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How Long Do Drugs Stay in Your System?

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Reviewed By: Barbara Rexer, DSW, LCSW, LCADC, CCS, ICCS, DRCC

How long drugs stay in your system depends on many factors. Below, we’ll look at the testing windows for 19 common drugs. We’ll also look at how you can safely rid your system of drugs and take steps toward lifelong recovery if you struggle with addiction. 

How long drugs stay in your system can depend on many factors, including the substance, dosage, your metabolism, and even your tolerance. How long you can detect a drug in your system also depends on the test used and how it was performed. Here’s what you need to know.

Factors That Impact How Long a Drug is Detected

How long you can detect a drug in your system depends on a host of factors. Here are some of the most common:  

Metabolism

Although you often hear metabolism in reference to diet, in this case it means how efficiently your kidney and liver metabolize drugs. The more efficient these organs, the more quickly your body can process and eliminate drugs. 

Age

Age and metabolism are related. Generally speaking, the older you get, the less efficiently your kidney and liver can process drugs and alcohol. For this reason, you can expect drugs to linger in your system for longer as you age. 

Body Fat Percentage

In lipid-soluble drugs, like THC, the drug can bind to body fat, leading to a slower processing time. Because women typically have a higher percentage of body fat than men, women may process lipid-soluble drugs more slowly than men. 

Tolerance

A long-time user of a particular drug will often test positive for a longer period of time than someone who just started using.

Drug Purity

This might seem like an obvious one, but as dealers and manufacturers increasingly cut cheap synthetics like fentanyl and K2/Spice into MDMA and other club drugs, drug purity becomes an important factor to anyone concerned about the potential impact of drugs they take, including how long they’ll stay in their system. 

Type and Test 

Different test types impact how long a drug can be detected, as indicated in the chart below. Tests that rely on blood or saliva typically have a much shorter window than urine. Hair follicle tests have the longest detection window, up to months after the last use.

   

Why Drug Detection Times Are Inconsistent 

Drug detection windows vary, even within the same type of test. This is why you’ll typically see a window, suchs as 3-5 days for an alcohol drug test using EtG, or up to 90 days for most hair follicle tests. Because of the many variables that can affect a drug test, from a person’s metabolic rate to the way a test was conducted, a precise timetable is not possible.    

 

How to Get Drugs Out of Your System 

Despite what you might read elsewhere online, you cannot accelerate the rate at which your body processes drugs or alcohol. If you struggle with addiction, a formal detox program is the safest, most effective way to mitigate the “come down,” including withdrawal symptoms. 

Educating yourself about how your body processes different drugs can further help you understand how a drug may affect you, and how long you might feel the effects. You can learn more by searching our Resources.

 

Getting Help for Drug Addiction 

If you struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol, you are not alone. And thankfully, you don’t need to shoulder the recovery process alone, either. Not only can treatment safely guide you through the detox process, but many programs also give you the resources to cope with factors like depression or trauma that can impact your recovery, and help you find the support you need beyond treatment to stay on your path. Browse our Facilities page to find options near you, or ask a question in the chat box below to learn about other resources, including teletherapy.  

The charts below show the average window for detection using standard tests, unless otherwise noted. As noted above, many factors can impact your own detection window for various drugs. 

 

How Long Can Alcohol Be Detected in Your System? 

Alcohol stays in your system for a relatively short time. Although hair follicle tests can detect use for up to 90 days, this type of testing isn’t accurate enough for use in many cases. EtG (ethyl glucuronide) are some of the most common. These tests use a metabolite of ethyl alcohol to extend the window of detection through urine testing from roughly 12 hours to about 3-5 days.  

Blood 12 hours
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine 3-5 days EtG, 10-12 hours traditional
Saliva 6-12 hours
Breath 24 hours

 

How Long Can Marijuana Be Detected in Your System? 

Blood 3-4 hours
Hair 90 days
Urine 3-30 days
Saliva 24-72 hours

Detection of edibles can differ from inhaled marijuana. Read more about edibles here.

 

How Long Can Stimulants Be Detected in Your System? 

