How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

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If a friend or family member ask you how long does fentanyl stay in your system, this may suggest that they’ve been using this extremely dangerous drug. The more you learn about fentanyl abuse and addiction, the better prepared you will be to help your loved one get the care they need.

How Long Does Fentanyl Stay in Your System?

There are two general reasons why someone might ask the question, “How long does fentanyl stay in your system?”

One of these reasons is that they want to know how long a person will continue to feel the effects of the drug once they’ve taken it. The other reason is that they want to know how long fentanyl can be detected in a drug screen.

Let’s address the first reason first. How long will a person be affected by fentanyl?

  • Fentanyl has a half life of between three and seven hours. (A half-life is the amount of time it takes the amount of a substance in your system to be reduced by 50%.)
  • Usually, it takes four or five half-lives before a drug reaches a level where it no longer produces any detectable effects.
  • Using this calculation, we can estimate that someone who takes fentanyl may feel effects for 12-35 hours after they last used the drug. 
  • The strongest effects will begin to wear off within a few hours, but some lingering impact may be felt for anywhere from half a day to a day and a half.

Now let’s move on to the section reason for asking this question. How long will fentanyl show up on a drug test? 

For this answer, it’s important to remember that a drug screen that tests for fentanyl isn’t only looking for the actual drug itself. It may also detect metabolites, which are byproducts that your body produces as it processes and eliminates fentanyl from your body. 

(It can help to think of metabolites as fingerprints. Your fingerprints can prove that you were once in a certain place, even though you’re no longer there. Metabolites can prove that fentanyl had been present in a person’s system, even after it has been eliminated.)

Different types of drug screens can detect either fentanyl or fentanyl metabolites for varying lengths of time:

  • A blood test may find evidence of fentanyl use for about two days after a person’s last dose.
  • A urine test will usually identify fentanyl metabolites for up to three days.
  • A hair follicle test can prove that a person used fentanyl as long as 90 days after the last time they took the drug.

Some drug screens also test saliva, but these tests will rarely find evidence of fentanyl use, no matter how little time has passed since a person used the drug.

What Are the Signs of Fentanyl Addiction?

If you suspect that someone you know may have become addicted to fentanyl, keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Do they become agitated or irritated when they can’t use fentanyl?
  • Do they spend significant amounts of time seeking and using fentanyl?
  • Have they tried to buy or steal fentanyl that was prescribed to someone else?
  • Have they been missing work or school – or failing to meet other responsibilities – because of their fentanyl use?
  • Are they using fentanyl in ways that are especially dangerous, such as combining it with other drugs?
  • Have they continued to use fentanyl even after they’ve been directly harmed as a result of prior use (such as overdosing, losing their job, or being arrested)?
  • Do they need to use larger amounts of fentanyl to experience the effects that they used to achieve after using smaller doses?
  • Do they develop intense cravings, physical pain, and emotional distress if they try to quit using fentanyl or if they can’t acquire the drug?

Anyone who exhibits these types of signs should be evaluated by a doctor or another qualified professional immediately. Completing a thorough assessment and receiving an accurate diagnosis can be two important steps on the path toward treatment and recovery.

How Can You Help Someone Who Is Addicted to Fentanyl?

If someone that you care about has become addicted to fentanyl, it’s both normal and understandable to be worried about them and wonder if there’s anything you can do to help. 

Unless you’re a qualified addiction treatment provider, you can’t help your loved one end their fentanyl abuse – but there are a number of steps you can take to connect them with the care they need. Here are a few suggestions:

  • You can educate yourself about the effects of fentanyl and the disease of addiction. This can help you to better understand what your friend or family member is going through.
  • You can research treatment options for fentanyl addiction and find providers in your area that offer the services your loved one needs.
  • You can let your loved one know that you’re concerned about them, and you can share the information you’ve collected about treatment.
  • You can volunteer to provide transportation, arrange for childcare, accompany them to appointments, and offer whatever other tangible assistance they need to enter a program.

You can also consider seeing a therapist or counselor yourself. When someone that you care about struggles with addiction, you can be affected, too. Remember: You can’t provide maximum support to your loved one if you’re neglecting your own mental health needs.

Find Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction in Nashville

Nashville Treatment Solutions offers a detoxification program and multiple outpatient options to help adults whose lives have been disrupted by addictions to fentanyl and other opioids. 

At our addiction treatment center in Nashville, Tennessee, patients receive customized care and comprehensive support from a team of highly skilled professionals. We understand the devastation that addiction can inflict on a person’s life, and we’re committed to providing the focused services that can promote true healing and successful recovery.

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.