Prescription opioids are regularly used for things like surgery and chronic pain management. Still, opioids remain in your system for a long time, and as such, they can easily build up if you are taking them regularly. 

What are Opioids?

Opioids refer to a class of drugs derived from the poppy plant. The poppy plant or Opium poppy plant affects the brain, specifically, blocking pain signals to and from the brain. 

Which Drugs are Opioids?

How long do opioids stay in your system? This is based on which drugs you are taking. Opioids can include illegal heroin, synthetic drugs like fentanyl, or legal prescriptions like Oxycodone (also known as Oxycontin), hydrocodone (also known as Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and others.

What are the Signs of Opioids Use?

Signs of opioid use can vary based on the type of drugs you are taking. However, common signs include weight loss, drowsiness, changes in sleep or diet, a lack of hygiene, changes to exercise or social habits, confusion, constipation, nausea, or slowed breathing.

If you are given a prescription after surgery and are using the drug as intended, showing any of these signs is perfectly normal. It becomes a problem when you develop a tolerance and become addicted. The more often you take opioids, the fewer endorphins your body releases, which means you can’t feel good doing activities that once brought you pleasure. So, where exercise might have left you with a rush of endorphins before, if you are addicted to opioids, exercise won’t give you that rush. 

If you have a tolerance to opioids, you might try to get extra prescriptions, running out long before you were supposed to. Most prescriptions are given with a limited number of refills, and those refills have to take place at a specific interval. So, if you undergo surgery, you might be given 30 pills for 30 days, and you can’t get another refill until the end of that 30-day mark. If you find yourself running out long before that 30-day time frame and are craving the drug uncontrollably, unable to stop how much you use, you might be struggling with opioid abuse.

How Long Do Opioids Stay in Your System?

So how long do opioids stay in your system? This depends on how much you use.

An individual undergoing a thyroidectomy might be prescribed hydrocodone at 325mg and be given 30 pills for the duration of their recovery. Within 6 to 12 hours after taking their last pill, they might experience withdrawal symptoms, so if they were prescribed one pill per day, within the first week, they might take two capsules per day and then later, three tablets per day until their prescription runs out.

Opioids can remain detectable in your saliva for a few days depending on what opioids you took, in your blood for another day, and in your urine for up to seven days. How long opioids remain in your system is based on how much you took, how fast your metabolism is, how often you have taken drugs, your age, your medical conditions, weight, and your gender.

Using the example of the individual with a thyroidectomy, the more often they take their prescription, the more it builds in their system. If they don’t wait an adequate amount of time for it to be wholly flushed, they might have half of their 325mg still circulating through their body when they take their next pill. This means instead of getting a single dose of 325 mg at any given time, they are now getting the 325 mg pill and the 160 mg that remained in their system from the last pill.

As this type of behavior continues, it affects how long opioids stay in system, and it affects how addicted you become. Thankfully, you can safely detox from opioids.

How to Detox From Opioids?

More than 40.3 million people over 12 years of age have struggled with a substance use disorder in the last year, and those who struggled with opioid abuse got the least amount of help; only 11% receive any form of treatment. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Knowing how long opioids stay in system can help you understand the timeline for opioid addiction and what your recovery will look like. 

With Total RMH, our team will help you safely detox from opioids. If you are asking questions like, “how long do opioids stay in your system” then it might be time that you or someone close to you get the help you or they deserve. Our staff will help assess your situation, provide medically supervised detox and keep you in a safe, supportive environment during which time you can focus on your recovery until the opioids are entirely out of your system and you have been exposed to a wide range of coping mechanisms to deal with your cravings long after you leave our facility. 
Reach out to us today for help with your opioid addiction and recovery.