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How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

The high that is experienced after injecting, smoking, or snorting crystal meth is described by users as powerful but fleeting, dissipating shortly after the drug first hits. Indeed, the effects (both the “high” and short-term side effects) of a single 35-milligram dose of crystal meth generally peak within 5 to 15 minutes and diminish over approximately 8 hours.1 This same dose is detectable in blood for up to 48 hours and would likely be detectable in urine for up to 87 hours.1

A typical usage pattern sees meth users attempting to re-experience that first, intense rush by repeating multiple doses a day in a period of binge lasting around 4 days. In controlled clinical experiments, where a single, low dose (10 mg) is repeated over 4 days, the drug may be detectable in urine for up to 7 days.1 The time meth can be detected in urine is dependent on how much and how often the person used and the functioning of their liver and kidneys.1

How Long Can Meth Be Detected in the Body?

Depending upon your usage pattern as well as your ability to metabolize the drug, the length of time that meth remains detectable in your system will vary. Approximate detection time ranges for blood, saliva, and urine tests are listed below.

  • Blood: Meth can be detected by a blood test within 1-2 hours following ingestion and for up to 1-3 days following the last dose.1,14
  • Saliva: Meth can be detected by a saliva test within 30 minutes to an hour after ingestion and for up to 3 days following the last dose.1,14
  • Urine: Meth can be detected in the urine approximately 2 to 5 hours post-ingestion and anywhere from 3 to 7 days following the last dose.1,14,15

What Factors Affect How Long Meth Can Be Detected in the Body?

  • How often you use meth.
  • The amount of meth you use.
  • Your dose at last use.
  • The functionality of your kidneys and liver.
  • Your age and overall health are factors as well.
  • The type of test used to detect the drug.
  • Other substances used may impact the way the liver processes meth. For example, regular, heavy alcohol use will slow down the liver’s ability to metabolize meth and other drugs.16

Metabolizing Meth

When an individual uses methamphetamine, the body immediately begins to absorb the drug into the bloodstream where it is circulated and distributed into the organs. There is a high uptake in the brain and lungs, as well as the kidneys and liver.17 The liver metabolizes the drug into two major metabolites, one of which is amphetamine.17 Urinary excretion of the metabolites occurs shortly thereafter.

It has been reported that up to 54% of a dose of meth can exit the body exactly as it came in; that is to say, it is not metabolized or processed at all, with the user experiencing no stimulant effects from that specific fraction of the drug.5,17

Effects and Health Risks of Meth

Immediate and short-term effects of methamphetamine abuse may include:5,6,7-13

  • Diarrhea.
  • Diminished appetite.
  • Disordered thinking.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Euphoria.
  • Excessive talking.
  • Increased energy.
  • Itching.
  • Mood changes.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Sweating.
  • Teeth grinding.

After stopping regular use of crystal meth, users will likely experience a withdrawal syndrome that includes some or all the following symptoms: poor concentration, insomnia, irritability, motor and cognitive impairments, and inability to feel pleasure.

What to Expect From a Meth Addiction Treatment Program

Comprehensive addiction treatment programs aim to help individuals build a strong foundation in recovery. They often use some combination of any of the below techniques throughout the recovery program:

  • An initial period of detox or medically managed withdrawal.
  • Group support.
  • Mental health treatment.
  • Psychotherapy.
  • Relapse prevention techniques.

Several factors influence addiction, so treatment should be tailored to an individual’s unique needs. Treatment may be provided in various settings. In an inpatient setting, you can live at a facility with around-the-clock care. In an outpatient setting, you can live at home and attend treatment during the day. Some treatment centers provide additional amenities such as luxury rehab facilities and executive rehab facilities.

Most insurance plans cover at least part of, if not all, meth addiction treatment. You can call the number on the back of your insurance card or check your insurance coverage online by filling out the form below.

Getting Help for Meth Addiction

If you are looking for additional information and resources on crystal meth, American Addiction Centers (AAC) can help. AAC is a leading provider of inpatient and outpatient rehab treatment and is committed to supporting those struggling with addiction on their journey to recovery. To speak to an admissions navigator, you can call us at 24/7.