How long do drugs stay in your system (2023)

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How long do drugs stay in your system (1)

Blog medically reviewed by Sarina Wheatman (Emotional Freedom Technique Master Practitioner(EFT), Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals (FDAP) NCAC)

If left unchecked, occasional drug use can quickly spiral into a serious addiction. According todrug use statistics, around 7%of UK adults have taken a Class A drug, with over 18,000 hospitalisations recorded due to drug misuse. The brief high that drugs provide is often, over time, replaced with a tolerance that can lead to a harmful dependency.

If you’ve recently taken drugs, or know someone who has, you might be in need of information about how long that drug will stay in your, or their, system. In this piece, we’ll provide information on how long various drugs stay in your body and what factors impact that timeframe.

(Video) How Long Do Drugs Stay in your System? | Drug Facts & the Body

We’ll also provide information on drug addiction, including the signs of drug dependency to look out for, and what longer-term effects drugs can have on the body.

How long will a drug stay in my body?

The table below provides an estimation on how long drugs will typically stay in your system. Bear in mind, depending on a number of factors, these timelines may be different for different people and their individual circumstances.

Note: The information below comes fromDrugs and Alcohol Information and Support Ireland,but is only be offer a general guide. Other sources may provide different timeframes.


In Blood

In Urine


10-12 hours

3-5 days


12 hours

1-3 days


1-2 days

2-4 days


2-3 days

3-6 weeks


2 weeks

7-30 days


1-2 days

3-4 days


12 hours

1 day


12 hours

3-4 days


2-3 hours

1-3 days

MDMA (ecstasy)

1-2 days

3-4 days

Methamphetamine (crystal meth)

1-3 days

3-6 days


24-36 hours

3-4 days


6-8 hours

2-3 days

It should also be noted that, in addition to blood and urine tests, drugs can also be detected in your hair. When drugs become present in your bloodstream, they can make their way to any part of your body, including your hair via hair cells. In this case, drugs can stay in your system for as long as 90 days after consumption.

What affects how long drugs stay in my body?

The information above should only be used as a general guide to how long drugs can stay in your system. This is because a variety of different factors can impact how long drugs stay in your body. Here are a few of the key factors:

Amount consumed and frequency of use

How heavily you use the drug can have a big impact on how long it stays in your system. On a one-use basis, a drug may only be in your system for a short period of time. But extensive use, either in one go or consistently taken over a long period, can lead to higher concentrations of the drug in your body – leading to the drug staying in your body over a much longer period.

General tolerance

If you have built up a tolerance to the drug with regular consumption, it can metabolise more quickly in your body. This leads to a shorter period of time in your system.

Alcohol consumption

If you drink alcohol at the same time as consuming drugs, it can lead to the drug staying in your system for longer.

(Video) How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Weight and metabolism

Your weight can impact how long drugs stay in your system. If you have a higher level of body fat, you’ll generally find that drugs stay in your system for longer. The metabolites (what your body breaks the drugs down into), can accumulate in your fatty tissues, leading to a longer duration in the body.

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(Video) How long does Cocaine stay in your system ? How long do drug tests detect cocaine for

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When does it become drug addiction?

Depending on the drug involved, the signs that your drug use may have tipped into a dangerous dependency and addiction, will be different. As well as consuming the drug on a regular basis, there are a few keysigns and symptoms of drug addictionthat could indicate you have an issue that needs addressing:

Psychological signs of addiction

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Feeling nervous and ‘on edge’
  • Increased temper and irritability, leading to angry outbursts

Behavioural and social signs of addiction

  • Avoiding contact with family and friends, leading to social isolation
  • Finding that you only tend to spend time with other drug users
  • Prioritising drugs over other activities
  • Continued drug use after experiencing negative repercussions from previous use
  • Spending a large amount of time acquiring and using drugs, and attempting to recover from their effects

Physical symptoms of addiction

(Video) How Long Does Cocaine Stay in your Urine, System, Hair & Blood? 24/7 Helpline (561) 678-0917

  • Weight gain or loss due to increased or reduced appetite
  • Feeling clammy and sweating excessively in the absence of physical exertion
  • Headaches caused by dehydration
  • Experiencing an increased tolerance to the drug – finding that you need to take more and more of the drug in order to experience the desired effects
  • Experiencing bruises, scabs, scars, infections and other skin problems as a result of injecting drugs

These symptoms can occur in addition to a number oflong-term effects of drug use on the body.

