Speak to an Addiction Specialist

(425) 629-0433

  Call 24/7 For Help

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in Your System?

Oxycodone is a drug that is often used to treat pain. This drug goes by a number of different names. It is often called Oxy, or OxyContin. Either way, it is a powerful drug that is also highly addictive.

You may be suffering from an addiction yourself. If you are, you may be wondering how long it will take for Oxy to leave your body before you start to feel better. You also may be worried about withdrawal symptoms as the drug leaves your body.

It's important for you to get an answer to this question as you think about your recovery goals.

Do You Have Questions About Addiction? Call Our Recovery Experts Now.

What is Oxycodone?

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a prescription medication given as a pain reliever.

It’s an opiate like morphine and is known as a narcotic. It can be given as an extended release medication, which means it continues to work for pain relief for up to 24 hours. It may be prescribed by a doctor to someone who has just had surgery and needs pain management while they recover. This medication may also be found in immediate release medication, which means it acts quicker but doesn’t last as long.

Some drugs are made up only of Oxycodone as the active ingredient such as with the popular medication OxyContin. It may also be combined with acetaminophen, which is what you get with drugs like Percocet. Oxycodone is mixed with aspirin in Percodan. The chances of abuse and addiction are higher when the drug is used by itself, but medications like Percocet and Percodan are also addictive.

Understanding Abuse of Oxycodone

Even people who take their prescription as directed may become addicted to Oxycodone if they are on it for too long. However, many of the cases of drug abuse happen because the person increased their dosage without a doctor’s prescription.

The body adjusts to the presence of Oxycodone in the system over time. It develops a tolerance for the drug, which makes it less effective at blocking pain. The person may decide to increase the dosage on their own, which helps for a while. Then, the system becomes tolerant once again, and they must continue to increase the dose or the frequency of use to get results.

In some cases, the person doesn’t even have their own prescription. A family member or friend may share a pill when they complain of pain. It helps so they try to access the drug on their own.

Teens and college students often abuse Oxycodone because they hear how good it makes them feel. They may like the idea of experimenting with a drug that doesn’t require injection or snorting. They think it’s safe because it’s a prescription medication. It helps them relax in a crowd or provides a feeling of happiness and excitement at a party so they can have a good time.

When someone abuses this drug, it provides feelings of euphoria and helps to reduce anxiety. The person likes the results, so they are more likely to try it again in the future.

It is often crushed and mixed with a liquid so it can be injected directly into a vein for fast action. When the pills are chewed, they also act faster than with swallowing.

A common occurrence with Oxycodone abuse is doctor shopping. This happens when a person goes to a second doctor for another prescription. They will continue to go to new doctors and complain of severe pain to get extra prescriptions for the drug.

How Can You Identify Abuse?

People who abuse prescription drugs are often adept at hiding it. They feel good because it has reduced their pain and provides euphoria. However, this drug can also have some undesirable side effects, especially when they’re abusing the drug, including the following:

  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sleepiness
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty breathing or slowed breathing

You can also overdose on the medication. You may not realize how dangerous it is to take more pills than the prescribed amount. If a loved one exhibits the following symptoms, you need to get them immediate medical help for a possible overdose:

  • Extreme sluggishness or difficulty in waking the person
  • Lack of response to painful stimuli
  • Constricted pupils with no response to light
  • Blue tinge to the lips or mouth and fingernails
  • Respiratory arrest

When a person has become addicted to one of the forms of Oxycodone, they will show certain signs. Many of these signs will be the same as for other addictions. For instance, they will focus on getting more of the drug, even resorting to stealing another person’s prescription. Their thoughts will be preoccupied with getting the drug even when they aren’t currently using.

At some point, the person may need to look for the drug on the street to support their addiction. Dealers sell Oxycodone along with illicit substances. People with prescriptions often sell it to make money, which gives dealers easy access. It won’t be called by the prescription name out on the street, but you can recognize it from it’s list of street names:

  • OC
  • Oxy
  • OX
  • Hillbilly heroin
  • Kicker
  • Cotton
What Factors Dictate How Long OxyContin Stays in the System?

