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How Long are Opiates in your System?




When you use opiates for a long time, especially when you don’t take them as prescribed, they can become habit-forming and you may find yourself with a physical or psychological dependence on them. If abused for long enough, you could end up with a substance use disorder.

Also, opiate abuse can lead to side-effects that people find less appealing, such as:

  • Cold, clammy skin.
  • Confusion.
  • Constipation.
  • Fainting.
  • Hives, itching, or a rash.
  • Irregular menstrual periods.
  • Loss of interest in sex or in sexual ability.
  • Nervousness.
  • Overdose.
  • Seizures.
  • Shakiness.
  • Slow heart rate.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Trouble sleeping.
  • Weakness.

How Long Do Opiates Stay in Your System?

Because of their solubility in body fats, these opiates can collect in fatty tissues and gradually get released into the blood. This property also allows them to easily enter the brain. These narcotics are detectable in saliva and blood after use for 6-12 hours; in urine for 2-5 days and in hair for up to 90 days.

Actually, how long do opiates stay in your system greatly depends on the type of opiates, frequency and quantity of intake, etc. And the effectiveness of different methods of detection decrease with time. This will be discussed below for five major drugs that will test positive, namely codeine, hydrocodone, heroin, morphine and opium.

What Affects Detection Time?

There are many factors that will affect how long do opiates stay in your system and the drug detection time, thereby providing effective means to reduce the detection time.

  • Rate of metabolism: A body with a quicker metabolism will process and excrete the drugs faster, than one with slower metabolism.
  • General health of the body: The health of the human body can affect the rate of metabolism. If the body is in good health, metabolism is faster and the drug is excreted quicker.
  • Age: The metabolism of a person slows down as they age and thus it is more likely that the drug will remain for longer periods in older people.
  • Body size: As opiates are fat soluble, they will remain longer in bodies with more fat and is slowly released over long periods of time. The body’s metabolism also slows down with increases in body mass.
  • Frequency and quantity of intake: Regular intake with large quantities will leave more traces than rarer intake with smaller amounts. It will also be easier to detect over long periods of time.

How to Make You Clear of the Drug Quickly

The only way to rid the body of opiates is by pushing it out; hence the time taken to excrete the drugs is the only factor that determines how long do opiates stay in your system.

  1. Drink Lots of Water

Drinking a lot of water will help dilute the urine sample. It is important to start this at least a day before the test, as this can help mask samples of people who have used the drug sparingly. It is not particularly helpful for heavy users.

However drinking a lot of water will make urine very clear and this will make an experienced tester suspicious. Having some vitamin B tablets 24 hours before the test can help make the sample yellowish.

  1. Urinate It Out

It is important to drink copious amounts of water and urinate as much as possible before the test as this will push out the drug. Diuretics can initiate urination and examples of these are tea, coffee and cranberry juice. As most of the body’s metabolism is done while sleeping, the first urine of the day will have greater quantities of the opiate. So, when testing, the first few millilitres of urine are most likely to test positive.

  1. Exercise Regularly

Exercise can boost the functioning of the body, thereby enabling quicker metabolism, which will in turn process and eliminate all traces of opiates from the body faster. Regular aerobic exercise two times a day will also use up the fat that would otherwise be used to store the drugs.

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