Speak to an Addiction Specialist

(425) 629-0433

  Call 24/7 For Help

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in the Body?

So many people ask the question, how long does Oxycodone stay in the body? Many of them are wondering because they need to pass a drug test. Others are addicted, and they are thinking about beginning the recovery process. Their main concern is how to get through withdrawal.

Oxycodone is a very addictive drug. Abusing it for very long can quickly and easily lead to an addiction. This is the trap that so many people in the United States fall into every year. It is also one of the reasons our country is battling the most serious opioid epidemic ever.

Getting the right answer to this question is important. It can lead to getting help for an addiction and no longer suffering a life of substance abuse.

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

What is Oxycodone?

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in the Body After the Last Dose?

In general, Oxycodone stays in the body for about 22.5 hours after the last dose. Of course, there are variations to this, and not everyone's the same. Some people may clear the drug in around 20 hours, and some may take a bit longer. It all depends on a number of different factors, which we will cover in just a moment.

Oxycodone is actually a very powerful drug with a fairly short half-life in comparison to other drugs. That means it leaves the body faster than other drugs. But that does not mean that the effects of it will subside once it is out of the body. It can take some more time for that to happen.

The term half-life means the amount of time it takes for a drug in the body to be reduced to 50%. After one half-life, the concentration of it will be half of the starting dose. After that amount is eliminated, the process starts all over again on the next half of what is remaining.

With each additional half-life, less of the drug is eliminated from the body, But this process still takes the same amount of time. Basically, it takes 4 half-lives for a drug to be considered to have negligible effects. At that point, less than 7% of it is left in the body.

Oxycodone has a half-life of between three and five hours. So it takes that long for half of the drug to leave the body. Once that half is eliminated, the body continues processing the next half.

That is how researchers have gotten to the number 24. But even after 24 hours have passed, the individual taking the drug is still likely to experience withdrawal. In fact, symptoms may only start to become severe at this point.

Types of Drug Testing for Opioids

There are several different ways to test for opioids in the body. That type of drug test will show that the individual has been taking Oxycodone, depending on the timeframe.

Different tests are used for a variety of reasons. It usually depends on who is doing the testing. There are four drug tests that work very well, and they are the ones that most testers rely on.

A urine test is generally the most popular type of drug test. It is extremely reliable, non-invasive and simple to use. Hospitals, doctor’s offices and medical clinics will usually use this method for these reasons. This is also the best method to use for employment drug tests.

It does not take long after the last dose for Oxycodone to be detected in a urine test. In some cases, tests may show a positive result in only a few minutes. Others may take up to two hours to show a positive result.

Once a urine test for Oxycodone is positive, it should remain positive for up to four days after the last dose. Of course, there are some people who will clear the drug faster, and some who will take a little longer.

Blood tests are used less often in medical settings, but there are some physicians who prefer them to urine tests. The detection window is very short, which is one of this method’s downfalls.

Oxycodone is a drug that hits the bloodstream very quickly. It makes sense that it would be detectable through the blood in a short period of time. It only takes between 15 and 30 minutes for it to be found through a blood test.

Once a blood test for Oxycodone has been positive, it will remain so for about a day. After 24 hours has passed, other types of tests will be needed to detect the drug.

Saliva drug tests have historically been used less often than other types of tests. But that may soon be changing because of technological advances with this method. Testing oral fluid is quick and non-invasive. But the problem is that there are so many factors that can throw off the results. These include recently consumed foods and beverages, the use of cigarettes, or various physiological factors.

Research has shown that there is a significant amount of oral absorption that takes place with drug use. This can temporarily increase the concentrations of it, which will lead to a positive test result.

Oxycodone can be found in saliva in as little as 15 minutes after the last dose. Some studies have shown that it will remain detectable for as long as four days. This amount is similar to a urine test.

Finally, hair tests can be used in some cases to detect the presence of Oxycodone in the body. But the problem with this type of test is that it will not give a quick result. In fact, it can take as long as a week – or even longer – before this drug is detectable with this type of test.

Once there is a positive result, it should stay positive for as long as 90 days. That is why this method is frequently used to detect a history of drug use, rather than recent abuse.

What Effects How Long Oxycodone Stays in the Body?

The timeframes we have provided so far are only averages. There are a multitude of factors that can change how long Oxycodone stays in the body. Depending on the individual, the following can either shorten or lengthen the time period.

