How Long Do Opioids Stay In Your Hair?

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 5, 2021

Opioids are powerful pain relievers that can become addictive with chronic use or misuse. Opioid use can be detected through a hair drug test for up to three months on average.

Detecting Opioids Through Hair Tests

Opioid drugs, also known as opiates, can be detected in the urine, saliva, blood, and hair through a drug test.

Hair drug tests can detect the use of drugs like opioids for a longer amount of time than any other type of drug test.

Learn more about detecting opioids through various drug tests

How Long Can Opioids Be Detected In Hair?

Opioids can generally be detected by a hair drug test for up to three months, or 90 days, after a person’s last use. However, a hair test may not depict a positive test result directly after use.

Due to how hair is collected for a hair drug test, it may take five to 10 days for opioid use to be detected in the hair.

What Types Of Opioids Can Be Detected In Hair?

Hair drug tests can detect the use of various opioid drugs, including both prescription and illicit opioids.

Common opioid drugs include:

Heroin, an illicit opioid, can also be detected in the hair for up to 90 days on average. Some drug screens may show a positive result for morphine or codeine among those who use heroin.

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What Factors Can Affect Opioid Detection In Hair?

Three months is the standard timeline for how long various drugs—including but not limited to opioids—will remain detectable in a sample of hair.

However, some personal and biological factors may affect this average timeline, particularly for people with a history of chronic opioid use or opioid addiction.

Factors that can affect opioid detection times in hair:

  • duration of opioid use
  • metabolism
  • dose taken (e.g. quantity of opioids used)
  • amount of melanin in hair

The use of styling products will not affect how long a drug remains detectable in a person’s hair.

Hair samples taken for a drug test are generally collected from the head, or from another area of the body if a person has no hair to be collected from the head.

Why Hair Drug Tests Are Used

Hair drug tests can be used to detect a 90-day history of repetitive drug use. They are generally used less often than urine tests, which can be ordered by a judge, employer, or doctor.

Why hair drug tests may be used:

  • random testing
  • detecting patterns of long-term use
  • pre-employment screening
  • workplace drug testing

Hair testing is less suitable for post-accident drug testing or reasonable suspicion testing. For these purposes, oral fluid and blood tests are preferred methods.

Find Opioid Detox And Addiction Treatment Today

If you or a loved one is concerned about testing positive for opioid use, you’re not alone. We can help you find an opioid addiction treatment program that’s right for you.

Recovering from opioid addiction isn’t easy, but it is possible with treatment. Call our helpline to find an opioid addiction treatment program today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on July 5, 2021
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