How Long Does Codeine Stay in Your System?

How Long Do Opiates (Opioids) Stay In Your System?

How Long Does Codeine Stay in Your System?

Opioids are a class of prescription pain relievers that make up some of the most commonly-abused drugs in the United States. Although effective for short-term relief of major pain, opioids and opiates can also lead to physical dependence in the body and have addictive effects.

The term “opioids” is often used interchangeably with “opiates” despite some differences between the two. Opiates, such as morphine and codeine, are natural substances derived from the seeds of opium poppy plants. Opioids are synthetic, or semi-synthetic, meaning that they are not entirely natural but man-made through chemical processes.

Common synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids include:

  • fentanyl
  • hydrocodone
  • oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • tramadol
  • methadone
  • oxymorphone
  • hydromorphone
  • heroin

Opiates and opioids all produce similar effects, however, despite differences in their chemical makeup. These drugs may be prescribed in pill form, or as lozenges, patches, films, nasal sprays, or in liquid form for IV use. Illicit forms of opioids such as fentanyl may also be sold as a powder.

Opioids can be detected in the body through various drug testing methods, including tests of the urine, blood, saliva, or hair. Opioids (opiates) can stay in someone’s system for up to 4 days, and be detectable in hair tests for even longer.

How long these drugs stay in your system can also depend on factors such as drug dosage, age, metabolism, and how long you have been taking the drug.

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Drug Testing Methods For Opioids (Opiates)

After someone has used an opioid, traces of the drug can begin showing up in a drug test anywhere between minutes to several hours after use. The quickness of a positive result for opioids in someone’s system will depend on the type of drug test used, and other factors such as the type of opioid used.

Urine tests are the most common type of drug test to screen for opioid use. This requires collecting urine in a clean and clear container to be analyzed. Other types of drug tests capable of detecting opioids include hair, saliva, and blood tests.

Depending on the type of drug, however, some tests may not be able to conclude which opioid or opiate a person has used. This may have to be disclosed by the person being tested if the drug test is unable to provide this information.

Length Of Time Opiates Stay In Your System

Drug detection times for opioids can vary depending on the type of drug a person has used. Despite their similar effects, many common opioids are processed through the body at different speeds and can, therefore, leave a person’s system faster.

Depending on the testing method, the length of time opiates (codeine and morphine) can be detected in the body:

  • Urine: 1 to 3 days
  • Blood: up to 12 hours
  • Oral fluid (Saliva): 1 to 3 days
  • Hair: up to 90 days

Length Of Time Opioids Stay In Your System

Synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are 50 to 100 times more potent than natural opiates morphine and heroin. Due to differences in their chemical makeup and how they are processed through the body, detection times for various opioids can differ.


  • Urine: 3 to 4 days (although not always detectable)
  • Blood: up to 12 hours
  • Oral fluid (saliva): 1 to 4 days
  • Hair: up to 90 days


  • Urine: up to 2 weeks
  • Blood: 24 hours
  • Oral fluid (saliva): up to 10 days
  • Hair: up to 90 days


  • Urine: up to 4 days
  • Blood: 24 hours
  • Oral fluid (saliva): 1 to 4 days
  • Hair: up to 90 days


  • Urine: 1 to 3 days
  • Blood: 24 hours
  • Oral fluid (saliva): 24 to 36 hours
  • Hair: up to 90 days

Heroin is also a semi-synthetic opiate derived from morphine. Un prescription drugs, however, heroin is illegal in the United States. Due to similarities in chemical properties, a urine test that is sensitive to heroin-specific metabolites may be required to differentiate heroin use from use of another opioid.

The amount of time heroin can be detected in the body:

  • Urine: up to 4 days
  • Blood: 5 to 6 hours
  • Oral fluid (saliva): 5 to 6 hours
  • Hair: up to 90 days

What Factors Can Affect Detection Times?

General estimates for the length of time opioids remain in a person’s system are not universal, and can be affected by personal, biological, and other lifestyle-related factors. This can result in longer or shorter windows than average for positive test results.

Drug test results for opioid use may be influenced by:

  • age
  • body size
  • metabolism
  • amount of drug taken
  • frequency of drug use
  • method of use
  • drug abuse and addiction
  • liver and kidney health

Studies have shown that eating poppy seeds prior to taking a drug test can also result in a false positive for opioid use. This is because poppy seeds contain trace amounts of codeine and morphine. If possible, it is best to avoid eating poppy seeds at least 24 hours before taking a drug test.

Why Do People Get Tested For Opioids?

There are a variety of reasons why a person may be tested for opioid use. Some doctors require regular drug screenings for patients who are prescribed opioids for more than 90 days. This is to ensure they are taking their prescription and to screen for illicit drug use.

Drug testing is also common in places of employment. Testing is sometimes required prior to beginning a new job and may continue to be required on a regular basis workplace policies.

People with a previous history of substance abuse, or those who are suspected of abusing opioids, may also be asked to take a drug test. Opioids are highly addictive substances that can have devastating effects when abused. As a result, doctors are increasingly encouraged to closely monitor patients taking opioids for signs and symptoms of misuse and addiction.

Are You Concerned About Being Tested For Opioid Use?

It is common for people struggling with opioid abuse or addiction to be concerned about how long a drug can be detected in their bodies. People often search for ways to manipulate drug tests to get clean test results and avoid potential consequences.

At Vertava Health Ohio, we understand that facing an opioid problem can be difficult. If you are abusing or addicted to opioids, our treatment specialists can offer a compassionate and personalized approach to helping you face and overcome your addiction.

Recovery from opioid abuse is not a simple process, but it is possible with the right opioid treatment. Vertava Health Ohio Rehab offers specialized drug addiction treatment programs that integrate quality medical care with a variety of other therapeutic and effective treatment services.

This includes:

  • medical detox services
  • individual counseling
  • medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • group therapy
  • holistic and alternative therapies

Based in a state with one of the highest rates of fatal opioid overdoses in the country, our Ohio treatment specialists understand the devastation opioid addiction can have on a person and their loved ones.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid abuse, contact Vertava Health Ohio through our free and confidential helpline today.


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