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Fentanyl Detection Time

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Have you ever read the back of a bottle of ibuprofen? Alongside various warnings are instructions about how many pills you should take at a time, and how often you should take them. Maybe when your doctor prescribed you a medication, they told you about what you shouldn’t take when you’re on the medication. Both of these cases are to help prevent complications and overdoses.

This same concept is true of other substances. Knowing how long it takes for our bodies to process substances like fentanyl can be important not only for drug tests but also for our own safety.

Here at Pacific Sands, we utilize a solution-focused approach to address substance use. This mentality extends beyond just our clients and into how we strive to connect with the community as a whole. Education can help people make informed decisions about their health. With nearly 9 out of 10 people Googling about their symptoms before deciding if they will seek help, let’s answer the question, how long does fentanyl stay in your system?

How Does the Body Process Fentanyl?

Substances to many degrees – from prescription medications to illicit substances and even alcohol – have a process in which they go through the body. This process plays a big role in not only how we’re impacted by the substance, but also in how long it stays in our system.

While the method of consumption does play a role in what organs help process fentanyl, there are certain parts that always play a role no matter how the substance is consumed.

One of those body parts is the liver. Our livers act like a filter for many of the things we put into our bodies. It helps bine with different chemicals in various substances, filtering them out of the body through urine, sweat, and more.

What Is the Half-Life of Fentanyl?

The measurement used to explain how long a substance stays within the body is known as a half-life. The term “half-life” is fairly literal, meaning how long it takes for half of the substance currently present in your body to leave.

For fentanyl, in particular, it takes anywhere from 3 to 7 hours for half of the substance to leave your body. Most of it primarily leaves through urine. 

Why It’s Important to Know How Long Fentanyl Is in the Body

Our bodies can only handle so much at a time. This threshold varies per person and per substance. While there is no definitive way to measure where this threshold lies, when you cross over this threshold, that’s when an overdose happens.

For fentanyl in particular, this amount is much lower than it is for most substances. Fentanyl is incredibly potent, on average 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It’s utilized in medical settings primarily for high levels of pain management such as those going through cancer treatment or dealing with chronic pain.

When taken or obtained illicitly, the risks involved increase tenfold because there are no regulations on how it’s produced and what its dosages are. This means that the time frame for how long it’s in the body can vary even more.

The Dangers of Too Much Fentanyl and Polysubstance Use

One of the biggest dangers that stems from having another substance in your system is how it can interact with other substances you may take. This can range from other drugs like cocaine to even overlapping substances with medications.

Having multiple substances in your body at a time, whether knowingly or unknowingly, is known as polysubstance use. The more substances you have in your body, the greater your risk of experiencing an overdose. Not only can different substances cause conflicting reactions in the body, but the greater variety of things the body has to process can make it become overwhelmed that much faster.

why its important to know how long fentanyl is in the body

What Factors Impact How Long It Takes for Our Body to Process Fentanyl?

As we mentioned earlier, the average half-life of fentanyl is 3 to 7 hours, but why is it such a large window? Is there any way to narrow it down further?

The truth of the matter is that every individual has their own circumstances, from their history of substance use to their genetics. There are many different factors that can impact how long it takes for fentanyl to be processed through the body. Let’s take a look at some of the most common factors that will make this window vary.

  • Genetics – Metabolism plays a large role in how substances like fentanyl are processed. Metabolism can vary based on your age, height, weight, and more.
  • History of substance use – If you have a longer history of substance use, it can take longer for your body to process fentanyl. This comes both from your body adjusting to the substance, as well as how the body can be damaged from long-term fentanyl use.
  • Your daily routine – Your normal levels of exercise, your diet, and even your sleep schedule can also impact your metabolism and how your body processes things.

How Long Does Fentanyl Show Up on a Drug Test?

Even when fentanyl has fully left the body, it leaves a footprint behind. This footprint is how drug tests can see when someone has engaged in substance use.

Not every aspect of our body holds onto information for long periods of time. This is why there is such a large variety of drug tests. Let’s take a closer look at the different kinds of drug tests, where you might encounter them, and how long fentanyl can give a positive result on those tests.

Fentanyl and Urine Tests

Urine tests are one of the most common forms of drug tests due to their ease and lack of invasiveness. One of the downsides of them, however, is the fact that they can be faked at times. In the grand scheme of drug tests, they land about in the middle for how long they retain information regarding recent substance use.

For fentanyl specifically, urine is how nearly 75% of fentanyl that you consume is dispelled. There are certain chemical components that are present in your urine when this happens. Depending on which chemical component a test is searching for, fentanyl can be detected 24-96 hours after the last consumption.

Fentanyl and Saliva Tests

While saliva tests can be utilized to test for recent substance use, it’s not very applicable in most cases. Saliva often doesn’t hold onto information regarding substances for very long. In the case of fentanyl, it is not able to be consistently detected, making it very uncommon for fentanyl testing.

Fentanyl and Hair Tests

Hair holds a surprising amount of information about our lives. As hair grows, each new growth acts like a memory bank. Everything from nutrition to substance use can be noted in how healthy your hair grows.

Because hair doesn’t recycle or consistently exit the body like urine or saliva, it can hold onto information for the longest out of all of the drug testing options. While hair can take the longest for a positive result, needing a week or more for new growth to be present enough for testing, it can hold information for months after your last dosage.

How Can You Get Fentanyl Out of Your System Faster

Many people might tell stories or tricks about how to “sober up” quickly. No amount of cold showers, gallons of water, or plates full of greasy food will actually speed up the process of fentanyl leaving your system.

These stories of how to get sober fast are just that, fiction. There is no true way to expedite the time frame for fentanyl to be fully processed through your system. 

how long does fentanyl show up on a drug test

Recovery Options Available in California for Fentanyl

The best way to get fentanyl fully out of your system is through a detox and rehab program. Whether you’re worried about a drug test for a job or a custody case, getting started on the journey to recovery can be pivotal. 

Recovery may seem daunting. How do you know where to start? Are there fentanyl detox programs near you? Do you even have the time to invest in recovery? Is there a facility that will truly work with you?

Here at Pacific Sands, our intimate facility allows our team to give you the one-on-one treatment you deserve. We will work with you to address your needs, building a plan collaboratively to make sure you’re able to reach your goals. There’s no wrong time to call, even if you just have questions. Reach out anytime at 949-426-7962 and our team will be happy to help.

Pacific Sands – The first step towards a new life.


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