Oxycodone is a prescription opioid pain reliever that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. While this oxycodone is highly effective in treating pain, it is also known to be addictive. Oxycodone is one of the main players in the opioid epidemic that has claimed many lives of Americans over the past decade.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioids like oxycodone were responsible for 80,411 overdose deaths in 2021.
Whether you are taking oxycodone as prescribed or abusing the drug, you might find yourself wondering how long it stays in your system. The amount of time this substance remains in your body depends on a variety of factors, including how long you have used it and the dose you take.
How Long Do the Effects of Oxycodone Last?
How long the effects of oxycodone last depend on how you abuse the drug. While swallowing the pill is the only way you are intended to use oxycodone, some people may inject or snort it to experience a more intense high.
The common effects of oxycodone include:
- Pain relief
- Cough suppression
- A rush of euphoria
- Small, pinpointed pupils
- Respiratory depression
If you are swallowing an oxycodone pill, an immediate-release tablet will begin working within 10 to 30 minutes of ingesting it. The effects may last somewhere between 3 to 6 hours.
If you snort an oxycodone pill, the effects will begin more quickly because it reaches your bloodstream faster. You might experience effects within minutes.
People who inject oxycodone will also experience the effects within minutes. However, this increases the potency of the substance substantially, making it extremely dangerous and posing a risk of a life-threatening overdose.
How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?
The immediate-release version of oxycodone has a half-life of about 3 hours, meaning approximately half of the substance will be eliminated from your system in 3 hours. It takes approximately 4 to 5 half-lives for a drug to be completely removed from your system, which means it can take between 12 to 15 hours for oxycodone to leave your body.
However, every substance leaves behind metabolites. These metabolites are what drug tests look for to determine whether you have been abusing a specific substance. For oxycodone, drug tests look for the metabolites noroxycodone and oxymorphone.
The amount of time a drug test can detect how long oxycodone remains in your system varies depending on a variety of factors, including:
- Your overall health
- Age and weight
- Rate of metabolism
- How long you have been using oxycodone
- The dose of oxycodone you typically take
- How frequently you use oxycodone
- Whether you were abusing other substances
Additionally, how long a drug test can detect oxycodone in your body depends on the type of drug test being used.
Urine tests are the most common type of drug test used for a variety of substances, including oxycodone. Typically, urine tests will detect oxycodone in your system for 2 to 4 days after your last dose.
Saliva tests are less reliable than urine tests, as they look for metabolites left over in your mouth. These tests can detect oxycodone in your system for 1 to 2 days after you last abused the drug.
Blood tests have an even shorter detection time than saliva when it comes to finding oxycodone in your system. These tests can only detect oxycodone for up to 24 hours after you last consumed the substance.
Hair follicle tests are the most reliable drug tests out there. However, they are not used as commonly because they tend to cost a lot of money. With that being said, hair follicle drug tests can detect oxycodone in your system for up to 90 days after your last dose.
Find Help for Oxycodone Abuse and Addiction
If you or a loved one frequently abuse oxycodone, you might be suffering from an opioid use disorder. This condition can be incredibly difficult to recover from, requiring extensive professional treatment. Thankfully, opioid rehab centers can provide you with the tools and support you need to successfully overcome an addiction to oxycodone.
Treatment begins with detox. Opioid detox centers can prescribe medications to alleviate your withdrawal symptoms and monitor your symptoms to ensure your safety. After you’re done detoxing, you can transition to a treatment program for behavioral and psychiatric care.
To get connected with an oxycodone addiction treatment program that suits your specific needs, contact New Jersey Addiction Interventions today. We can help you take the first step toward recovery.
- The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA): Drug Overdose Death Rates, Retrieved June 2023 From https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Oxycodone, Retrieved June 2023 From https://www.dea.gov/factsheets/oxycodone
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA): Oxycontin HCI Label, Retrieved June 2023 From https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2008/020553s059lbl.pdf
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH): A Practical Guide to Urine Drug Monitoring, Retrieved June 2023 From https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6368048/
Medically Reviewed: June 16, 2023
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.