Prescription Opiates and Opioids
Prescription opioid drugs that are taken orally take longer to leave a person’s system than opioid drugs that are injected. A person who has abused heroin can potentially test clean on a drug test quicker than a person on a prescription opioid pill. The following factors can influence how long prescription opioids stay in a person’s system:
Prescription opiates and opioids have short half-lives, which means they leave the person’s system quickly, unlike drugs like marijuana. The most commonly abused prescription opiates are hydrocodone, oxycontin, and fentanyl.
Hydrocodone leaves the body the fastest, and the drug can only be detected in urine for up to four days. Saliva tests only work for up to 36 hours after last use, while a hair follicle test can identify the drug for up to 90 days.
Oxycontin has a half-life of three to five hours, meaning that it takes that amount of time to eliminate half of a dose from the bloodstream. The drug can be found in urine for up to four days after last use, and saliva tests can find traces of the drug within a few minutes after taking it, and for up to two days after last use. Hair follicle tests can detect the drug for up to 90 days after last use. The liver and to an extent the kidneys process and metabolize oxycontin. The healthier a person’s liver and kidney function, the faster the drug will be eliminated from their system.
Unlike hydrocodone and oxycontin which come in tablet form, fentanyl is a highly powerful prescription opioid patch. Since the drug is administered through the skin, it enters the bloodstream more quickly than the other opioids, and fentanyl entirely bypasses the liver. Fentanyl can be detected in the urine for up to 12 hours, saliva for four days, urine for only 24 hours, and hair follicle tests can detect the drug for up to 90 days.