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How Long Does Heroin Last?

How long does heroin stay in your system? The amount of time heroin stays in your system depends on several factors, including how frequently they use it and their weight. Additionally, several drug tests can identify heroin usage for differing lengths of time depending on the test type.

Usually, heroin can be detected in the body for up to 48 hours in the urine, up to 6 hours in the blood, up to 6 hours in the saliva, and up to 3 months or more in the hair. These periods may vary depending on the test utilized and the length of heroin use.

Heroin is an opioid that is semi-synthetic and used recreationally. All opioid medications function similarly to one another, interacting with opioid receptors in the central nervous system to lessen pain perception and increase feelings of pleasure.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid derived from morphine, a substance found in the seeds of poppy plants. Most people take heroin by injecting it into their arms through a needle. Heroin quickly reaches the brain and produces extreme feelings of pleasure, which is why it becomes addictive so quickly. But, the symptoms of heroin withdrawal can be painful and even deadly. The longer you use heroin, the more your body builds up a tolerance to the drug. That means people have to take more significant amounts to produce similar effects. Taking too much heroin to chase a high can lead to an overdose. 

Heroin use has increased across the US among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. Some of the most significant increases happened in demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

How long does heroin last for? Heroin’s effects last longer than those of drugs like cocaine and meth, but the half life of heroin is 30 minutes. This means that if a user takes a single dose of heroin, it will take 30 minutes for half of the drug in the person’s system to be flushed out. Some studies suggest that this half-life is as short as 3-8 minutes. However, the metabolites produced as the drug is broken down are detectable on standard drug screening tests for around one to four days. Heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug [3], meaning it has no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

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Heroin Drug Facts

Heroin

Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can be a white or brown powder or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin.


How do people use heroin?

People inject, sniff, snort, or smoke heroin. Some people mix heroin with crack cocaine, a practice called speedballing.


What are the effects of heroin?

Heroin enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells located in many areas, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure and in controlling heart rate, sleeping, and breathing.

Short-Term Effects

People who use heroin report feeling a “rush” (a surge of pleasure or euphoria). However, there are other common effects, including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Warm flushing of the skin
  • Heavy feeling in the arms and legs
  • Nausea and vomiting

Long-Term Effects

People who use heroin over the long term may develop the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Collapsed veins for people who inject the drug
  • Damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it
  • Infection of the heart lining and valves
  • Abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus)
  • Constipation and stomach cramping
  • Liver and kidney disease

Heroin Abuse Statistics

In 2020, heroin-involved overdose death rates decreased by nearly 7% 2019 to 2020. However, more than 13,000 people died from a drug overdose involving heroin in the United States, a rate of more than four deaths for every 100,000 Americans. The number of heroin-involved overdose deaths was nearly seven times higher in 2020 than in 1999. Almost 20% of all opioid deaths involved heroin.


13,000

More than 13,000 people died from a drug overdose involving heroin in the United States.

Source: CDC

20%

Almost 20% of all opioid deaths involved heroin.

Source: CDC

Factors that Affect How Long Heroin Lasts

How long does heroin last in your system? Once heroin enters the body, it races to the brain’s opioid receptors, and the body starts to break down the heroin to restore stability. The rate at which heroin and its subsequent components are metabolized differs for every user.

Heroin is often pushed out of your system through your kidney in the form of urine, but it also exits through sweat, saliva, and even feces. Your weight, body mass, and metabolism will impact the rate at which heroin is pushed out of your body and how long you might test positive for it. If you are unwell, you might take more time to get the heroin out of your system, making you test positive for it for longer.

  • Frequency: How long heroin will be detectable is determined by how much heroin was taken. If it’s your first time using it, you won’t have high amounts of it in your system, so it should flush out within a few days if you don’t take it anymore. If you are a chronic user, it can last for a week or more in your system and be detectable by a test.
  • Drug interactions: Heroin is often mixed or cut with other drugs, like fentanyl, cocaine, or ketamine. This can create a drug cocktail that could be extremely dangerous, especially if you are unsure what the heroin is mixed with.
  • Drug Purity: With street heroin, the purity level you get with some doses could be more robust than others. These levels will impact how long the drug stays in your system. 
How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System? Usually, heroin can be detected in the body for up to 48 hours in the urine, up to 6 hours in the blood, up to 6 hours in the saliva, and up to 3 months or more in the hair. These periods may vary depending on the test utilized and the length of heroin use.
How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System? Usually, heroin can be detected in the body for up to 48 hours in the urine, up to 6 hours in the blood, up to 6 hours in the saliva, and up to 3 months or more in the hair. These periods may vary depending on the test utilized and the length of heroin use.