The majority of people who take Oxycodone will do so by swallowing the pills. But there are those whose addictions have progressed, and they take it in other ways. It is possible to grind the pills into a powder and smoke it, snort it, or mix it with water and inject it.

When someone has taken this drug in a way that is different from swallowing pills, it can impact the elimination time. It takes longer for the body to clear a drug that has been snorted, smoked or injected.

Genetics do tend to have an impact on how quickly the body processes Oxycodone. There are some people who have higher metabolisms, and this is a trend that runs in their family. These individuals will likely eliminate the drug much faster than others.

Elderly individuals (over the age of 65) are much more likely to take longer to eliminate Oxycodone than younger people. Research has shown that the blood concentrations of the drug are around 15% higher in the elderly population.

Height and weight definitely play a part in how long it takes for Oxycodone to exit the body. That may also be why men tend to eliminate it faster than women by as much as 25%. Someone who is taller and who weighs more generally takes a little longer to process drugs out of their system.

What Factors Dictate How Long OxyContin Stays in the System?

How Long Does Oxycodone Stay in the Body When Mixed With Other Drugs?

Mixing two substances is never a good idea unless it has been approved by a physician. But sadly, a lot of people who abuse Oxycodone will take it alongside other drugs. They may mix another opioid with it, use cannabis, or drink alcohol while they are taking it. All of these can be incredibly harmful.

This practice also lengthens the amount of time it takes for Oxycodone to leave the body. This is because the liver and the kidneys are only able to focus on one drug at a time.

It is difficult to say for certain how long it takes to eliminate Oxycodone along with other drugs. To get the answer, it is necessary to know the half-life of the other drug. At that point, a simple math equation should give an estimated timeframe.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a prescription opioid pain reliever. It is very similar to morphine, and it is classified as a narcotic. This drug can be given in a few different formats, depending on how long the drug is needed to work.

The brand name for this medication is OxyContin. But it is also found in other drugs as well. Percocet is a popular pain medication, and it is a mixture of Oxycodone and acetaminophen. Percodan is another drug, and it also includes aspirin.

When it is used appropriately, Oxycodone is a very powerful, effective pain reliever. But people should only take it for a short time. If they take it for too long, it can quickly lead to an addiction.

Oxycodone is a drug that works well to relieve moderate to severe pain. It comes in extended-release tablets and immediate-release tablets. The extended-release version may be given to people whose pain is not controlled well with other medications.

This medication used to be the go-to drug for many physicians when treating pain. But today, that practice has slowed down considerably. Today, most doctors will only give it to those who need a stronger opioid drug for a number of reasons. It may be used to treat pain from:

  • Cancer treatment
  • Surgery
  • Severe back injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries

When dealers sell Oxycodone on the streets, they do so under different names. This is a popular street drug, and it has several street names, such as:

  • Oxycet
  • Oxy
  • Hillbilly Heroin
  • Perds
  • OC
  • OX
  • Cotton
  • Kicker

It is important to note that Oxycodone that has been purchased illegally may not be pure. There could be other drugs mixed in with it, such as heroin or Fentanyl. This makes buying it on the streets even more dangerous.

Most people start off abusing Oxycodone very innocently. They usually get a prescription for it because they have pain. As they continue to take it, their bodies form a tolerance to it. That means they need to take a higher dose to get the same effects. Or, they may need to take it more frequently.

In some cases, that is where the abuse ends. In others, people will try different ways to get the high they are looking for. As we mentioned earlier, they may:

  • Combine it with alcohol
  • Use it along with marijuana or other drugs
  • Crush the pills and snort them
  • Crush the pills and inject them
  • Smoke the crushed pills

These methods do produce a more euphoric high, which is what many people are looking for. They are also likely to experience better pain relief. Both of these factors only add fuel to the fire of abuse, which often eventually leads to an addiction.

Why do People Abuse Opioids?

People abuse opioids for a few different reasons. In most cases, they are abusing them accidentally. As strange as it may sound, too many people are given prescriptions for this drug without being warned about its addictive nature. They may see the warnings on the bottle, but because the drug came from a doctor, they assume that it is safe. Of course, this is not true at all.


It is also common to abuse opioids strictly for the purpose of getting high. They can produce a strong sensation of euphoria, which makes them very desirable. That is why Oxycodone is such a popular street drug.

