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How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System

Heroin stays in your system for varied amounts of time, depending on multiple factors like the age and body size of the user and the nature of their heroin usage. Heroin causes intense and unpredictable withdrawal symptoms when it leaves your body; a supervised detox is recommended for someone wanting to quit using the drug.

Heroin use is a significant problem in America today. The opioid epidemic, fueled in part by a rise in heroin use, has led to a surge in overdose deaths and a strain on healthcare and law enforcement resources. The addictive nature of heroin, coupled with its accessibility and low cost, has contributed to its prevalence across various socioeconomic groups.

How Does Heroin Affect the Body?

Heroin is an addictive substance that affects the brain and nervous systems. When someone uses heroin, the drug crosses the blood-brain barrier and is converted back into morphine, binding to opioid receptors in the brain. This results in an intense feeling of euphoria and relaxation. Heroin is a central nervous system depressant, slowing down respiratory and heart rates. Excessive use can lead to respiratory failure and even death from overdose.

Continued heroin use often leads to an increased tolerance and physical dependence, requiring higher doses of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Moreover, intravenous drug use also increases the risk of infections such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis due to needle sharing.

How Long Do the Effects of Heroin Last?

When discussing how long heroin stays in your system, “half-life” is an important term to understand. The half-life of a drug is the time it takes for half the substance to get processed through the body. Knowing half-life lets medical professionals know when to readminister a medication during treatment. Different drugs have different half-lives, and they can vary based on factors such as the drug’s chemical properties, route of administration, metabolism, and excretion rates.

What Is the Half-Life of Heroin?

Heroin has a shorter half-life when compared to other drugs. Following intravenous injection, for example, within 3-4 minutes, 50% of the drug is gone from the body. The short half-life and rapid onset of action contribute to the intense but short-lived euphoria experienced by heroin users.

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?

The amount of time heroin is detectable in someone’s body depends on different factors that play a role in the time it takes for heroin to process through the body. Drug testing can detect the presence of heroin as well as recent use.

In general, here’s how long heroin stays in different body systems:

  • Urine – detectable in the urine for 2-3 days following heroin use
  • Sweat – detectable in sweat for 7-14 days
  • Hair – detectable in hair for up to 90 days following heroin use
  • Saliva – detectable in saliva anywhere from 1-36 hours following heroin use

Blood tests can also be conducted, but due to their invasiveness, they are generally limited to emergency purposes. Heroin is detectable in the blood for approximately 2-12 hours following use.

Factors that Impact How Long Heroin Stays in Your System

  • Form of use – inhalation, injection, snorting
  • Age of user
  • Body fat percentage
  • Height and weight
  • Frequency and duration of heroin use
  • Hydration levels
  • Medications the user is taking

Self-Assessment: Am I Addicted?

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin is highly addictive and can destroy your life. A treatment program is often the best course of action for pursuing a full recovery. Using dual diagnosis, evidence-based treatment, and holistic recovery programs, Vogue Recovery Center can help you or a loved one recover from heroin addiction. Our treatment programs help you get through all the steps of addiction recovery and work toward lifelong healing and improved well-being.

If you or a loved one is ready to address an addiction to heroin, reach out to Vogue Recovery Center today. An addiction specialist will help you learn more about what programs are available and appropriate for your unique needs. Vogue Recovery Center accepts most major insurance policies, and we work with your insurance provider to establish a treatment plan that is right for you.

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Vogue Editorial Staff

Vogue Editorial Staff

Vogue Editorial Staff

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Medically Reviewed by Kelsey Jones, MS, LPC