How Long Will Oxy Stay in Your System?

Oxycodone is a powerful drug with a fairly short half-life, compared to other drugs. Some say that its half-life is about 3.5 hours. Others say that it's closer to 5.5 hours. What this means is that the drug will be out of the system in around 20 hours, on average.

A drug's half-life means that it takes that long for half of the drug to leave the body. 20 hours may not seem like a very long time. However, stopping the use of OxyContin abruptly can make those hours seem very long.

It's important to know what might influence how long the drug will stay in your system. There could be several factors you should be aware of.

You may find that the method you use to administer it will play a role. If you simply swallow pills, it might take longer for your body to break the drug down. If you crush the pills, your body may eliminate it more quickly. Injecting has the fastest response, but it also leaves your body quicker.

Also, certain personal factors play a role as well. Your genetics, your height and weight, and your own metabolism will dictate the speed of elimination.

As you can tell, this is a very personal process that's likely to be different for everyone. Regardless of how long it takes to get rid of Oxycodone, you may feel the effects for weeks afterwards.

Testing for Oxy

Oxycodone will show up in a blood test within about 15 to 30 minutes. This is very quick. However, it indicates just how fast this drug enters the bloodstream. Once it is detected, it will stay in the bloodstream for as long as a day.

Oxycodone can be detected in a urine test fairly quickly as well. Some tests may show a positive result within minutes after the last dose. Others may take as long as two hours. This type of test is often used by employers hiring new candidates or for random drug testing of current employees.

Your urine will continue to test positive for up to 4 days after your last dose. Urine tests are used the most frequently to test for drugs. They are very reliable and easy to use.

Saliva tests are not as popular as urine for drug testing. However, there are times when a saliva test is acceptable and they are becoming more popular as technology has made them more reliable.

Oxycodone will show up in saliva in as soon as 15 minutes. It will stay detectable for as long as 4 days, which is similar to a urine test.

It can take up to a week or even longer before drugs are detectable through a hair test. Once a positive test result has been seen, it can stay positive for as long as 90 days. This method of testing is most often used to detect long-term drug use or if there are suspicions that a urine test isn’t accurate.

When Abuse Becomes Addiction

Because Oxycodone is a highly addictive drug, continued abuse will often lead to an addiction. It’s important to understand what addiction looks like if you or someone you love is abusing this drug.

You may have started using the drug as a prescribed medication. When the doctor wants to reduce the dosage, you resist. As soon as it’s out of your system, you want more. If your system has become used to the presence of the drug, it may panic when it’s gone.

You don’t feel good until you get another dose. You may feel anxious, depressed, sick to your stomach or just not well. Once you take another pill, you’re back to your happy self.

When you’re addicted, you start to focus on the drug more and more. You will do just about anything to get it, even stealing if you run out of money. You can get in financial and legal trouble because of the addiction. However, a lot of people are functional even when they are addicted to a prescription medication. They may be able to go to work, take care of other responsibilities and not show signs of addiction.

Danger of Overdose

Because Oxycodone seems like such a safe drug as a prescription medication, many people are unaware of its dangers. In fact, more people overdose on prescription drugs than with all others combined. You should be able to identify signs of an overdose to get medical attention right away. This drug works like other opiates and slows down your system. You’ll feel more lethargic even though you’ll experience euphoria from the drug.


Your breathing and heart rate will also slow down. When you overdose, these symptoms are even more pronounced and dangerously low. Your breathing may become irregular and you may seem confused or excessively sleepy. Other symptoms include:

  • Constricted pupils
  • Shaking
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Delusions
  • Severe stomach pain

If not treated, overdose can lead to death. It often only takes a little more than what you’ve been taking to be dangerous. Regardless of whether you’re using OxyContin or a mix like Percocet, overdose is a serious matter and the symptoms are similar.

Mixing Oxycodone with Other Substances

One of the main issues with any drug addiction is the fact that people often abuse multiple substances. A person abusing Oxycodone might take it with alcohol or another opiate. It’s often used with drugs like meth or heroin to help the person come down from a high and avoid the unpleasant side effects.

