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Opening April 2019

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?

Do you think that you may have become addicted to your opiate medications? Maybe you've read some information about these drugs, and you're feeling nervous. You know they're addictive, and you are concerned about stopping yours. Unfortunately, people don't receive enough education when they start taking painkillers. They may be warned about addiction, but they don't think it could ever happen to them.

You may be facing a situation right now where you fear you do have an addiction. If you do, you need to know, how long do opiates stay in the system? This is important because it will help you to understand what withdrawal will be like. Stopping the use of these drugs is dangerous when you attempt it on your own. This is something that is best left for professional treatment.

First, let's go over how long opiates stay in the body. We'll discuss abuse and addiction, as well as answer many of the more commonly asked questions about painkillers. You'll also learn more about where you can find treatment so that you can recover.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is classified as a narcotic because it is an opioid. It is most often used to treat severe or moderate pain. This medication may be given as an extended release drug, which allows it to provide pain relief for up to 24 hours. It’s most often prescribed after surgery to help the patient deal with the initial pain. Other forms are immediate release, which acts almost as soon as it’s taken.

The medication may be given alone as in the case of OxyContin. It may be combined with acetaminophen which is the combination found in Percocet and aspirin for Percodan. Most people abuse this drug when it’s used by itself, such as with Oxycontin. However, Percocet and Percodan users may become addicted as well.

How and Why People Abuse It

Because Oxy is given as a prescription to people who are in pain, users often believe it’s safe. However, the body may become used to the drug being in the system and rely on it to feel better. As the body becomes adjusted, it may take more for the person to enjoy pain relief.

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Abuse can start innocently:
  • A person gets a prescription from the doctor, but soon it doesn’t seem to be working as well, so they increase the dosage without consulting their doctor.
  • Someone gives another person one of their pills because they complain of pain.
  • A teen or other person has heard of the positive feelings associated with Oxycodone, so they take some from a relative or friend without their knowledge.

In other cases, a person may choose to experiment with the medication with the goal of getting high. They choose this drug because it seems safer than illicit drugs like heroin. They don’t believe it can hurt them or cause an addiction. It’s just for “a little fun.”

Oxycontin is known to provide a euphoric feeling and reduce anxiety. The overall experience for the person abusing Oxy is pleasant, which increases the likelihood for future use.

Oxy is most often crushed so the person can insert it intravenously into the veins so it goes directly to the bloodstream for faster impact. Users may also chew the pills for quick results.

Oxycodone can produce a strong high, which increases the likelihood of addiction. Someone may become addicted even if they take it as prescribed, especially if they have a history of abuse or addiction.

As the person develops a tolerance to the drug, they may need to increase the frequency or the amount of drug taken. This, in turn, raises the risk of developing a dependence on the drug. The user may begin doctor shopping, which means they go to a different doctor for a second prescription of Oxycontin so they can increase the amount they’re using.

One of the main reasons people seek out more of this drug is because it makes them feel good. It eliminates pain temporarily and creates feelings of happiness and clam. However, there are several unwanted symptoms that may appear as well, such as the following:

  • Constipation
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slowed breathing
  • Difficulty with breathing
  • Sleepiness

It’s possible for a person to overdose on Oxycodone. Many people don’t realize just how serious it can be to take too much of this drug. However, the signs of overdose can be quite serious and even lead to death if not treated. They include the following:

  • Difficulty waking
  • Lack of response even when painful stimuli is used
  • Constricted pupils that don’t respond to light
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Bluish tinge to lips and fingernails

When a person becomes addicted to Oxycodone, they will exhibit many of the signs associated with other addictions. They will use various means to obtain more of the drug, such as lying or even stealing someone else’s prescription. Their focus will be on obtaining the drug rather than on other areas of their lives. The person will continue taking it even when doctors recommend they quit or if it results in legal or financial problems. While these issues sound like someone with a drug problem for illicit substances, it can happen with prescription medications, especially opioid drugs.

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in the Body?

