How Long Does Morphine Stay In Your Hair?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on April 30, 2021

Hair samples can contain traces of opioid drugs like morphine for up to 90 days after your last dose. As an average estimate, this detection window may be affected by various factors, including drug dose and drug dependence.

How Long Can Morphine Be Detected In Your Hair?

Morphine can be detected in hair for months after your last dose. On average, this detection window is about 90 days, or three months.

Hair testing methods can be used to detect repetitive patterns of drug use. This can include the use of prescription opioids like morphine, which is used to treat moderate to severe pain.

Morphine is prescribed under the following brand names:

  • Arymo ER (extended release)
  • Kadian
  • Morphabond
  • MS Contin

Morphine Detection Time In Hair Follicles

Of all drug testing methods, hair tests can detect substance use for the longest period of time. On average, morphine can be detected in the hair for up to 90 days after last use.

Factors that can affect the morphine detection time-frame include:

  • dose taken
  • formulation
  • frequency of use
  • use of multiple drugs
  • metabolic rate
  • kidney and liver function
  • morphine abuse and dependence

Hair drug tests require a sample of about 120 strands of hair from either the head or another area of the body. This can be collected in a clinical setting or using an at-home hair testing kit.

Testing Positive For Morphine After Using Heroin

People can also test positive for morphine after using heroin, an illicit opioid. This is because heroin is derived from morphine, although heroin is about twice as potent.

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Heroin use can produce positive test results for both morphine and codeine. Specialized cutoffs may be used to determine whether a result indicates heroin use, or morphine/codeine use.

Why Are Hair Tests For Morphine Used?

Drug testing can be performed at the request of a healthcare provider, employer, or legal entity such as a judge.

Opioid analgesics, such as morphine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone have a high potential for abuse and addiction.

When taken, morphine binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. These receptors are involved in the regulation of mood, pain sensation, hormones, and physical movement.

Although prescribed for pain relief, morphine can also produce euphoric side effects in high doses or when misused. Chronic use can also lead to higher tolerance and drug dependence.

Getting Morphine Out Of Your System

The only way to get a negative test result for morphine use is to stop taking it and allow it to leave the system naturally.

If you’ve become dependent on morphine, do not stop taking it all at once. This can lead to an adverse reaction known as withdrawal.

Morphine withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable and difficult to manage alone.

The safest way to stop using morphine after taking it for a long time is to seek medical support through a clinician or medical detox program.

Treatment For Morphine Addiction

Drug testing may be ordered for people who are suspected of drug abuse or addiction. If you are addicted to morphine and are unable to stop taking it alone, help is available.

Inpatient detox programs can offer:

  • medical support
  • treatment for withdrawal
  • recommendations for further substance abuse treatment

If you’ve been abusing morphine, a formal treatment program may be recommended.

This can offer medical care, behavioral healthcare, and medications used to treat opioid use disorders such as methadone and buprenorphine.

If you or a loved one needs help getting off morphine, we may be able to help. Call our helpline today to find a morphine detox program or additional addiction treatment options near you.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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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 April 30, 2021
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