How Long Do Opiates Stay in Your System

How Long Do Opiates Stay in Your System

If you are contemplating the idea of opting for opiate detoxification, information on the duration for which opiates stay in your system will give you a rough idea about the length of detoxification period for these drugs.
PsycholoGenie Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Opiates are narcotic opioid alkaloids that are derived from opium poppy plant. In a broad sense, the term 'opiates' is used for the constituents of opium poppy plant, like morphine and codeine, as well as the compounds derived from these constituents (i.e., synthetic opiates) like heroin and oxycodone. While some opiates―like heroin for instance―are contraband substances which are abused on a wide scale, others like oxycodone and hydrocodone are used in prescription drugs. Irrespective of which of these opiate drugs you resort to, their prolonged use in large amount can result in severe addiction to an extent wherein getting yourself out of the entire mess can be a tedious task.
Opiate Withdrawal
After a point of time, the person's dependence on opiates increases to an extent wherein it is nothing short of a full-fledged addiction. In such circumstances, when the person tries to quit the opiate drug in question, it triggers an acute condition which is referred to as 'opiate withdrawal'. It is typically characterized by withdrawal symptoms ranging from nausea and abdominal cramps to severe insomnia and agitation. The severity of these symptoms makes it difficult for the person to stick to his resolve, thus making him give in to craving.
There do exist opiate withdrawal medication which are basically targeted at the treatment of underlying symptoms and detoxification of opiates from the body. However, the symptoms of opiate withdrawal and―more importantly―the depression associated with it can make the person restless and prompt him to give up on his resolve. In such circumstances, being well-versed with the withdrawal timeline―especially the time it takes for these drugs to be flushed out of your system―can be of great help.
How Long Do Opiates Stay in the Body?
Even though several sources suggest that opiate drugs stay in your system for a period of 1 - 2 days on an average, it is a bit of an ambitious statement to make, considering that the recovery process depends on a number of underlying factors. As these drugs are fat-soluble in nature, they dissolve in the blood stream quickly and reach your brain within a short span of time. At the same time, they tend to get accumulated in the fat cells of the body, from where they enter the blood stream every time you burn your body fat for energy. The fact that metabolism of these drugs differs from person to person makes it difficult to predict how long it will take for these opiates to be expelled from your body.
The recovery time also depends on which opiate drug is in question, as the nature of opiate drug in question and its potency have a crucial role to play in determining when it will be expelled from the blood stream. While heroin takes 1 - 4 days to vacate your system on an average, meperidine can be flushed out within 24 hours of the last use. Your age, body mass, physical health, the opiate drug in question, amount of drug, its potency, which medication you resort to, etc., are just a few factors which determine the duration of the detoxification process.
How Long do They Stay in the System Without Showing Up in Drug Tests?
Now that's yet another question which is likely to come to your mind considering that the physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal start subsiding after 72 hours, after being at the peak between 36 - 48 hours, while the psychosomatic symptoms continue for 2 - 3 months. Other than all the factors mentioned above, which test you resort to also determines the duration for which these drugs can be detected. In case of oral drug tests, wherein saliva sample is examined, these drugs will be detectable for a period of 6 - 12 hours after they were last used. On the other hand, if you resort to urine test, they are detectable for a period of 2 - 5 days after the last use. Yet another test is the hair test, wherein opiate drugs are detectable for up to 2 - 3 months from the last use.
All in all, everything comes down to your determination at the end of the day. If you have decided to give up on opiate drugs, you need to make sure that you follow the proper detox protocol, consult a doctor, resort to prescribed medication, and make sure that you don't give in to cravings. Most important of all, you shouldn't shy away from asking for help from people around you, as any such support will come as a blessing in disguise for you. Even though the task of getting all the opiate drugs out of your system may seem a bit daunting, it is a necessity if you want to keep all the hazards of drug addiction at bay.