Methamphetamine devastated the entire region of the United States. It ran second for being the most illicit used drug. The question is – how long does meth stay in your system?
Although opioids took most of the media’s attention, meth abuse is still widespread.
Why? First, meth is known as a fast-acting drug. Second, it stays in your body longer than you think.
There are many reasons why it stays in your system. But before we dig in, let’s know more about Methamphetamine.
Methamphetamine or meth is the 2nd most popular illicit drug.
The United States considered meth as a schedule 2(II) drug. Why? It has a high potential for misuse. Also, it has an increased risk of developing severe mental or physical dependence or addiction.
Meth has limited medical usage. Prescriptions are usually under the brand Desoxyn. Physicians prescribe it for treating obesity and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But now, this brand is rarely given. Safer drugs are now available like Adderall and Ritalin.
This substance is familiar under the following street names:
- Crystal meth
Route of Administration
There are several ways to use meth. Some users inject, smoke, swallow, or snort it.
Injecting or smoking cause drugs to reach the brain very quickly. It gives a feeling of rush or flash of euphoria. The high is more intense, but it wears off fast.
Swallowing or snorting causes the high to spread out up to 12 hours. The after-effects last up to 24 hours.
We now know what Methamphetamine is. If used illicitly, it damages mental and physical health. Save someone you love from this drug addiction. The next thing to learn is how long does meth stay in your system.
Effects of Methamphetamine
The use of meth increases the brain’s production of dopamine. The latter is a chemical involved in body movement and rewarding behaviors. Therefore, it is a central nervous system stimulant.
With this, drug abuse leads to the following adverse short-term side effects of meth.
- Inability to focus
- Poor balance and coordination
- Inability to follow directions
- Depressed reflexes
- Increased reaction time
- Motor excitation
- Time distortion
On top of that, there are adverse long-term side effects of meth, such as:
- Severe dental problems (“meth mouth”)
- Extreme weight loss
- Itching, leading to skin sores from scratching
- Changes in brain function
- Memory loss
- Sleeping problems
- Paranoia & Hallucinations
- Violent behavior
Mental Health Risks
Psychosis is known to be an effect of prolonged meth use. Drug abusers experience a severe mental disorder. It impairs one’s thoughts and emotions, thus losing contact with external reality. Meth-induced psychosis occurs during intoxication. Sometimes, it comes during withdrawal.
Although meth has short-term effects, it does not mean that it is out of your system already. It still stays even though the body and brain effects wear off. In reality, the high period of users is just the beginning of meth’s time in the system.
How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System
Meth hits fast once taken. It only takes seconds for it to take effect, regardless if taken by injection or smoking. Meth users often feel an initial ‘rush’ as dopamine floods their brains. Then, the ‘high’ remains for 4 to 14 hours.
The approximate half-life of meth is around 10 hours. It means after 10 hours of use; the body metabolized half of the ingested dose. So it is removed from the bloodstream. But still, there is a certain amount of meth stays in the body.
With this, meth circulates in different parts of the body. The drug enters your urine, blood, sweat, and hair. Both hair and fluid samples can trace meth. But it is proven that urine testing is the most cost-effective drug test.
How Long Does Meth Stay in Your Urine
Meth can be detected in your urine. It shows up in your urine within an hour of ingestion. Typically, meth remains one to three days after last use for occasional users. Meanwhile, heavy users take seven to ten days.
If you take a urine test, you need to be sober for at least four days after the last dosage. It ensures your negative drug test result.
Urine testing is the most common type of screening in workplaces. It is cheap and effective. Also, it has a reasonably long detection window. Most importantly, urine tests are not invasive methods when getting samples.
How Long Does Meth Stay in Your Hair
Methamphetamine reaches the hair follicle seven to ten days after use. It remains in them for up to 90 days.
Because of this, the hair test makes it impossible for users to cheat. If they try and plan to trick around drug tests, they can not escape the truth. Even quick detox meth still results positively.