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How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your System?

How long does herion stay in ur system? Heroin has a half-life of half an hour, meaning it would take 30 minutes to be reduced by half in a person’s system. How long heroin stays in your system depends on the dose and your history of heroin abuse. Simply put, heroin could last up to an hour in a person’s system. How long heroin can be detected in specific drug tests also varies.

However, specific tests have been found to produce a positive result for this drug for up to 7 days. Typically, heroin is no longer detectable in a person’s urine after just 2 days. Due to the short half-life of heroin, like many other opioids, blood and saliva tests are rarely utilized to detect its use. Therefore, the drug can become undetectable in these fluids in 5 to 6 hours. However, it may still be present for up to 2 days.

The hair follicle test, which may identify heroin for up to three months or more, is the only test practical for longer than a week. Hair testing, however, may be affected by a variety of factors. It’s also crucial to remember that heroin stays in users’ bodies for a lot longer when they are heavy, long-term users. This is because drugs used excessively are more likely to be deposited in fatty tissues and flushed out much more slowly than when they are only present in the blood and other body fluids.

How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your Hair?

How long does heroine stay in your system? Hair tests have the most extended detection window of all types of drug screenings. To explain, heroin can be detected in hair follicle tests for up to 90 days after a person’s last drug use. However, people abusing the drug for an extended period may have far longer hair follicle detection windows.

How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your Urine?

How long heroin stay in system? Urine tests are most frequently used when testing for heroin in the system. How long does heroin stay in urine? Heroin will be detected in a urine test for up to 4 days after the last use, and in some frequent users, it could be for longer, depending on how much heroin has built up in their system.

How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your Saliva?

How long heroin stay in your system? Saliva tests are similar to blood tests because they cannot detect heroin in the system for very long. As a result, saliva tests are rarely used to screen for opioid drugs like heroin. How long does heroin stay in system? However, saliva drug screenings may detect heroin up to 5 hours after a person’s last use. However, saliva tests are very accurate at testing for heroin, so they are a common choice if someone suspects someone has taken the drug in the last few hours.

How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your Blood?

How long is herion in your system? Blood tests are typically only used in a medical emergency where individuals require immediate attention. How long does heroin stay in blood? Heroin isn’t detected for very long, so blood tests generally see heroin only 5-6 hours after the drug is taken. In rare instances, blood screenings may detect heroin for up to two days.

The 6-AM assay test allows heroin metabolites to be detected in the blood. However, this is mainly useful when testing people who have recently passed or been in accidents to determine if street heroin was used or prescribed opioids for pain.

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Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs in the world. It’s a dangerous substance that has caused nothing but physical and mental damage to many of its users.
Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs in the world. It’s a dangerous substance that has caused nothing but physical and mental damage to many of its users.

Heroin Half Life

The half-life of a drug describes how long it takes for 50% of the substance to be metabolized and eliminated from the body. The medicine will be undetectable in the body after four to five half-life cycles. Take a look at heroin and its metabolite half-lives:

  • Heroin half life varies from 3-8 minutes.
  • 30-minutes is the half-life of 6-MAM.
  • The half-life of morphine ranges from 4-8 hours.

The average heroin half life is about 3-8 minutes, meaning that it has broken down to 50% of its initial volume in that period. It takes between four and five half-lives – between eight and forty-eight minutes – for heroin to be eliminated from the system.

When it breaks down, this semisynthetic opioid becomes metabolized into morphine and 6-acetyl morphine (6-AM). Morphine has a longer half-life of the two, lasting up to seven hours. Once morphine breaks down, the high subsides, but the compounds it turns into are detectable in daily urine tests. Heroin and its metabolites pass through breast milk and can cause a baby to overdose. Do not breastfeed while using heroin.

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Heroin Addiction Treatment

If you think a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol, you should research the substances and their associated addiction to understand better what your loved one needs. Next, you must plan an intervention to provide your loved ones with options to battle the effects of drug addiction in a safe and supportive environment. During this intervention, offer compassion and support instead of judgment. Lastly, show your support throughout the entire treatment process.

In addition, prolonged drug use can have severe physical and psychological effects on you, so it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible. To have a better idea on how long does heroin stay in your system, it is essential to get medical assistance when needed. Inpatient drug rehab offers intensive care that can help you promptly get through the early stages of drug withdrawal. 