If you have a loved one who is abusing a prescription which contains Oxycodone, you may want to know how long the medication will stay in the system. It can help you know what to expect if they cannot get more of the drug after that time. It also tells you when they will be craving another dose.

Factors that Can Influence How Long Oxycodone Stays in the Body

The half-life of Oxycodone is between 3.5 and 5.5 hours. What this means is that for the average person, half of the drug is out of the system in that time. In order for the body to eliminate the entire amount of Oxy, it can take as long as 20 hours.

This number is just an average. There are other factors to consider as well. For instance, if you eat while you take OxyContin, it can affect the absorption of the drug. Certain metabolites in the body can also affect the absorption rate of Oxy as well.

In addition, there are other factors that can influence how long Oxy remains in the body. These can include:

  • Your age - Older people may take a longer time to eliminate drugs like Oxycodone. This is usually do to certain medical problems, and slower liver and kidney function.
  • Your body weight - If you are taking a higher dosage of OxyContin because you weigh more, it can take longer to eliminate it.
  • Enzyme levels - Your liver has enzymes responsible for processing everything. If your levels are higher, the drug will exit your body faster.
  • Your metabolism - This plays a key role, and everyone's metabolism rate is different.
  • The pH level of your urine - If your urine is more alkaline, it can take longer to get rid of the Oxy from the body.

Detecting Oxycodone in the System

If you or a loved one have been abusing Oxycodone, you may wonder how long it will stay in your system for testing purposes. Even if you’re clean now and haven’t been taking the drug for some time, it can show up in certain tests. It’s helpful to know this information so you can be honest with the tester.

How Long Oxycodone Stays in Your Blood, Urine, Hair, Saliva

Blood tests are one of the most common methods of detecting drug use in certain situations. For instance, they are often used to determine a person’s diagnosis if they are experiencing symptoms of a medical condition. They are used to detect pregnancy and some states require it for marriage.

A person who has taken Oxycodone will generally test positive within 15 to 30 minutes later. The drug will show up in a blood test for up to one day or 24 hours. While this is the general rule, it can vary based on how fast someone metabolizes it and how much they took. As long as someone hasn’t taken the drug for a few days, it most likely won’t show up in blood tests.

A urine test is probably the most common testing method which directly looks for drug abuse. Employers may require this type of test when hiring new employees or for random testing of current employees. Some employers and worker’s compensation companies require a urine test when a worker is injured on the job. If someone is suspected of drug abuse, they may be required to take a urine test.

Oxycodone will show up in the urine after about two hours. It will stay in the system and create a positive urine test for up to 3-4 days or as long as 96 hours. This is the reason it’s used in employment situations. The person may not have used the same day as the test, but if they have had recent drug use in the past few days, it will be evident in the urine.

A test that is becoming more common for detecting drug use is the saliva test. Advocates like it because saliva is easy to collect and is less likely to be contaminated. You can also collect enough to be used with multiple tests. The saliva test is used to diagnose several medical conditions. It may also be used to detect certain behavioral issues because the saliva is an indicator of various health problems, including depression.

The saliva test is similar to the urine test when checking for the presence of drugs in the system. It can detect Oxy within 15 to 30 minutes after you take it. It will continue to show positive results for up to four days or 96 hours. Of course, if someone metabolizes the drug faster, it may leave the system within one day and test results will be negative in the saliva.

The hair test is useful for many applications. It’s often used by employers who want a longer history than what can be found in urine tests. It can also be used to test a person’s exposure to toxins or to establish DNA. If someone is required to undergo regular testing, such as people with criminal charges, they may have to agree to a hair test along with other methods.

The hair test will detect the presence of several drugs, including opiates. Any drugs present in the hair will show up within a week after the last use. The test will continue to be positive for 90 days or even longer. The exact timeline will depend on how fast your hair grows.

While using the hair on top of your head is the most common method of collection, hair on other body areas may also be used. However, the information will be different because hair on the body grows at a different rate than what is on your head.