The reality is that a lot of people are abusing opioid drugs because they feel they do not have a choice. They started taking them for pain, and before long, they learned they could not stop. Every time they attempt it, they go through painful withdrawals.

How do They Get Addicted?

In order to get addicted to Oxycodone, people must first spend some time abusing it. The amount of time that might take varies from person to person. Some people have no trouble taking this medication for years. They can stop anytime, and they are not addicted. Others may form addictions to it only after having taken it for a few weeks.

It all begins with abuse, and it can happen to anyone at any time. This is why it is so important to get off this medication before a dependence on it begins to form.

How Has Oxycodone Contributed to the Opioid Epidemic?

According to the CDC, there were 63,632 drug overdoses in the United States in 2016. 66% of them (or 42,249) were because of opioid drugs. This number only continues to increase as time goes on. In fact, there was a 30% increase between July 2016 and September 2017.

There are three opioids that are considered the top ones that are most likely to lead to an overdose. Oxycodone is among them. As the crisis only gets worse, a lot of states place the blame on pharmaceutical companies. They claim that manufacturers knew how addictive this drug was, and yet, they encouraged doctors to prescribe it anyway. The blame is actually well-placed.

In the late 1990s, doctors were assured by pharmaceutical companies that their opioid pain relievers were non-addictive. That only gave them the green light to prescribe them even more. For years, getting a drug like Oxycodone was really quite simple. It seemed to be the best way to treat pain. But eventually, it became clear that the pharmaceutical companies were wrong about their medications. It wasn’t long before the opioid crisis began.

Prescription opioids like Oxycodone are not the only drugs that people should be concerned about. Research has shown time and time again that addiction is progressive. It makes sense that people would gravitate toward a different drug as the need arises.

When most people get a prescription for Oxycodone or any other opioid, there is usually one thing they do not know. They do not realize that the drug in their hand has a chemical makeup that is very similar to heroin.

The opioid crisis put the country in a tailspin. A lot of people were no longer able to get their prescription medications the way they normally did. Doctors stopped prescribing them long-term and offered other methods of pain relief instead. This drove people to do other things to get the drugs they needed.

Sometimes they would go doctor shopping to get them. They would visit more than one doctor to get their prescriptions. This became harder with changes in technology and the electronic prescription system that many pharmacies use. There were also people who resorted to buying Oxycodone on the street or online.

Eventually, many people turned to heroin. It was very similar to Oxycodone, and there was no prescription needed to purchase it. It was a drug that was readily available on the street, and it was also cheaper than prescription painkillers.

According to NIDA, prescription opioid abuse tends to precede heroin use by about two years. People who are frequently using drugs like Oxycodone are much more likely to switch to the harder drug eventually. In fact they are forty times more likely to use heroin than anyone else.

Oxycodone Rehab and Detox

Identifying an Oxycodone Addiction

Not everyone who uses Oxycodone is addicted to it. But for those who are, it is very important to identify the addiction. Otherwise, they will just continue to use, doing damage to themselves.

There are a lot of ways to identify an addiction. The following explains them.

A lot of people would rather begin by looking for some of the more common signs of Oxycodone addiction in their own lives. There are many, and they include physical and behavioral indicators.

The signs of Oxycodone addiction include:

  • Taking the drug in higher doses or taking it too often.
  • Experiencing a strong desire to use it, to the point of preoccupation.
  • Not having the ability to cut down or stop the use of it.
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using and recovering from using this drug.
  • Having intense cravings for the drug.
  • Experiencing problems with work, school, relationships and/or recreational activities.
  • Continuing to use despite the physical and psychological consequences.
  • Developing a tolerance to the drug.
  • Going through withdrawal when it is stopped.
  • Bouts of constipation.
  • Itching skin.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Strange thought patterns.
  • Slowed breathing rates.

Having one or two of these symptoms most likely indicates abuse. Any more than that might demonstrate the presence of an addiction. That is why it is important to talk with a professional to get a proper diagnosis.

Not everyone can tell if they have an addiction by looking at a list of symptoms. It can be very difficult to identify by someone who is living it. That is why it is important to consider other methods as well.

Some people like the thought of taking a quiz to find out if they are addicts. This quiz asks several questions about addiction in general. At the end, it is possible to find out if the person is abusing Oxycodone or addicted to it. If they are addicted, they will learn how to get help.

