Have you ever wondered, ‘how long does meth stay in my system’? If you have, then take a look at this comprehensive guide. We’ll break down how meth is broken down in your body. We’ll also take a look at the metabolites that are involved. After reading this article, you should get a good idea of how long meth will stay in your system for.
Meth, short for crystal meth, is actually quite a rampant drug in America, although it may not be abused as often as opioids. According to the Controlled Substance Act, it’s one of many Schedule II Controlled Substances. This means that it is highly addictive. It’s easy for drug abusers to develop dependence on this illicit drug. Once consumed, this drug attaches to receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) and wreak havoc. It also creates intense feelings of euphoria that causes users to feel better about themselves.
Studies show that drug addicts with a meth addiction are more likely to end up in jail than drug addicts with any other type of drug addiction. The fact of the matter is that meth is causing people to be locked up in more than 50 states. In fact, meth is responsible for more than 90% of all drug offenses in Hawaii and Montana. It’s also responsible for more than 70% of all drug offenses in North Dakota, Wyoming and Idaho. Those who have abused meth should highly consider seeking addiction treatment. After all, this is a fairly difficult drug to quit.
The Half-Life of Meth
The approximate half-life of methamphetamine is about 10 hours. This is the amount of time that it takes the body to remove about half of the amount of meth consumed. With that said, the major effects of meth usually last for about 8 hours. However, the aftereffects of this illicit substance will usually last as long as 12 hours.
Even though meth has a half-life of 10 hours, it’s important to remember that this drug is broken down by the body into various other metabolites. Drug tests look for these metabolites. This is why drug tests are able to detect meth use for days, if not weeks, after the last dose. Methamphetamine can be broken down into many different types of metabolites. The main metabolites include amphetamine and 4-hydroxymethamphetamine. There are also some other minor metabolites. They include 4-hydroxyamphetamine, 4-hydroxynorephedrine, 4-hydroxyphenylacetone, benzoic acid, hippuric acid, norephedrine, and phenylacetone, the metabolites of amphetamine. Methamphetamine and amphetamine are quite similar.
Administration Methods of Meth
Crystal meth abuse can involve both smoking, injecting, ingesting or snorting the drug. Those who inject or smoke meth will enjoy a short and intense high. The drug easily enters the bloodstream and goes to the brain, where it begins to attach to receptors to create a euphoric effect. On the other hand, those who inject or snort meth will get a longer high that lasts about half a day. It takes time for the meth to be metabolized and absorbed. It also takes time for the meth to travel to the brain.
Factors that Influence How Quickly Meth Is Broken Down
A half-life of 10 hours only applies to a healthy body. This is the standard time it takes to break down this addictive substance; however, the actual metabolic rate in each person will differ. There are many factors in the body that can influence how quickly meth is broken down. Some of these factors include:
- The amount of meth that was taken
- The length of the drug use
- The doses of meth taken
- Each drug abuser’s genetic and biological makeup
- Whether other substances, like alcohol, were being used at the same time; this is also known as polydrug use
- The method of administration, which includes whether the patient injected or snorted meth
- The drug abuser’s health and physical condition
Depending on these factors, the meth may remain in some people’s system for a much longer period of time. There’s really no telling how much of the meth is broken down until doctors perform a drug test. When weaning off of the drug, doctors at the rehab center will continuously monitor each patient’s progress. They will also monitor each patient’s vital to confirm that they’re on the right track.
Drug Tests for Meth
Although meth is usually broken down by the body and cleared from the system within a day, its metabolites will linger around. Drug tests look for these metabolites. Since these metabolites will usually hang around for quite some time, methamphetamine drug tests can provide some valuable insight towards this addiction.
There are many different types of tests used to detect meth. These tests are effective whether the abusers have been smoking or injecting the drug. The different types of tests available include blood testing, urine testing, saliva testing and hair testing.
Blood tests tend to be the most accurate because crystal meth can enter the bloodstream right away and reach the brain. Blood tests will usually show a positive result as long as the meth was taken only 72 hours after the last dose.
The rate of excretion will vary depending on the method of administration. 30% to 54% of an oral dose is excreted in urine as unchanged meth while 10% to 23% is excreted as amphetamine. On the other hand, 45% of an intravenous dose is excreted as methamphetamine and 7% as amphetamine.
Urine tests, on the other hand, can detect meth for an even longer period of time. These tests are not invasive at all, and they are easy to perform. Meth use will show in the first 4 to 6 hours and is detectable up to 4 to 6 days. Urinal drug tests are incredibly popular because they are non-invasive, effective and cheap. They’re easy to get and easy to find. Some people even purchase these drug tests for loved ones.
For the most insight on the length of the drug abuse, try hair testing. A 1.5 inch sample is taken from as close to the root as possible. Hair testing will determine not only when meth was used, but also the amount of meth used. It can also test for polydrug use, so it can determine whether the meth was mixed with any other drugs. Mixing meth with other drugs can be incredibly dangerous.
The detection period for various drugs will vary. The length of time that crystal meth is detectable in your system will also depend on many other factors. While there’s a way, there will be some discrepancies in the results.
Signs of an Addiction to Meth
Meth is an incredibly addictive and dangerous drug. Those who try meth several times can easily get hooked. Once dependence and tolerance to the drug has been developed, it’s difficult to wean off of it. In fact, many addicts will stay addicted for years. They’re also likely to relapse. Those who abuse drugs should look out for these signs and symptoms of meth addiction:
- Intense and constant cravings; many drug addicts have difficulties focusing on anything else
- Feel anxious and stressed; these symptoms usually kick in when coming off of the drug
- Experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit; most addicts will try to stop their methamphetamine use at some point in time in their life, but fail
- Have difficulties controlling their behavior; addicts are also much more likely to engage in risky or dangerous behavior
- Exhibit symptoms of paranoia
- Pick at one’s own skin to the point where there are open wounds; some addicts will even pull out their own hair
- Experience sudden and severe depression; this side effect is from the lack of dopamine in the brain
- Become overly talkative due to the stimulating nature of the drug
If any of these symptoms seem like they may apply to either you or a loved one, it’s time to get help. Your meth addiction is not going to get better on its own. It’s also incredibly difficult to wean off of the drug without any professional help. Most experts would not advise drug abusers to stop using meth on their own, as this can be dangerous. It can lead to serious and severe side effect. Those who are seeking addiction treatment will find various treatment options at recovery centers near them. Look at all of the options available before making a decision.
Rely on Addiction Treatment Programs to Get and Stay Sober
If you’re addicted to meth, it’s never too late to quit. The longer that you abuse meth, the more the drug will damage your body. Meth addicts often have physical scarring from the drug abuse. They may also be susceptible to certain side effects. For example, they may pick at their own skin until they bleed.
New England Recovery and Wellness offers a wide range of rehab programs for drug abusers. Our staff can spot the signs and symptoms of a meth addiction and direct addicts to the right resources. We recognize that meth is a difficult habit to kick. Our treatment plans and programs will keep your mind busy, so you don’t focus on the cravings. Get more information by contacting one of our addiction specialists today.