In some situations, the person may abuse Oxycodone until they’re no longer able to get it. Because they desperately need a fix, they search for any drug that will help. It’s common for them to move on to heroin if they can’t get a prescription for their Oxy.

While you can find this drug on the street, it often carries a high price tag. If the person can no longer afford the drug, they may turn to heroin which is often more affordable. The risk for overdose goes up when you’re using multiple drugs because you may not be able to know when you’ve taken too much.

Drinking alcohol when taking this drug also leads to certain risks you may not be aware of. You may experience lightheadedness, dizziness, drowsiness, low blood pressure, respiratory problems, fainting and even a coma. Death may result if prompt medical attention isn’t received.

Driving and operating machinery when you’re taking this medication can be dangerous. When you add in alcohol or other substances, your risks are even greater.

Oxycodone Rehab and Detox

Detox and Rehab Offers Hope for Addictions

At this point, you may be fairly certain that you do have a drug addiction. If you do, getting the proper treatment is essential to your recovery.

You shouldn’t stop taking this drug abruptly. Anyone with this addiction should go through a period of drug detox first.

Drug detox helps your body eliminate it as quickly as possible. It can also help you with your withdrawal symptoms during the early stages of recovery. After that, you will want to go to a drug rehab. An IOP program might be the perfect fit for you.

It's important that you know how long it takes this drug to leave your body. Now that you do, you can choose to recover wisely.

You may think about trying to detox at home. However, this isn’t a good idea because your withdrawal symptoms could become to severe for you to handle. You might end up relapsing. The other danger is experiencing a medical emergency. In a detox center, you have medical staff monitoring your condition 24 hours a day to ensure you’re safe until you complete the process.

You have two main methods of detoxing to choose from. Medical detox is one option which allows you to go through the process slowly and with fewer withdrawal symptoms. You may be prescribed a medication which will reduce those symptoms and help your body adjust to the changes slowly.

While medical detox has a lot of benefits and it can make the process a lot less frightening, it also carries some risks. You may end up with a secondary addiction because the drugs often used in medical detox are somewhat addictive. It also slows the process down so it takes longer to get through treatment.

The second method is holistic detox. No medications are used, while a focus on nutrition and fitness is what helps the person get rid of the toxins in the body. Getting the proper nutrients enables the system to better fight the withdrawal symptoms on its own. Exercise is also an important part of the process because endorphins are released during a workout. These endorphins are known as feel-good hormones, and they create euphoric feelings similar to what the drug produced. It helps reduce cravings which can eliminate some of the withdrawal symptoms.

The type of detox program you need will be determined by the doctor based on your situation. They will review your medical history and your addiction to decide what method will provide the best results.

Many people believe they can just stop taking Oxycodone at home and get through the detox process with the support of family or even by themselves. While this may be the case if you just started abusing the drug, it’s not a good idea for most addicts.

You must take the withdrawal symptoms you will experience seriously. They can have severe consequences, especially if you have any other medical issues. You’re also more likely to relapse and start using the drug again when they symptoms become uncomfortable.

When someone relapses, they must start the process all over. It is often harder for them, and they feel like a failure so they give up. It’s much better to find a drug detox facility where you have the knowledge and support of medical staff to help you get through the process. They can also get the help you need quickly in a medical emergency.

Do You Need Drug Rehab?

Detox is just the first step in your treatment process. You still need to go through rehab. You may wonder why this is necessary when it was “just a prescription medication.” However, you need to understand the reasons behind your addiction and to get the tools you need to avoid future relapse.

Addiction isn’t a curable condition. However, it needs to be treated and managed just like any other non-curable medical disease. With rehab, you can be on the path to recovery for the long-term.

You will find several different options for drug treatment. You can pick the one that fits your needs and your life.

Outpatient rehab may be the best option for those who have a mild addiction or just recently started abusing the drug. You would attend therapy a few hours each week until you complete the treatment plan. This method works for those who have a job or family to care for and who have a support system at home.

