How Long Do Opiates Stay in Your System?

Opiate Addiction
Addiction Recovery
Addiction Treatment
Substance Abuse

Looking for a concise resource for the question, "How long do opiates stay in your system?" may prove to be difficult given the influx of information you may find online. That's why Transcend Recovery Community have taken it upon ourselves to provide everything you need here. Continue reading to learn more.

How Long Do Opiates Last in the Body and by Type of Drug Tests?

Although opiates are used to treat severe pain, there are still people abusing them. Hence, drug testing has become the most effective way to identify if the drug remains detectable in one's system. Here are some of the common drug test options for people to identify how long opiates stay in an individual's system, especially when people test positive.

Opiates in Urine Tests

A urine test may provide a conclusive result for up to three days as traces of opiates may be found during that time frame.

Opiates in Hair Follicle Tests

Hair tests or hair follicle tests (or generally referred to as hair testing), offer the most reliable result with the drug test being able to process data of opiate presence in the last 90 days--the longest compared to other drug tests like urine tests, hair tests, and blood tests.

Opiates in Saliva Tests

A saliva test may help detect morphine and other opiates for up to 3 days. But sometimes, the use of saliva tests might be subject to the approval of the consulting physician.

Opiates Detection in Blood Tests

Blood tests share the same time frame as saliva, as you can either detect drug presence for up to four days (or some with just three days).

What are Opiates?

opiates in the palm of a man who regularly takes it

John Hopkins Medicine defines opiates as:

"A class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant, and that work in the brain to produce a variety of effects."

They are usually prescribed by the medical community for severe pain. Opiates come in different forms, such as the following examples:

  • Opium
  • Morphine
  • Heroin
  • Codeine

These narcotic drugs have a varying short half-life, and may even be harder or quicker to detect (such as if one wants to detect morphine in their system). This pain reliever medicine is a highly controlled substance by the government drug regulatory agencies in the US.

Determining Factors on How Long Opiates Stays in Your System

Like many illicit drugs, such as Percocet or Heroin, drugs may react differently within a person's body. When someone engages in substance abuse, especially for a long time, our body takes a toll and suffers as a consequence.

Here are some of the common factors that may influence how long opiates stay in your system.

Healthy liver and kidney function - people who have failing organs, especially ones that are responsible for metabolizing or excreting chemicals inside the body (excretory and digestive system), will understandably take a longer time performing their function well due to this reason alone.

Age - young adults have a faster recovery time and a quicker metabolism function compared to older people, especially those who are 60 and up.

Dual diagnosis disorders - People who experience substance abuse with prescription opiates while also having alcohol abuse problems will have a harder time getting rid of opiates within their bodies. They must talk to a qualified healthcare provider and discuss this concern should they decide to proceed to a treatment program of their choice.

Weight - Individuals who are visibly heavier or overweight than most people tend to process prescription drugs slower than people who are lighter or more fit. The main reason is that traces of opiates cling to fatty tissues.

Drug half-life - Understanding the half-life or the time our system processes substances will help in identifying how long opiates stay in your system. Usually, most opiates stay in your system for at least two to four hours but may be undetectable in some bodily fluids.

Frequency and amount of Opiate use - This factor stands out for obvious reasons. The more often you use opiates and the larger the amount your body ingests, the longer it will stay in the body due to its build-up throughout the entire period.

Pre-existing medical conditions - People with comorbidities, such as hypertension, diabetes, or autoimmune disorders, like cancer, will automatically give a person a long time to process drugs in their body, such as common opiates.

People who are planning to pursue their addiction treatment must first seek professional medical advice t0 ensure that they get the most out of their opioid addiction recovery program.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Opiates?

The moment you decide to stop opiate use, whether it was for recreational or medical use, your body will feel certain withdrawal symptoms connoting that your body has begun reacting before a long period of drug dependence.

There are positive and negative impacts of stopping the use of common opioids. Meantime, let us go through the withdrawal symptoms that an individual may encounter as part of their medical detox.

