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Medically Reviewed

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

- 8 sections

Medically Reviewed: July 7, 2023

Medical Reviewer

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA

medically-verified

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Methamphetamine (meth) is a potent stimulant drug that was originally available for prescription under the name Desoxyn. While Desoxyn was used for weight loss and to treat ADHD, the meth people buy off of the street is not the same. The street version of meth often contains dangerous household chemicals that can pose serious health risks when consumed.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Among people aged 12 or older in 2021, 0.9% (or about 2.5 million people) reported using methamphetamine in the past 12 months.”[1]

The amount of time meth stays in your system will depend on a variety of factors, however, most of the time the substance is detectable in your body for 2 to 3 days after use. This timeframe may be longer for chronic users of meth, as metabolites have built up in their system over time.

How Long Do the Effects of Meth Last?

How long the effects of meth last will depend heavily on how much you have taken, your body size, and any additional substances you might have consumed. With that being said, meth typically lasts for a very long time when compared to other drugs.

The effects of meth can last anywhere from 4 to 12 hours. These effects may include:

  • A rush of euphoria
  • High levels of energy
  • Increased alertness and wakefulness
  • Agitation or paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Aggression
  • Arousal
  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Decreased appetite

If you or a loved one abuses meth, you must seek help from a professional drug rehab program. Meth can cause an array of adverse side effects, including psychosis, dental decay, malnourishment, and damage to your brain and other vital organs.

Factors that Affect How Long Meth Remains in Your Body

Several factors will play a role in how long methamphetamine stays in your system. If you are hoping to pass a drug test, the only way to ensure a negative result is to abstain from using meth and other drugs.

The following factors might play a role in how long meth stays in your body:

  • Method of administration (i.e. smoking, snorting, swallowing, or injecting)
  • Frequency and duration of use
  • The dosage of meth you take
  • How pure the substance is
  • The rate of your metabolism
  • Whether you abuse other drugs
  • Your body weight and composition

It is important to note that if you consume meth regularly, it will stay in your system longer than an individual who only uses it once or twice. This is because the metabolites that meth leaves behind will build up in your system before your body has a chance to eliminate it.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

The half-life of methamphetamine is between 9 to 24 hours, meaning it will take between 9 to 24 hours for half of the substance to be eliminated from your body. Because it takes about 4 to 5 half-lives for a drug to be eliminated, meth can stay in your system for up to 5 days.

Depending on the type of drug test, meth can be detected in your system for hours to months after you last used the substance.

Urine

Meth is detectable by a urine test for 72 hours after your last dose. This timeframe may be longer if you have been abusing meth regularly for a long time. Since meth is metabolized into amphetamine in your urine, you will test positive for amphetamines.

Saliva

Saliva drug tests look for metabolites of meth left behind in your mouth, so the window of detection is relatively short. Typically, meth is only detectable by saliva tests for 24 hours after you last used the substance.

Blood

The half-life for meth in your blood is about 10 hours, and blood tests can detect meth in your system for 36 to 48 hours after your last use.

Hair

Hair follicle drug tests can detect almost any substance in your system for up to 90 days after you last used it, including meth. The exact amount of time that meth will remain in your hair follicles depends on a variety of factors, including how often you consumed the drug. People who abuse meth heavily will test positive for it longer than occasional users.

Find Help for Meth Addiction

If you or a loved one abuse meth regularly, it’s time to seek professional help. Meth addiction can be incredibly difficult to overcome, especially when you do not have the proper support. By attending a drug rehab program, you can receive the support and tools you need to achieve long-lasting sobriety.

At Charlotte Detox Center, we can offer you a medical detox program that will give you a jumpstart in the journey of recovery from methamphetamine. With a combination of medical treatment, withdrawal medications, and psychological support, our program will help prepare you for further recovery practices like inpatient or outpatient rehab.

To learn more about our meth detox program, contact Charlotte Detox Center today.

References:

  1. The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA): What is the scope of methamphetamine use in the United States, Retrieved July 2023 From https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-scope-methamphetamine-misuse-in-united-states
  2. Wiley Online Library: A review of the clinical pharmacology of methamphetamine, Retrieved July 2023 from https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02564.x
  3. Science Direct: Urinary excretion of p-hydroxylated methamphetamine metabolites in man. II. Effect of alcohol intake on methamphetamine metabolism, Retrieved July 2023 from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0091305788901955

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