Cocaine

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Blood Up to 24 hours
Hair 90 days
Urine 1-3 days
Saliva 1-2 days

 

Meth

Blood Up to 3 days
Hair Up to 90 days 
Urine Up to 7 days
Saliva Up to 4 days

 

Adderall 

Tips for Coming Down from Adderall

Blood Up to 46 hours
Hair 90 days
Urine 48-72 hours
Saliva 20-50 hours

 

Ritalin

Blood Up to 12 hours (rarely used)
Hair Up to 90 days 
Urine 1-2 days
Saliva 1-2 days

 

Vyvanse

Blood Up to 8 hours
Hair Up to 30 days
Urine Up to 3 days
Saliva Up to 24 hours

 

MDMA

Blood Up to 2 days
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine Up to 4 days
Saliva Up to 2 days

 

How Long Can Benzodiazepines Be Detected in Your System? 

Xanax

Blood 4-5 days
Hair 90 days
Urine Up to 5 days
Saliva Up to 60 hours

 

Klonopin

Blood Shows up in 1-2 hours, may be detected for several days
Hair Up to 120 days
Urine 5 days after one dose; up to 2 weeks after several doses
Saliva 5-6 days

 

Valium

Blood Up to 48 hours
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine Up to 6 weeks
Saliva Up to 10 days

 

Ativan

Blood Up to 3 days
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine 6-10 days (about a week, even at small doses)
Saliva Up to 8 hours

 

Librium 

Blood Up to 24 hours
Hair Up to 90 days 
Urine Up to 10 days
Saliva Up to 60 hours

 

Valium – Benzo

Blood Up to 2 days (rarely used)
Hair Up to 90 days 
Urine Up to 6 weeks
Saliva Up to 9 days

How Long Can Opioids Be Detected in Your System? 

The half-life of opioids, or the time it takes for half the drug to leave the body, ranges from minutes to about 36 hours, according to a report in Anesthesiology. However, drug tests can detect opioids for much longer. Although various tests exist, the CDC recommends urine testing for most opioids.

Heroin

Blood Up to 6 hours
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine Up to 3 days
Saliva Up to 24 hours

Morphine

Blood Up to 3 days (rarely used)
Hair Up to 90 days (rarely used)
Urine Up to 4 days
Saliva Up to 3 days (rarely used)

Oxycodone

Blood Shows up in 1-2 hours, may be detected for several days
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine 5 days after one dose; up to 2 weeks after several doses
Saliva 5-6 days

 

Tramadol

Blood Up to 48 hours
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine 24 to 72 hours
Saliva Up to 48 hours

Note: Tramadol is not detected in all standard tests. 

 

Hydrocodone

Blood Up to 12 hours
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine 2-4 days
Saliva 12-36 hours

 

Suboxone (Buprenorphine)

Blood Up to 2 hours
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine 1 hour to 8 days
Saliva 3 to 8 days

 

Methadone

Blood Up to 24 hours
Hair Up to 90 days 
Urine 2-4 days
Saliva Up to 24 hours

How Long Can Synthetic Opioids Be Detected in Your System? 

Fentanyl

Blood Up to 48 hours
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine 1-3 days
Saliva Not used

 

Vicodin

Blood Not used
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine 2-4 days
Saliva 12 hours to 3 days

 

Detection Windows for Other Common Drugs

LSD

Blood 8-16 hours
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine Up to 5 days
Saliva 8-16 hours

 

K2/Spice (Synthetic Marijuana)

Notably, the compounds of K2, or “Spice,” frequently change to avoid detection. Although this can make drug testing difficult, urine tests have become a reliable method for testing. Read more about K2/Spice in our resource library, and check out this research from USDTL to better understand available testing for the drug.

Blood 2-7 hours (not common)
Hair Up to 90 days (not common)
Urine Up to 72 hours
Saliva Up to an hour (not common) 

 

Gabapentin

Blood 5-7 hours
Hair Up to 90 days
Urine Up to 3 days
Saliva Not used

 

Kratom

Blood Up to 24 hours (longer for frequent users)
Hair Not used
Urine Up to 5.5 days
Saliva Not used
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Written By: Sprout Editorial Team

The Sprout Health Group editorial team is passionate about addiction treatment, recovery and mental health issues. Every article is expert-reviewed.


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