There are also those who appreciate a more direct approach. They would rather just talk with a professional and share their story with them. This is probably the best way to identify an addiction. Many treatment programs offer free phone assessments to people who need to know if they are addicted to a drug.

How to Stop Using Oxycodone

Stopping the use of Oxycodone is not as simple as just throwing away the pills. It is normal for people to get anxious when they realize they are addicted to this drug. And there are a lot of ways to stop using it. But only one is recommended.

There are a lot of at-home detox remedies for opioid withdrawal. It is possible to find recommendations for any of the following:

  • Drinking enough water or drinks like Gatorade or Pedialyte. This will help to avoid dehydration.
  • Using Imodium for the symptom of diarrhea.
  • Taking Dramamine for nausea and vomiting.
  • Taking Benadryl for sleep.
  • Taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen to help with pain.

Natural remedies are also encouraged a lot online. The recommendations include everything from acupuncture to various vitamins and supplements.

These websites make addicts think that they can just detox at home and everything will be fine. That is not the case at all. None of these methods are FDA approved or recommended. They could also potentially be dangerous, leading to severe withdrawal.

A lot of people lean toward the idea of quitting cold turkey. In their minds, if they just stop using Oxycodone abruptly, they may have a few hard days. But after that, their withdrawals will be much easier. We want you to know that this is not true.

Quitting an opioid drug can be very dangerous. It could possibly result in withdrawal symptoms that are nearly impossible to manage. In fact, many people who choose this quit method end up relapsing. This could put them at risk for a potentially fatal overdose.

Tapering off Oxycodone is another quit method that a lot of people attempt on their own. They just decide to start taking less and less of their medication until they are no longer taking any. This method only works well if a doctor oversees it.

A taper has to be done just right. If it is too slow, or too quick, there could be consequences. In theory it makes sense to do it, and that is why so many detox programs recommend it. But in most cases, the addict does not have the medical knowledge to do it correctly.

The best way to stop taking Oxycodone is to go through professional drug treatment. It is important to address the physical side of the addiction first. That will help with withdrawal symptoms and reduce any risk of complications. Afterwards, the next step is to go to rehab to address the psychological part of the addiction. We will talk about both of these steps in more detail momentarily.

Treating an Oxycodone Addiction

The best way to overcome an Oxycodone addiction is to go through treatment. Every person is different, as far as what they need while they get professional help. The best programs are careful to put together original treatment plans for each patient. They should be based on their unique needs.

As we mentioned earlier, recovering from an opioid addiction should always start with drug detox. This is a critical step, and it is one that should not be skipped.

What is Drug Detox?

Drug detox refers to the process of physical recovery from an addiction. It involves removing toxins from the person’s body that are associated with the drug use.

Earlier, we talked about how long it takes Oxycodone to exit the body. But just because the drug is no longer present, that does not mean that the body has adjusted. That can take some time.

Stopping the use of any drug is likely to throw the body into a state of panic. It strives to maintain a delicate balance, which it had while addicts were taking Oxycodone. When they stop, that balance is thrown off, but only temporarily.

The result is opioid withdrawal, which can become very severe. Drug detox helps by controlling and managing withdrawal symptoms and helping people avoid issues during this phase.

There are different ways to treat Oxycodone withdrawal. Usually, detox programs will use a combination of both of the following during treatment.

The very first option that most doctors will explore is medical detox. This form of treatment allows patients to take medications to help them with their symptoms. There are a number of different drugs that can treat Oxycodone withdrawal.

Usually, someone who is addicted to an opioid drug will be placed on medication assisted treatment (MAT). This has also been called opioid replacement therapy. It involves giving the patient a different type of opioid drug that is specifically formulated to treat their addiction.

There are several different types of drugs that have been approved for use during MAT. They include:

While these medications certainly have their purpose, there is one issue. They are also addictive drugs. They should only be given on a short-term basis, and the patient needs to be carefully monitored. There are those who say that using any of these drugs is really only trading one addiction for another.

This is why so much more work is needed to find non-addictive ways to treat opioid addiction. Vivitrol is the product of a great deal of research just for this purpose. It is a non-opioid medication that is given via injection every 30 days. This drug is not addictive, and it has been shown to be very effective when combined with therapy.

Holistic detoxification methods are a very important part of the healing process for someone who is addicted to Oxycodone. There may be many different forms of holistic treatment that are recommended, but diet and exercise are vital.