Furthermore, hair screening is more invasive than urine tests. It requires plucked hair from the head or any parts of the body.
Also, it is expensive. Although a hair follicle test can detect meth, it is less accurate than other forms of screening.
Lastly, the results are more controversial. A false positive may occur from environmental contamination.
Nevertheless, stay on guard. If hair testing is necessary, expect a positive result if you used meth in the six months.
How Long Does Meth Stay in Your Blood
It takes about 10 hours for methamphetamine to leave your bloodstream. However, the drug’s time in the blood is not merely two half-lives.
With this, a blood test can detect meth for one to four days after the last dose. Blood tests require a blood sample. That is why it is more invasive than other tests. Also, it is relatively expensive, and it has a shorter detection window than urine tests.
On the other hand, blood testing is highly accurate. The National Institute on Drug medically reviewed this. They certified that very few false positives and negatives occur in blood screenings—no wonder why it is most common in traditional settings and law enforcement contexts.
How Long Does Meth Stay in Your Saliva
Saliva test finds traces of methamphetamine for one to four days after the last dose. To conduct this, a simple cotton swab from the inside of the cheek is all you need to do.
This test is easy to do and is non-invasive. The public can do it too. Typically, police officers in the field undergo this type of screening.
However, it is more expensive and less accurate than urine tests. So, it is less common in the workplace.
These are the different ways to know how long meth stay in your system. Remember, it might not be the same for everyone. The test detects the drug depending on how long it is used – short or long period. Always consider other factors.
Factors that Affect How Long Meth Stay in Your System
Methamphetamine drug testing has a lot of considerations. There are factors the National Institute on Drug Abuse determined the factors that affect how long the substance lasts in your system.
There is no fast-forward button when detoxing. Your body takes time to process the substance. With that, the amount of time depends on your physical aspects, such as:
Every system in your body needs to coordinate to complete the methamphetamine process. Both the liver and kidneys play a crucial role. If these organs do not function properly, meth will get back in your system. Thus, the substance stays longer.
Aside from physical well-being, mental health status affects meth’s time in the body. Mental illnesses are shared among users. Anxiety and depression slow down the processing time as well.
The most variable factor of how long methamphetamine stays in the body is how the substance is used. Prolong substance abuse builds up in the body and takes longer to remove. The following factors affect the timeframe.
- Frequency of use
- Duration of use
- Drug administration
- Presence of other drug or alcohol abuse
It takes a longer time to detoxify a heavy meth user. Moreover, the person is unlikely to be in good mental or physical health. As a result, it prolongs the stay of meth even more.
Always take into account these factors. These help you get an accurate result. Don’t forget to consider what kind of drug test you are taking.
Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment
Crystal meth is one of the most addictive drugs—the consequential effect on the brain’s reward system. Even first-time users have a solid drive to use it again. No wonder meth addiction is widespread.
As a result, people develop psychological and physical dependence. Substance abuse is predominant if the user smoked it or injected it. When this happens, a user needs to undergo addiction treatment.
Treating meth addiction is like treating other drug disorders. As of now, there is no approved medication yet. Nevertheless, there is a wide range of addiction treatment programs. They help individuals recover through detox, behavioral therapy, and peer support.
Never take meth abuse lightly. If your loved one has been using this dangerous substance, call us for help.
Stopping drug use is challenging. Meth addiction is very intense. People find it hard to control. Because of this, withdrawal symptoms are also severe.
The symptoms begin approximately 24 hours after the last use. The heavier the drug dosage, the worse symptoms will be.
If your loved one is undergoing treatment programs, expect the following symptoms:
- Itchy eyes
- Joint pain
- Clammy skin
- Irregular heartbeat
Overcoming addiction is difficult. Get help for your loved ones. Professionals are always ready to assist in defeating this battle. Find out if the treatment is effective – increased appetite and focus.
How long meth stays in your system depends on a lot of things. Always consider it before you get tested. Follow the doctor’s prescription. Most importantly, practice the correct substance use.