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How Long Do Opioids Stay In Your System?

Did you know that in the United States alone, more than 40 people die every day from opioid-related drug overdoses?

This staggering statistic highlights the devastating impact of opioids on individuals, families, and communities. But how long do these powerful drugs actually stay in your system?

As the opioid epidemic continues to grip the nation, it’s crucial to understand the ways in which these substances work within our bodies, and how long they remain detectable after use.

To make things easier for you, we’ve written a guide that answers the question “how long do opioids stay in your system?”. Keep reading to find out more.

What Are Opioids? 

Opioids are a class of drugs that are primarily used for pain relief. They work by binding to specific receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body. This reduces the perception of pain.

Opioids can be derived from natural sources. It is also possible to create them synthetically in a laboratory.

Opioids vs Opiates

The term “opiates” refers specifically to naturally occurring opioids, like morphine and codeine. The term “opioids” encompasses both natural and synthetic substances.

There are several types of opioids, including natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic opioids. Natural opioids, also known as opiates, include morphine and codeine, which are derived from the opium poppy plant.

Semi-synthetic opioids are created by chemically modifying natural opioids. Some examples of semi-synthetic opioids are oxycodone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone.

Synthetic opioids, on the other hand, are entirely man-made and include drugs such as fentanyl, methadone, and tramadol.

How Long Opioids Stay In Your System

These potent pain relievers can have a strong impact on the body. The time they remain in your system varies depending on several factors. Here is what you need to know. 


People use saliva tests to detect opioids in the body. They generally provide results in a shorter timeframe than urine or hair tests.

Opioids can be detected in saliva within minutes of consumption. They usually remain detectable for up to 24-48 hours. This test is often used by police officers in roadside drug screenings.

It provides rapid results that can help law enforcement officers determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs.


Urine tests are another common method for detecting opioids in the body. These tests are typically more sensitive than saliva tests. They can detect opioid use for a longer period of time.

The window of detection for opioids in urine ranges from a few days to a week. The amount of time depends on the specific drug and the user’s individual characteristics.

Urine tests are often used in drug detox programs and workplace drug screenings. This is because they provide a reliable way to monitor an individual’s drug use.


Hair tests offer the longest window of detection for opioids. They can reveal drug use that occurred several months prior to testing.

Opioids can be detected in hair samples as early as 7-10 days after use. They can remain detectable for up to 90 days. This amount of time depends on the length of the hair sample.

This type of test is often used in legal settings. It is a testing method that can provide a comprehensive picture of an individual’s drug use history.

Factors to Be Aware Of

Several factors can influence how long opioids stay in your system. This includes the specific type of opioid, the dosage, and the individual’s metabolism.

Synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, and semi-synthetic opioids, like oxycodone, may be metabolized more quickly or slowly than their natural counterparts.

Additionally, factors such as age, weight, hydration levels, and liver and kidney function can impact the rate at which the body processes and eliminates these drugs.

How Long Does Opioid Withdrawal Last? 

When it comes to opioid withdrawal, the duration and severity can vary widely based on the specific drug. The length of time will also depend on the individual’s level of drug addiction and their physical health.

Generally, withdrawal symptoms begin within a few hours to a few days after the last use. They can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

Some people may experience lingering withdrawal symptoms. These are known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). These types of symptoms can persist for months after detoxing from opioids.

In order to detox from fentanyl and other opioids, the body must metabolize and eliminate the substances.

This process is largely carried out by the liver. This organ breaks down the drugs into metabolites that can be excreted through the urine.

The rate at which the body metabolizes opioids can vary based on genetics, overall health, and the presence of other substances, such as alcohol or other medications.

The Signs of Opioid Addiction

Recognizing the signs of opioid addiction is crucial for those seeking help through drug detox and drug rehabilitation programs. Here are some common signs that you should be aware of.

Increased Tolerance

Over time, an individual may require higher doses of opioids to achieve the same level of pain relief. This can lead to addiction.

Physical Dependence

As the body becomes accustomed to the presence of opioids, it may develop a physical dependence on the drugs. You might experience withdrawal symptoms when the substance is no longer present.

Compulsive Drug-Seeking Behavior

Individuals with opioid addiction may prioritize obtaining and using opioids over other aspects of their lives. This includes things such as work, relationships, and personal well-being. 

How Long Do Opioids Stay In Your System?

If you’ve been asking the question “how long do opioids stay in your system?”, there are several things you should be aware of. 

Remember that opioids will only remain in your saliva for several hours, but they will show up on hair tests and blood tests for much longer than this. It is also important to understand the signs of opioid addiction. 

Are you ready to overcome your addiction? If so, the Altitude Recovery Community can help you. Our ultra-modern luxury recovery center is located in Camarillo, California. Don’t hesitate to contact us to get started today with a free insurance verification!