Most people with drug addictions do not get adequate nutrition. They may be deficient in several necessary vitamins and minerals. This, in turn, affects the liver and kidneys, which are primarily responsible for detoxing the body. Also, physical exercise helps the detoxification process even more because toxins are excreted during exertion.

What is Drug Rehab?

Drug rehab is the step that is taken after the detoxification process has been completed. During this stage of recovery, healing from the psychological part of the addiction takes place.

During drug rehab, people go through a lot of therapy. They work with a therapist in a one-on-one setting to determine what caused the addiction. Once they know the cause, they can start working on treating it. They also have group therapy, family therapy, and other forms of treatment.

Co-Occurring Disorders and Dual Diagnosis Treatment

co-occurring disorder is a mental health problem that can and often does lead to addiction. People frequently use substances like Oxycodone as a way to treat their symptoms of mental illness. Taking the drug might help to relieve symptoms of anxiety or depression.

Treating a co-occurring disorder requires dual diagnosis treatment. It is a form of rehab that addresses both the addiction and the mental health problem at the same time. This allows the patient to connect the two issues, and it also helps staff provide better continuity of care.

Types of Rehab Programs That Treat Opioid Addiction

There are a lot of different types of treatment programs for people with opioid addictions. First, please note that it is important for people to go through drug detox on an inpatient basis. There are many outpatient detoxification centers, but detoxing as an outpatient is dangerous. This is especially true when it comes to drugs like Oxycodone.

For drug rehab, people need to choose the program that is right for them. This could be any one of the following.

Inpatient programs are among the most popular ways to treat addictions. They require a 28-day stay in a facility, and the patient receives detox and rehab all in one place in many cases.

These programs are excellent for someone whose home life would make it easy to relapse. They provide excellent support and allow patients to consistently get the help they need.

Intensive outpatient programs, or IOPs, are another popular method of drug rehab. They allow people to continue to live at home while they get treatment. Usually, people can also go to work or school, and take care of their normal responsibilities.

IOPs generally offer appointments during the evening hours. Clients may have to come to treatment between three and five times per week. Each session may be around three hours long.

There has been a lot of research done that proves that intensive outpatient programs are effective. Some studies state that they can work just as well as inpatient programs.

Outpatient treatment programs work very well for people who have gone through inpatient or IOPs first. They are not necessarily the best option for someone who is new to treatment. This is because people generally need to have more time with staff than an OP program can offer.

Outpatient drug rehab is best utilized as a follow-up resource. It can be an excellent form of support for someone who has been in recovery.

There are also those who need long-term care. When they do, residential treatment is usually the best option. These programs may also be called sober living homes.

A sober living home allows people to stay there long-term; up to several months if necessary. There are some that offer in-house treatment. But most of the time people need to obtain their own through an IOP.

The Risk of Overdosing on Oxycodone

It is possible to overdose on Oxycodone, and unfortunately, many people do. It usually happens when they have relapsed after trying to quit. As we mentioned earlier, the risk of this can be greater when someone tries to quit on their own.

When someone relapses, they do not realize that their tolerance level has gone down. The result is that they typically go back to using the same amount they used previously. That amount is too much for them to handle, and they overdose.

The signs of an opioid overdose include:

  • Shallow, slow breathing rate
  • Skin that is cold, pale or blue
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Constricted pupils
  • Choking sounds
  • Going limp

Anyone who suspects an opioid overdose needs to call 911 right away. The paramedics can administer Naloxone, which is a drug that reverses overdoses. Further treatment will be needed at the hospital, including additional doses of Naloxone.

An opioid overdose is a medical emergency. If the victim does not get treatment immediately, they could die.

Evergreen Addiction Rehab

Learn More About Oxycodone Abuse, Addiction and Recovery

After getting the answer to the question, how long does Oxycodone stay in the body?, it is important to answer additional questions. Namely, why is the person asking? Do they need to pass a drug test? Do they have an addiction and are they worried about withdrawal?

At The Evergreen at Northpoint, we are here to help anyone who has an Oxycodone addiction. This is a very powerful drug, and taking it for any amount of time can lead to dependence. Professional treatment is the best way to recover safely.

We offer an excellent IOP program that specifically addresses each person’s needs. We will also recommend a detoxification program to help with the recovery process. In addition, we are determined to provide our clients with the best possible treatment for their addictions.

Learning more about Oxycodone abuse, addiction and recovery is only one step away. Please take that all-important step and contact us today.

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?