One of the drawbacks of using the hair test is you can’t tell if someone used for the first time in the past few days. There is also some variance on when the person would have been using based on how fast their hair grows. Someone may have used one or two months ago but not currently be using drugs.

Hair tests are considered to be one of the most reliable indications of drug use. It’s much more difficult to hide drug use in this kind of test.

Oxycodone Abuse Defined

It's possible that you might be abusing Oxycodone, and not truly addicted to it. It's important to understand what OxyContin abuse is.

Oxycodone Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

Oxycodone abuse is defined as the misuse of the drug. It can be taking more than the prescribed dose of Oxy. It can also be taking the doses too closely together or taking them without a prescription. People who abuse Oxycodone might also be on the drug for a longer period of time. Some Oxy abusers will crush the pills and snort them or chew them. These individuals are generally looking for Oxy to give them a fast high.

Abusing Oxycodone does not mean you have an addiction. If this is something you do recreationally, but don't feel compelled to do, it's abuse. Even so, someone who abuses Oxy can easily become an addict very quickly. Even with abuse, you can get in trouble which may have long-lasting effects. You miss out on family get-togethers or your kids’ activities. You may not perform your best at work. Now is the time to stop abusing the medication so you can get your life back.

Are You an Oxycontin addict in need of rehab? You may think you can handle your use of the medication, especially if it was first prescribed by a doctor. Even if you’ve increased the dosage because you need more pain relief, you may not realize it’s gotten out of hand.

You may have been complaining of unbearable pain that just won’t go away. You can’t afford to go to a doctor for treatment, so your well-meaning friend offered you one of their Percocet or OxyContin pills. It gave you almost immediate relief. You started searching for ways to get this medication to help you feel better and enjoy life.

Although you started using the medication for good reasons, you soon find it stops working unless you increase your dosage. You don’t feel as well until you take another pill. You still may not realize that you are now addicted to a prescription medication. However, the signs are often similar to other addictions.

You’ll start to focus more on how to access the drug and even be willing to lie and steal to get it. You may end up in financial trouble as you spend more money on Oxy. Family and friends may worry about your medication use and even suggest that you stop using it. However, you may find you’re still functional even when addicted. Many people who suffer from a prescription medication addiction can hold jobs, take care of their families and handle other responsibilities. They are functional addicts, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t addicted.

You may notice you’re more nervous and anxious when you haven’t had an Oxycodone pill for some time. You might become irritable and hard to get along with until you can get more of your medication. If any of this sounds like you, it might be an indication that you have become addicted.

Because Oxycodone is an opioid substance, it can be quite addictive. This means that when you attempt to stop taking it, you will suffer withdrawal symptoms that can be unpleasant at best and painful at their worst. You may feel increased sensitivity to pain and become restless and agitated. You may be unable to sleep and have a loss in appetite. You may also experience diarrhea and extreme sweating or cold.

One of the biggest risks with people who abuse Oxy medications is the increased likelihood that they will seek out heroin or another opiate to curb their cravings. This becomes an even bigger issue if the person is unable to access a prescription or find it on the street.

In these situations, you will need to detox from the Oxycodone. This means you must get it out of your system so that your body can begin functioning normally again. This process can take some time, and it can be uncomfortable or even painful for the first few days. The situation may be even worse if you’ve been using another drug along with the Oxy. Once detox has been completed, drug treatment can begin.

You may wonder if treatment is really necessary or if you can just stop the medication and resume your normal life. The answer depends on several factors. For one thing, it will depend on whether you’re abusing the drug or addicted and for how long. It also depends on how much you’ve been using.

A person who has just started abusing the drug and sees the dangers can usually stop on their own. However, even in this situation it may be best to contact a professional. Doctors will often reduce your dosage before removing the medication completely.

If you have been taking the drug for a long time or have become addicted, you may need rehab to begin recovery. You might need to learn how to deal with pain in a different way or to understand what caused you to turn to the medication in the first place.

