How Long Does Demerol Stay In Your Hair?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on March 15, 2021

Demerol is a prescription opioid that can be detected in urine drug screens, blood tests, oral fluid tests, and hair follicles. People who abuse or are addicted to Demerol may have traces of it left in hair for longer than the average person.

How Long Can Demerol Be Detected In Your Hair?

Hair testing is a type of drug testing method that is capable of detecting a pattern of chronic or repeated drug use. It has the longest detection window of any type of drug test.

Demerol, a brand name for meperidine, can be detected in hair follicles for up to 90 days, or three months, on average. This is similar to the timeframe for other commonly used drugs.

What Is Demerol?

Demerol is a prescription pain reliever that belongs to a class of depressant medications known as opiate analgesics. It is chemically similar to opioids like fentanyl, methadone, and tramadol.

When taken, it binds to opioid receptors located in the central nervous system, which are involved in regulating physical movement, hormones, mood, and pain sensation.

When used, Demerol can cause:

  • drowsiness
  • euphoria
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • dry mouth

Demerol is prescribed for severe and chronic pain management. With chronic use, Demerol can be habit-forming and may lead to drug tolerance, dependence, and addiction with misuse.

Demerol Detection Time In Hair

The amount of time Demerol can be detected in hair is about 90 days or three months. This is an average estimate and doesn’t take into account factors that can influence drug detection times.

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Factors that can affect the timeframe for drug detection include:

  • use of other drugs (e.g. benzodiazepines, amphetamines, MDMA)
  • frequency of use
  • dose taken
  • metabolic rate
  • hydration
  • kidney and liver function

What To Know About Hair Drug Tests

First of all, styling, washing, or dying your hair won’t affect whether or not Demerol can be detected in a hair test.

Second, you can still test positive for Demerol use even after its short-term side effects have worn off.

Hair screenings can be performed in a clinical setting, such as a laboratory, or at home using a hair test kit bought online.

Either way, getting a result will require submitting a sample of hair from either the scalp or another area of the body, such as the armpit.

A negative test result can be available in as little as 24 hours after the sample is received. Confirming a positive test result can take up to 72 hours.

Why Are Hair Drug Tests Used?

Drug testing can be ordered by a healthcare provider, employer, or legal entity such as a judge either for routine testing or due to suspicion of drug misuse.

Signs of Demerol misuse can include:

  • running out of prescriptions early
  • changes in heart rate, blood pressure, or breathing
  • psychological addiction to Demerol
  • taking Demerol in ways other than prescribed
  • taking Demerol with illicit drugs (e.g. heroin, cocaine)
  • overdosing on Demerol

Although hair testing isn’t the most common method, it can be useful for detecting repeated patterns of drug use due to its long detection window.

Getting Treatment For Demerol Abuse And Addiction

One of the reasons people search for drug detection times is because they’re concerned about having their drug use found out. This can sometimes be a sign of drug abuse.

People who abuse Demerol may have trouble getting off of it due to physical dependence. Physical dependence on Demerol can cause withdrawal symptoms that are challenging to manage alone.

If you or someone you know is misusing Demerol, treatment is available. Demerol abuse is treatable through detox, medications for opioid use disorder, and behavioral therapy.

Millions of people abuse prescription medications like Demerol each year and struggle with addiction. If this is you, you’re not alone.

To find a detox program and substance abuse treatment near you, call our helpline to speak to an AddictionResource specialist today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on March 15, 2021
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