Heroin Detox

Medical detox is often considered the first stage of treatment. It will help you navigate the complicated drug detox withdrawal but doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior contributing to drug use. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete the drug detox.

Cravings are very common during drug detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can give medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Inpatient Drug Addiction Rehab

There isn’t one treatment approach or style that will suit everyone. Treatment should speak to the needs of the individual. Inpatient rehab and addiction treatment aren’t just about drug use. the goal is to help the patient stop using drugs and other substances, but drug rehab should also focus on the whole person’s needs.

Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior. When someone or their family is considering different treatment facilities, they should account for the complexity of addiction and the needs of the individual. The objective of attending an inpatient rehab center for addiction treatment is to stop using the drug and re-learn how to live a productive life without it.

Following a full medical detox, most people benefit from inpatient rehab. Inpatient drug rehab can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Patients stay overnight in the rehab facility and participate in intensive treatment programs and therapy. Once someone completes rehab, their addiction treatment team will create an aftercare plan, which may include continuing therapy and participation in a 12-step program like Narcotics Anonymous.

Psychotherapy

Many rehab programs will also have early morning classes or programs. Group sessions occur during inpatient rehab, as do individual therapy sessions. Family therapy may be part of inpatient rehab when it’s feasible. Alternative forms of therapy may be introduced during inpatient rehab, like a holistic therapy program, yoga for addiction recovery, or an addiction treatment massage therapy.

Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of mental health disorders along with addiction, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves changing both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Solution-focused therapy is an approach interested in solutions that can be quickly implemented with a simple first step leading to further positive consequences.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Drug abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. Traumatic experiences can often result in mental health disorders and substance abuse. Dual-diagnosis rehabilitation treats both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. This strategy treats both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend mainly on the treatment for both diseases done by the same team or provider.

Medication Assisted Treatments (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Please, do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery through our drug addiction treatment program medically. So, reclaim your life, and call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Drug Rehab Near Me

Drug addiction is a condition that can cause significant health problems, such as an overdose. We Level Up NJ rehab treatment & detox center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition and clarify issues like drug withdrawal symptoms. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please understand that each call is private and confidential.

 Treatment and rehabilitation from heroin abuse and addiction do not happen successfully overnight, but it is one of many steps towards permanent recovery.
Treatment and rehabilitation from heroin abuse and addiction do not happen successfully overnight, but it is one of many steps toward permanent recovery.

Popular Heroin FAQs

How long does herion stay in your system? And how long do the effects of heroin last?

Heroin stays in the urine for around 24 hours, in blood for 48 to 72 hours, and in hair follicles for up to three months.

How long does herion last?

Heroin stays in the body for up to 48 hours in the urine, up to 6 hours in the blood, up to 6 hours in the saliva, and up to 3 months or more in the hair.

What does heroin do to your body?

Heroin is a depressant drug; it slows down certain functions of a person’s brain and nervous system.

How long does heroin stay in pee?

Heroin will be detected in a urine test for up to 4 days after the last use, and it could be for longer in some frequent users.

Heroin Addiction Treatment Recovery Story To Sobriety

Lorraine shares her personal Heroin Addiction Treatment Recovery Testimonial Video.

Lorraine talks candidly on video about her heroin addiction treatment success and her personal road to recovery.

“If I didn’t change, I was just going to keep going back to jail. I’m Lorraine and I’ve been sober for six years. I’m a recovering alcoholic, heroin addict, and crack cocaine addict.

I was homeless for several years. I called the one person that never gave up on me and that was my mom and within an hour she was at the motel that I was staying at. And I said yes because I didn’t know what I was doing with my life and it was the best phone call I ever made.

After getting out of treatment I did everything that they told me to do. I got a sponsor. She’s still my sponsor. She’s taken me through the steps several times. I went back to school and now I’m one semester away from finishing my Bachelor’s in social work. And then I will start my Master’s in hopes to be a therapist so I can be there for other people.

Being sober is the only reason that I can work towards that.”

Does Heroin Addiction Treatment Work?

The good news is that no matter how painful the problem of your addiction may be, most people with a substance use disorder can benefit from some form of professional treatment. After finishing drug and alcohol rehab, around 80% of patients say that their quality of life and health have improved.

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Sources

[1] CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/heroin/index.html

[2] NIH – https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm

[3] DEA – https://www.dea.gov/drug-information/drug-scheduling

[4] NIDA – https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/what-are-long-term-effects-heroin-use

[5] We Level Up Heroin Addiction

My Personal Heroin Addiction Treatment Recovery Testimonial Video