Another reason you may not want to stop taking this medication by yourself is because you could suffer withdrawal symptoms that will cause you to relapse. If you’ve combined this drug with alcohol or other drugs, it can be even more serious to stop abusing it. Professional help can ensure you begin recovery in a safe way.

You may need to begin your Oxycodone treatment by going through OxyContin detox first. The detoxification process will help your body eliminate the drug efficiently. It will also give you support during the withdrawal stage, making it easier on your body. This is so important because it will increase your chances of being successful. However, you don’t want to stop here. If you only attend detox and not continue on with drug rehab treatment, you are more likely to relapse.

The next step is Oxycodone rehab. This is where you'll work on the mental part of the addiction. Both steps are critical and will help to guide you toward freedom from Oxy. You will want to attend a drug addiction treatment center that offers rehab for people with an addiction to prescription medications.

People with addictions to prescription medications may have a different background than those who are addicted to illicit drugs. For example, they may have been given the medication by a doctor, which is vastly different from how people begin using other drugs.

What to Expect with Drug Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment for OxyContin and other forms of the drug is similar to rehab for other drugs. The person must deal with their addiction and understand the causes. In addition, they may need to find a pain management program that will help them deal with the pain that led to the use of the medication in the first place.

Oxycodone Information

Patients will develop an awareness of prescription medication addiction so they can begin to understand why they became addicted. They will also learn the importance of revealing this information in the future any time they go to a doctor so they can avoid the same problems again.

Drug treatment may include finding holistic ways of managing pain and identifying triggers that caused them to seek out the drug. In some cases, the person no longer suffers from the pain or injury which started the use of Oxy. In other situations, the medical condition may be chronic, which means it’s ongoing and must be dealt with along with the addiction. It can take several weeks or even longer before you are able to move forward with your life without the use of this drug. You will always have to be aware of your risk for addiction whenever a doctor prescribes medication for a condition.

As you compare facilities for drug treatment, you’ll notice many of the same types of treatment for prescription medications as for street drugs. For instance, you’ll probably go through individual counseling as well as group therapy. You may need medication to help with the pain or to deal with the cravings or withdrawal symptoms.

Don’t underestimate the power of Oxy addiction. It can be as serious and as difficult to overcome as other opiates. You may need to attend inpatient rehab or an intensive outpatient program to overcome your addiction.

One of the main concerns for people who abuse OxyContin or other addictive opioids is the fact that they often lead to other addictions. They may be paired with alcohol or advance to heroin or morphine addiction.

If you wonder why someone would go from abusing Oxycodone to using heroin, you must understand the need for a drug by the system. As the person takes more of the prescription medication, their system develops a tolerance for it. The same dosage doesn’t seem to knock the pain or stop it for as long. So the person increases their dosage or takes the next dose just a little sooner than prescribed.

This situation will continue as they search for more of the drug from multiple doctors. When they can no longer get it through a prescription, they may try to find a dealer on the street who also provides Oxy. Because the prescription can be costly, especially when you can’t go through your insurance provider, it is often easier to switch to a less expensive drug like heroin.

Once you experiment with other drugs, you may find you’ve turned from a slight addiction to one that takes over your life. To break free of addiction to Oxycodone, you may need to find a drug rehab facility.

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Seek Help with Northpoint Washington

At Northpoint Washington, we care about your recovery. We want you to get the help you need, and we're confident we can assist you in reaching your goals.

Here at Northpoint Washington, we provide the best resources in Washington State with treatments that are customized to each individual. With a low patient to staff ratio, you can enjoy more time with the staff. We also provide alternative therapy options and a focus on wellness with a nutrition program and exercise.

With a focus on a holistic approach to treatment, we use our many years of experience to help you break free from your addiction. No matter how you started out using Oxycodone, you don’t have to suffer from addiction forever. If you want to learn more about dealing with an addiction to OxyContin or another prescription opioid, contact us.

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How Long Oxycodone Stays in Your System Infographic
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