You may choose inpatient rehab if you’ve been an addict for some time or were a heavy user. If you don’t have family to support you, inpatient care may be best. With this option, you stay at a facility for several days or a few weeks, usually up to 30 days. You will receive therapy along with room and board.

Residential treatment is best for those who have a long-term addiction or those who have been addicted to multiple drugs. It’s similar to inpatient treatment but lasts for several weeks or months. Anyone who has been through treatment before and relapsed may want to consider this option.

You may need more than outpatient rehab but still want to be at home at night. You can choose intensive outpatient treatment which provides a combination of outpatient and inpatient care. You are in treatment all day and then allowed to go home at night. With some IOP options, you may attend for several hours and then go to work or to school. The flexibility is one reason the programs are popular with many recovering addicts.

You will spend much of your time in therapy while you’re in rehab. This is the key component to drug addiction treatment. A therapist will give you an assessment when you arrive to develop a treatment plan.

You will likely attend both individual counseling and group therapy. With individual counseling, you meet with a therapist and discuss your addiction. During these sessions, you’ll learn what led to your addiction and what triggers cause you to want to use. This is important information because those triggers won’t go away. You’ll have to learn to deal with them or avoid them. Therapy prepares you to deal with the real world without the use of drugs.

Group therapy is another important part of treatment. You will meet with other addicts who are learning to deal with their addiction. You’ll support each other and provide advice or information that may help others in their journey. Most importantly, you’ll develop friendships with people who understand what you’re going through.

Your need for medication will be assessed while you’re in rehab. If you were taking Oxycodone for pain relief, a new medication may be prescribed. If you suffer from a mental health disorder, which often leads to drug abuse, you may need to take a medication as part of your treatment plan. While a holistic approach is often preferred when it comes to drug addiction, there are times when medication is necessary as part of treatment.

During your treatment, many rehab centers focus on health and wellness. They often provide a nutritionist to ensure you’re getting healthy meals to replenish any nutrients that were lost due to drug use. Eating right and exercising helps you feel better physically and mentally. You may be given an exercise routine which will help you feel more positive about yourself and also assist you in dealing with stress in the future instead of turning to drugs.

Many facilities offer alternative therapies to aid in the treatment. Some people don’t respond to traditional therapy or they may reach a roadblock in treatment. Alternative treatments allow the therapist to learn new information about the person as well. You have numerous options in this area, and not all of them are offered at every center.

You may be interested in music or art therapy. You may find gardening or caring for animals to be therapeutic. Journaling is another option which helps you learn how to deal with emotions instead of using drugs. Yoga is another popular alternative treatment as you find ways to manage stress in a positive way through deep breathing and exercises. Meditation is often helpful to keep people calm when they deal with cravings or stress triggers.

Family therapy is another part of treatment for some addicts. They may have broken relationships they want to mend or family members may want to learn how to support their recovering addict loved one. Sometimes, family issues may have led to the addiction, and these problems need to be dealt with. When these issues have been resolved, it helps the addict maintain recovery.

When looking for a rehab center, you want to consider the types of programs offered. The more variety you discover, the better for your treatment. No single treatment plan will work for everyone, and it’s best to have multiple options to help treat your addiction for the best chance at success.

Evergreen Addiction Rehab

Choosing Your Drug Addiction Rehab Center

Here at Northpoint Recovery at Evergreen, we understand that facing drug addiction and getting help isn’t an easy task. We want you to be successful with your journey to recovery, which is why we offer a modern facility and a caring staff.

We are an outpatient rehab center that offers numerous therapy programs to help you reach your goals. The treatment plans are tailored to your specific needs through a holistic approach. When you choose our drug rehab center, you can continue your life while getting the help you need. You may live at home and go to work while you get the best treatment. For those with a more severe addiction, we offer an intensive outpatient program.

Talk to a Rehab Specialist

Our admissions coordinators are here to help you get started with treatment the right way. They'll verify your health insurance, help set up travel arrangements, and make sure your transition into treatment is smooth and hassle-free.

(425) 629-0433 Contact Us

Full Infographic:

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in your System?