morphine – 2-3 days in urine and 6-8 hours in blood

Factors on How Long Drugs Stay in Your System

a depressed woman who is high in illegal drugs is laying on a blue couch

There are many things to consider when it comes to our body’s metabolizing drugs and other various chemicals. Often, factors such as an individual’s age, health conditions can influence their metabolic rate in processing drugs in the body. For good measure, always remember that the higher a person’s metabolic rate, the shorter a drug can be detected in their body.

Drug tolerance

When someone has developed tolerance from continuous drug use, the body metabolizes the chemical quickly. Therefore, detection times may be shorter than usual in their system compared to infrequent or first-time users.

Frequency and quantity of drug use

One thing experts look at is how frequent an individual’s use of a drug and the amount that they ingest. If it’s only one-time use, expect the drug to stay within your bloodstream for a short period. While long-term drug users can have chemicals detected within their bodies for extended periods.

Body mass and hydration

Body mass, physical activity, and hydration will also affect how long drugs stay in someone’s body. The drug may stay for an extended period for people with fatty tissues as some drugs may accumulate in those tissues.

Types of Drug Tests

Testing may vary depending on the availability and the type of drug in question. But the typical specimens that are collected include:

  • Urine
  • Hair
  • Saliva (oral fluid)
  • Or even sweat.

Tests cater to five drug categories: amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP). And most of the time, companies and businesses conduct mandatory and random drug testing on their employees.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or (SAMHSA) have put in place drug testing resources where people can consult about the different drug tests that people may use or employ in their business. To ensure the accuracy of a test result, HHS-certified laboratories should test the specimens with a medical review officer (MRO) to verify and interpret these results.

Note that laboratories and offices may have different requirements in mandatory testing, so make sure that you can comply with these requirements to proceed to the testing process right away.

What is a Drug’s Half-Life?

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) defines a drug’s half-life as “the time it takes for half of the drug to be metabolized and eliminated from the body.” The process may be different as there are many factors to consider yielding variable results. For some, it may just be a few hours to a few days, which may even lead to weeks. Regardless of the dosage and drug type, you’re on and the duration you’ve taken it, the fact remains that its half-life is always the same.

It is crucial to understand a drug’s half-life as a short half-life may mean more withdrawal problems, while a long half-life equates to fewer withdrawal problems. Commonly, it would take approximately five times the drug’s half-life to establish stable levels within a person’s body. As soon as the drug level within your system becomes stable, early side effects a person may experience will start to diminish.

Can I Recover?

The good news is that individuals suffering from drug abuse may see hope to recover from their condition. Mental health and rehabilitation partners, such as Transcend Recovery Community, offer medication management and addiction treatment support for people suffering from recurring substance and drug abuse. People with milder symptoms and a more manageable case may opt to enroll at an outpatient drug rehab program to help them recover.

For more severe cases, an inpatient program may help them so that recovery specialists and therapists monitor their progress in a regulated environment. Meanwhile, people who have successfully completed their rehabilitation program may continue their progress through relapse prevention, ensuring that they are on track for long-term sobriety. By doing these things, individuals may get a second chance in life, where their condition will continuously improve.

How to Detox

As detoxification is a way for the body to rid itself of chemicals and impurities, the same goes for an overall detox from their addiction. Its sole purpose is to assist the individual in managing their withdrawal symptoms safely as they wean themselves from drug dependence and continue their life under sober living.

Detoxification involves three main steps:

Evaluation – doctors and medical professionals assess the patient’s physical and mental health condition to determine the treatment and medication to be used.

Stabilization – the patient will now undergo medical and physiological therapy to help them stabilize and avoid any form of harm that may happen to the patient.

Preparation for Treatment – the patient is carefully prepared and briefed on the treatment they will undergo and what to expect while this happens.

How Can I Get Help?

If you or your loved one is suffering from drug abuse, there are many ways for you to seek Help across the country. Transcend Recovery Community has a network of partners and affiliates, which may include sober mentoring, to help provide the adequate support needed for long-term sobriety to take place. With locations in Los Angeles, New York, and Houston, individuals may check out the nearest facilities and consult with a recovery specialist to start their treatment program right away. 

Transcend Recovery Community

Transcend Recovery Community family of sober living homes provides a safe place for those undergoing mental health and addiction treatment to live with like-minded peers. Our community-based approach to sober living (similarly to a halfway house) facilitates an open and welcoming environment, where members, staff and team can provide support and encouragement on the path to a sober and healthy life. Transcend's Los Angeles sober living homes are located in some of the most iconic areas of the city, filled with luxurious and upscale amenities, providing plenty to do for those in our transitional housing community.

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