When should I get help for a drug abuse?

Any drug use could have very serious consequences for your health and wellbeing, so if you need help to stop or would like more information, professional help is available. With the right support, you can move past your struggles with substance misuse and lead a much more rewarding, healthier way of life.

At Priory, we have the very best in-house expertise, helping people to recover from the challenges of drug addiction. With ourhelp for drug addiction, there is every reason that you can overcome your dependence on drugs and get your life back on track.

We deliver an intensive 28-day addiction treatment programmeon an inpatient (residential) basis, consisting of group therapy and individual therapy when needed. Within our comfortable facilities, we use therapeutic techniques which are highly effective for addiction, trauma, stress, depression and anxiety. We also provide a family support programme for friends and loved ones, as well as a weekly Aftercare group, allowing you to meet many ex-patients who have turned their life around after using our treatment methods.

You’ll also benefit from 24-hour support from highly qualified professionals, as well as a medically assisted detoxification programme prior to entering residential treatment. This will help you to safely come off the drug whilst managing your withdrawal symptoms, helping you to become physically stable and ready for therapy. We also offer free aftercare for life, as we acknowledge that recovery is a lifelong endeavour.

Get in Touch Today

For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding drug addiction treatment and rehabilitation, please call0330 056 6023 or click here to book a FREE ADDICTION ASSESSMENT. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here

(Video) How long are different drugs detectable in your system - urine testing, hair testing, etc.


How long does it take for a drug to be eliminated from the body? ›

Most drugs of abuse stay in the body for at least a few days after the last use and are traceable with urine tests. Opioids like heroin and oxycodone are detectable for between 1 and 3 days after last use. Stimulants including cocaine, meth, and ADHD medications are detectable for about 2 or 3 days.

How long does urine last for drug test? ›

There are different types of drug tests that are used depending on the goal of the test. These include urine, saliva, blood, hair, and perspiration.
Urine testUp to 12 days
Hair testUp to 90 days
Blood testUp to 24 hours
Saliva testUp to 10 days

How is drug removed from the body system? ›

Drug elimination is the removal of an administered drug from the body. It is accomplished in two ways, either by excretion of an unmetabolized drug in its intact form or by metabolic biotransformation followed by excretion.

How far back does a 10 panel urine test go? ›

A 10-panel drug test is one of many screenings employers can use to detect prescription or illicit drugs.
How Far Back Does A 10-panel Urine Test Go?
SubstanceDetection Time Frame
Amphetamines48 hours
Barbiturates24 hours to 3 weeks
BenzodiazepinesUp to six weeks for extended use
Cocaine2-4 days
5 more rows
Jun 8, 2022

How long does Delta 8 stay in your system? ›

Because their structures are similar, delta-8 is expected to stay in the body for the same amount of time as delta-9 THC. For occasional users, this could be as little as 2 to 5 days. For regular users, it could be up to 15 days.

Can you fail a drug test for urine? ›

A drug test can detect the presence of certain medications and substances. The most common type of drug test is a urine test. Unfortunately, inaccurate results on drug tests can happen. For instance, a “false positive” is when a drug test shows the presence of a medication or substance that you aren't actually taking.

Can pee be reheated? ›

Reheating a Cold Urine Sample

Microwaving urine could potentially damage the sample and make it unusable. Make sure you use the sample within the day when you defrost it.

What are the 4 main ways a drug is excreted? ›

Drug excretion is the removal of drugs from the body, either as a metabolite or unchanged drug. There are many different routes of excretion, including urine, bile, sweat, saliva, tears, milk, and stool. By far, the most important excretory organs are the kidney and liver.