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • General lethargy
  • Insomnia
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • General body aches
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle and abdominal cramps
  • Palpitations
  • Hypertension
  • Shallow breathing
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

It's worth noting that these symptoms may appear at least 12 hours or half a day post-drug use. People who have grown fully dependent on their substance use disorder are one of the individuals gravely affected by this. That's why they must communicate with their treatment facility when they are experiencing severe symptoms of withdrawal.

People who also experience serious withdrawal side effects must receive medical attention right away.

Withdrawing from drugs doesn't always offer a negative impact. There are noticeable benefits that your body will reap once it stops opioid addiction. Here are some of the positive ways withdrawal may influence your body.

  • Lesser risk for cancers and heart attack - Once you don't abuse alcohol or other drugs, you minimize your chances of developing cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers.
  • Improvement in relationships - As you start the detox process, you'll slowly reclaim that lost time for yourself as well as get the chance to work on your strained relationships caused by opiate addiction/drug addiction.
  • Improved self-esteem and mental wellbeing - Once you begin medical detox, your mental health will also see a noticeable change (for the better). Getting sober gives recovering individuals a chance to see themselves in a different light -- individuals who are sober and productive.
  • Better sleep quality - as you receive proper addiction treatment from abuse of drugs, individuals will have the chance to heal their body's from excessive substance use. Part of that healing involves correcting your body's sleeping pattern, as a common narcotic drug may cause sleeping problems in the long run towards a person.

About Opiate Drug Abuse and Addiction Treatment

Not everyone decided one day to engage in addiction. It takes deliberate action for someone to be driven to resort to drug addiction. Here are some likely factors that may have influenced someone to resort to drug dependency.

Family history - One report has cited that children with parents suffering from substance use disorders are more likely to develop illicit drug dependency when they get older. And this will continue to be the case as the opioid epidemic continues to spread.

Environment - It comes as no surprise that the impact of drugs on society is felt within the community. People who have direct access to any drug have a higher probability to succumb to drug use.

Curiosity/experimentation - While opiates are used for legitimate medical purposes, some prescription opioids are used by people as a way to relax or have that "high" feeling.

Mental health problems - People who suffer from depression or any mental health condition may find using substances like this as their form of escape and as a way of self-medication.

Stress - Stress comes in various forms, it may be caused by intense pressure from work, school, or relationships with family members or romantic partners. One form of way to unwind or disassociate from the problem is by using illicit substances.

Now that these possible causes are cited, what may be done to avoid this from happening within a household?

  • Communication - an open and trusting communication platform between children and their parents ensures that these issues will be addressed early on.
  • Setting a good example - It's never easy to set the standard, as all of us are just human and are bound to make mistakes. But having a good role model can enforce the idea to children to stay away from substance use completely.
  • Strengthening relationships - If you have a strong relationship with your children, the lesser the likelihood of them feeling neglected and resorting to drugs to fill the void of their parent's love.

Here are the recommended treatment options available for individuals suffering from substance addiction.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy - It involves helping the person to process their addiction by altering their behavior and notions towards their substance dependence.
  • Group therapy - many treatment centers offer this with the inclusion of sober mentoring as part of an individual's way to cope better with their illicit substance problem. It may also be a part of an outpatient treatment program if desired.
  • Individualized Intensive Program (IIP) - this is ultimately helpful for people with severe types of substance use problems. It may include a 3-month program that covers all grounds in terms of a person's recovery
  • Sober living - While continuing to recover, staying in a positive environment that allows people to recover peacefully, free from the distractions of outside world means they can attend to their recovery journey without much hassle.

How To Get Help from Opiate Addiction?

Seeking help for one's opiate addiction may be hard to accept at first, as not everyone can muster the courage to face the reality of their situation. But the truth is, that many organizations and individuals will champion your right to have a meaningful and sober life.

Transcend Recovery Community makes things easy for individuals who want to recover from their addiction problems. Connecting with a recovery counselor for the first time gives an individual everything they need to know to start their recovery journey.

Treatment shouldn't be hard, as long as you know where to look for help. Regain your confidence in life and take that first bold step into your journey of betterment.

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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