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How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System

You may not know the prevalence of meth in Hillsborough County. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has seized almost 9 pounds of the substance within the last year right here in Tampa. While it’s great news that meth is being pulled from the streets, what do you do if you know your loved one is still using it?

As a concerned loved one, you want to help, but how can you be sure they are taking meth. Would an at-home drug test work? What is the detection time for meth?

At Clean Recovery Centers, we take pride in providing education for the public about topics surrounding substance use. We offer a welcoming and respectful environment for those looking to find their lasting recovery right here on the Suncoast. Let’s dive into how long meth stays in the system.

how long does meth stay in your system clean recovery center

how long the effects of meth lastHow Your Body Processes Meth

Methamphetamines or meth are a class of stimulants derived from amphetamines. Common over-the-counter amphetamines include pseudoephedrine, ephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine, which are common ingredients in cold medicine. Most meth is imported from Mexico where it enters illegal laboratories here in the United States. Once here, chemicals are added to turn the powdered meth into crystal meth. These chemicals include fertilizer, acetone, lithium, and red phosphorus, all of which are toxic to the environment when cooked into methamphetamines.

Because of all the chemical production involved in making meth, the body has a more difficult time trying to process it. Meth enters the body through smoking, swallowing, injecting, or snorting it. Once inside, it travels throughout the bloodstream, heading to the brain first. This is where the effects of meth are felt. However, it also travels to organs that begin breaking it down, including the kidneys, liver, and digestive organs. A majority of meth is processed in the liver, and it can take longer for it to break down the harsh chemicals.

How Long the Effects of Meth Last

The effects of meth wear off quickly depending on the route of administration. Smoking and injecting meth are the fastest ways to deliver the substance to the bloodstream, but the rush and effects only last minutes. Snorting meth delays the effects by around 5 minutes and does not produce the same rush. Swallowing meth delays the onset of effect even more, around 15-20 minutes. Despite the effects only lasting a short time, meth stays within the body for a lot longer.

Meth Half-Life

The term half-life is used to describe the amount of time it takes the body to remove half of a substance. With stimulants, this is usually short, around a few hours. However, because of the chemical makeup of meth, the half-life is 12 hours. Because the effects of meth are short-lived, many tend to take it in binge cycles, increasing how long it stays within the system.

How Long Meth Stays in Your System

Meth can be detected using different tests. Our bodies naturally expel toxins through our sweat, urine, saliva, and even our hair. Let’s take a look at the detection times of meth through common testing methods.

Meth Detection Time in Urine

The urinary system includes the kidneys, which aid in flushing toxic substances from the body. As we mentioned above, meth is made up of many different chemicals and substances, making it harder for the kidneys to filter everything in a timely manner. Because of this, meth can be detected in urine around 3 days after the last dose, and in some cases up to a full week. Meth is tested for in all panel urine tests including 5, 10, and 12.

Meth Detection Time in Blood, Saliva, and Sweat

Blood tests are not a common way to test for meth as they require a trained professional, a lab to process the results, and they are invasive. However, blood tests show a concentration of meth within the blood, which makes them the most accurate type of test in regards to how much substance is truly present. They also only detect meth use for a short window, within the last 12-24 hours.

Saliva tests are quick and minimally invasive. They can detect meth use within the last 12-24 hours. However, saliva tests can show higher concentrations of meth that may not be accurate to what is in the blood. If the goal is just to prove meth was taken and not how much, saliva tests are an effective option.

Sweat tests for meth are non-invasive and can detect meth use up to 2 weeks after the last use. A patch is placed on the skin for a week, then the final results can be read. Sweat tests do not show any forms of concentration in the body, only the presence of meth.

Meth Detection Time in Hair

Hair follicle tests are most often used to show long-term use of meth and other substances. This is because these types of tests can show the presence of meth up to 3 months after the last use. However, hair follicle tests are expensive which is why they are reserved specifically for long-term testing.

It is important to note that there is no definitive way to “pass” a hair follicle test if you are in the 3-month window. Shaving your head does not work because your entire body has hair. There is no surefire way to make sure every hair is gone from your body. Using chemicals like bleach is also not guaranteed to wipe away drug concentrations.

Factors That Can Influence How Long Meth Stays in Your System

There are many different factors that can influence how long meth stays in your system. The first is your metabolism. If you were a healthy individual before taking meth, your metabolism may be functioning at a better rate than someone who may be overweight or doesn’t exercise.

Another factor involves liver function. Those who have liver damage from substance use, medical conditions, or infections will have a more difficult time metabolizing meth.

Lastly, other substances that you put in your body can affect how long meth stays in your system. The liver and kidneys can only filter so much of a substance at once, and when they are trying to compensate for multiple substances, it will take much longer to metabolize everything. This includes all substances such as alcohol, opioids, and even prescriptions you may be taking with meth. Taking multiple substances also increases the risk of an overdose as the body becomes overwhelmed with meth and/or other substances.

Can You Get Meth Out of Your System Faster?

There is no way to speed up the process of getting meth out of your system faster. As with alcohol, meth, cocaine, etc., there are old wives’ tales about cold showers, drinking coffee, and chugging electrolyte drinks that will magically “wash” substances out of your body faster. This is not a true fact, the body’s systems cannot be kicked into overdrive. Even if you are no longer feeling the effects of meth after a few hours, it will still be present in your body for the next day or so.

Getting Treatment for Meth Addiction in Hillsborough County, FL

Methamphetamines can take hold of every aspect of your life, including your livelihood if a detection test is around the corner. It doesn’t have to stay that way forever – meth addiction help is available right now. It can be scary taking that first step, but once you cross the threshold of recovery, life will be at your fingertips. Through skill-building and therapy, you will learn how addiction began for you, and have the tools to take on the world meth-free.

Meth use disorder affects everyone – from the person using it to family members and loved ones. That’s why at Clean Recovery Centers, we offer family programming to involve everyone in the recovery process. The road to recovery can be rocky, but it never has to be done so alone. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to learn more about our program offerings.

Get clean. Live clean. Stay clean.

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