What organ is detoxed from drugs? ›

The liver is the primary site of drug metabolism, and it plays a key role in drug detoxification and the elimination of substances from the body.

What organs detoxify drugs? ›

The liver detoxifies numerous toxins. It also destroys drugs, such as alcohol, nicotine, and prescription medicines, because these things are not normal to the body. Some medicines have the bad side effect of damaging liver cells.

What shows up on a drug test urine? ›

What do these tests do? These tests indicate if one or more prescription or illegal drugs are present in urine. These tests detect the presence of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine, amphetamines, PCP, benzodiazepine, barbiturates, methadone, tricyclic antidepressants, ecstasy, and oxycodone.

What can be detected in a urine test? ›

What can a urine test reveal?
  • Diabetes or prediabetes.
  • Chronic kidney disease.
  • Kidney or bladder stones.
  • Kidney or bladder cancer.
  • Bacterial or yeast infections.
  • A urinary tract disorder.
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Liver or bile duct damage.

What is the most common drug test for employment? ›

Urinalysis – A urine test is the most common form of pre-employment drug testing and is typically conducted once a conditional offer of employment has been sent. A urine test can show traces of drug use even after the effects of the drug have worn off and remain in the body for an extended period of time.

Does the body have to metabolize drugs before they are eliminated? ›

Some drugs undergo metabolism before being excreted, whereas other drugs are largely eliminated intact in the original dosage form. The kidneys are responsible for the majority of excretion of water-soluble substances. The biliary system can also excrete drugs that are not reabsorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.

What drugs have the longest half-life? ›

Many psychotropic drugs and their active metabolites, if any, have very long half-lives that extend for 2 days or longer. Examples are chlordiazepoxide, diazepam, fluoxetine, vortioxetine, aripiprazole, brexpiprazole, cariprazine, penfluridol, donepezil, and memantine.

What is the difference between drug elimination and excretion? ›

Elimination is the removal of a medication from the body. Now this can be accomplished through metabolism, where the medication is broken down into inactive metabolites, or through excretion which is when the intact medication is transported out of the body.

What drugs are eliminated by the kidneys? ›

drugs excreted by the kidney
  • antibiotics:
  • beta blockers.
  • diuretics.
  • lithium.
  • digoxin.
  • procainamide.
  • cimetidine.
  • ranitidine.

What drug is inactive until metabolized? ›

Hepatic Metabolism in Liver Health and Disease

However some drugs are metabolized into active compounds first before subsequent metabolism to inactive compounds and be excreted. These drugs, including diamorphine, codeine, enalapril, and levodopa, are called prodrugs, which have no intrinsic activity before metabolism.

What are the 4 stages of drug metabolism? ›

Think of pharmacokinetics as a drug's journey through the body, during which it passes through four different phases: absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion (ADME).

What drug has the shortest half-life? ›

Cocaine has one of the shortest half-lives out of all the drugs out there. Its half-life is only about an hour to an hour and a half.

What is the longest used drug? ›

Abstract. Opium has been known for millennia to relieve pain and its use for surgical analgesia has been recorded for several centuries. The Sumerian clay tablet (about 2100 BC) is considered to be the world's oldest recorded list of medical prescriptions.

Which narcotic has the longest half-life? ›

Half-Life of Opiates and Opioids
  • Morphine has a half-life that ranges from 1.5 to 23.9 hours.
  • Heroin has a half-life of around eight minutes.
  • Codeine has a half-life of up to three hours.
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) has a half-life of up to five hours.
Nov 9, 2022

How can I speed up drug elimination? ›

In the treatment of poisoning with some drugs, the acidity of the urine is changed by giving antacids (such as sodium bicarbonate) or acidic substances (such as ammonium chloride) to speed up the excretion of the drug.

What most drugs are excreted in? ›

Most drugs, particularly water-soluble drugs and their metabolites, are eliminated largely by the kidneys in urine.

Do all drugs get metabolized? ›

All drugs are eventually eliminated from the body. They may be eliminated... read more from the body, for example, in the urine or bile. Most drugs must pass through the liver, which is the primary site for drug metabolism.


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