How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Methamphetamine, often referred to as “meth,” is an illegal highly addictive stimulant drug.1 It is made from ingredients in common cold medications, like pseudoephedrine, along with other toxic chemicals, including acetone, anhydrous ammonia (fertilizer), and lithium.2  Meth comes in many forms: a white, odorless powder; a glass-like crystal form; or pressed into a pill.1

While each person’s physiological makeup is different, meth may be detectable in a person’s system for 2–3 days after use, and possibly longer for chronic users.3

If you are concerned about someone you think might be experimenting with or addicted to meth, this page will provide answers to some of your questions and resources about where to turn for help.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Urine?

Image of two people sitting at a desk, one is handing the other a cup for a urine test.The body can generally eliminate about half a dose of meth in the urine within 12 hours. In comparison, the body can eliminate about half a dose of cocaine within 1 hour, meaning that cocaine has a much faster rate of elimination from the body than meth.4 However, these numbers and time frames can vary depending on a number of factors. Traces of meth may stay in a person’s urine for approximately 2–3 days after use.3

Common testing methods for meth include:5

  • Oral fluid (saliva).
  • Plasma (blood).
  • Urine.

Some studies show that urine tests pick up a higher concentration of meth for up to 3 days, while saliva tests only show moderate concentration within the first 24 hours of use.5

If you’re worried about passing a drug test, you may need to consider whether your drug use is problematic enough to warrant professional recovery treatment.

Factors That Influence How Long Meth Stays in Your System

While there are various factors that can influence how long meth stays in your system, the only way to ensure a negative drug test is to abstain from using meth and other substances.

Factors that may impact meth’s concentration levels and effects include:3, 4

  • Route of administration (how it’s taken).
  • Frequency and duration of use.
  • Dosage.
  • Purity of the drug.
  • Metabolism.

The variables above make it exceedingly difficult to gauge exactly how long meth will stay in a person’s system.

Getting Help for Methamphetamine Use

Seeking treatment for meth addiction can help a person find hope and recovery.

After a person stops use, they may experience physical symptoms of withdrawal, such as extreme fatigue, sleep disturbances, and increased appetite.7 While these symptoms can be less severe than those caused by withdrawal from other substances, the psychological symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal, such as agitation, psychosis, and anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure), may be more intense and can last for several weeks or months.7, 8

Since meth is a stimulant, many people use alcohol, sedatives, or opioids to combat some of the jitters or other symptoms associated with “coming down” from a meth high. This can complicate the detoxification process because people may be suffering withdrawal symptoms of multiple drugs simultaneously.8

Of particular concern are the negative thoughts and depression associated with detoxing from meth. These can potentially lead to actions of self-harm, and as a result, patients should be closely monitored for risk of suicide and/or relapse, and detox in a professional setting under medical supervision.8

Detox is the very first step on the road to lasting sobriety.9 After detoxification, formal treatment is recommended, with holistic approaches that aim to target the underlying thoughts, behaviors, triggers, and patterns associated with meth use. Because of meth’s potentially devastating effects on the mind, it is important for people who stop using the drug to be assessed for co-occurring disorders.8 There are no FDA-approved medications to treat methamphetamine addiction, and behavioral therapy is currently the most effective treatment for methamphetamine addiction.1

Leading-edge, evidence-based facilities like Oxford Treatment Center in Etta, Mississippi, offer a full continuum of care and tailor each person’s course of treatment to their individual needs. They also usually have flexible payment options to help defray the costs and ensure quality treatment is available to anyone who wants it.

To get started, fill out the form below to find out what your health insurance may cover. Knowing your options and what to expect are key pieces of the treatment puzzle.

The consequences of drug addiction can be dire, but it is possible to heal. We are here to help you take the first step and every other step along the way.

Fill out the form below to learn more.

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