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How Long Does Morphine Stay In Your System?

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

June 4, 2019

Morphine use can be detected by testing a person’s urine, saliva, or hair. The window for morphine detection can vary depending on the type of test, how long a person has been taking morphine, and other factors.

Morphine is an opiate drug that has sedating effects and can relieve moderate to severe pain. Like other opioids, morphine can also be highly-addictive and be abused for various purposes.

When taken, morphine is rapidly absorbed into the body. The half-life of morphine can range from 1.75 to 5 hours, depending on the dosage. This does not mean that all of the morphine has left your system in that time. The half-life of morphine refers to how long it takes for half of the drug to leave the body.

Several types of drug tests – including urine, saliva, and hair tests – are capable of detecting morphine use. Their detection times vary, and can also be influenced by factors such as the amount and frequency of a person’s drug use.

In most cases, people that are concerned about morphine showing up on a drug test are struggling with morphine abuse or addiction. If you are unable to stop taking morphine on your own, several treatment options are available to help a person overcome drug abuse.

Morphine Detection Time: Blood, Urine, Saliva, And Hair Test

Morphine is a fast-acting drug that can remain in a person’s system for a few days after use. A more accurate detection time will depend on the type of testing method. Drug tests can vary in their sensitivity and effectiveness in detecting morphine in the body.

The most common drug testing methods for morphine detection:

  • urine
  • saliva
  • blood
  • hair

Urine

Urine tests are some of the most common for detecting drugs in a person’s body. A positive test result for morphine in someone’s system can happen within two to six hours after use. Morphine can remain detectable in urine for up to three days.

The answer of how long does morphine stay in urine may also be influenced by other factors related to someone’s drug use. These factors are discussed in further detail in the next section.

Saliva

Saliva tests tend to be less reliable than urine tests and are therefore less common. The general time frame for morphine detection in saliva is between 24 and 36 hours.

Blood

Morphine can show up in a blood test for up to 12 hours after use. After this time, morphine may not show up in a positive drug test result. As this is also a more invasive form of drug testing, urine tests for morphine use are more common.

Hair

Hair tests have the longest detection time, capable of detecting morphine use for up to 90 days. This is done by analyzing a person’s hair follicles with specialized technology.

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Factors That Can Affect How Long Morphine Remains In Your System

The drug detection times listed for morphine are general estimates. Several personal and biological factors can have an influence on how long traces of morphine remain in the body.

People that abuse morphine and become dependent on the drug may have traces of morphine remain their body longer. The chance for this increases with long-term abuse and addiction.

Other factors that can affect how long morphine remains in someone’s system:

  • Age: With the exception of children, younger people can typically metabolize drugs faster than the elderly. For this reason, older adults are often prescribed smaller drug doses, as they can experience greater effects compared to young adults taking the same dose. This affects how long it takes for the drug to be eliminated from the body.
  • Metabolism: Age, as well as genetics and other health conditions, can impact drug metabolism. People with slower metabolism may process morphine slower than those with a faster metabolism. This can result in a longer detection time.
  • Body-Size: Doctors often take body-size (or body mass index) into account when prescribing drug dosages. People in smaller bodies are more likely to feel the effects of a drug in smaller doses, similar to alcohol. This can affect how long a drug remains in a person’s system.
  • Liver & Kidney Function: Poor liver and kidney health can result in longer detection times, as they may be unable to process morphine as quickly as health organs. This can apply for people with genetic conditions, organ damage, or disease.
  • Duration and Frequency of Use: People that have taken morphine for a longer amount of time are likely to have longer detection times. Taking high or multiple doses of morphine on a regular basis can also extend the detection window.
  • History of Substance Abuse: Having a previous history of drug or alcohol abuse can affect how the body metabolizes drugs. Morphine detection can also be influenced by the presence of other drugs in a person’s system, in cases of polysubstance abuse.

Getting Help For Morphine Abuse And Addiction

Prescription opioids like morphine are some of the most commonly misused drugs in the United States. Misuse of morphine can be dangerous, and in severe cases lead to a fatal overdose.

People who abuse morphine can become dependent with chronic use. This can also happen to people that take morphine as prescribed for more than a few weeks. Morphine dependence can cause mild to severe withdrawal symptoms that are best treated through medical detox.

Many inpatient treatment programs specializing in opioid abuse and addiction offer medical detox services for people of all ages. Once a person has completed detox, inpatient programs commonly offer additional treatment services that can be effective for overcoming addiction. This can include various behavioral therapies and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

If you or someone you know is abusing morphine, don’t wait to seek help. Contact one of our treatment specialists today to learn more about morphine abuse treatment options.

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