How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System

Every substance and medication stays in your body for a different length of time. In the medical world, this is normally measured by its “half-life.” A half-life is half of the amount of time it takes to fully enter and exit the body. For some things like ibuprofen, you can take a new one every 4 hours, but what about other substances? How long does heroin stay in your system? 

At ReVIDA® Recovery, we want to provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your personal health and well-being. We believe in the power of recovery. Having the right information can be an important first step to starting your healing journey. 

What Are the Side Effects of Heroin in the System?

Like other substances out there, heroin has side effects. When participating in things like heroin, there are two different effects you need to worry about: the short-term effects and the long-term effects. Short-term effects normally occur during the period of consumption, whereas long-term effects occur after someone has been partaking in substance use for a prolonged period of time. 

When heroin is in your system, you might experience things such as:

  • Clouded thoughts
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Itching
  • A heavy feeling in your limbs
  • Dry mouth
  • Flushed skin

For those who have been managing a heroin use disorder for a long period of time, more side effects can crop up. These are a result of the substance being continually within someone’s system. Some of these long-term side effects include:

  • Abscesses 
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Collapsed veins
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation and stomach cramps
  • Damaged nostril tissue
  • Infection in your heart lining and valves
  • mental illness such as depression
  • Sexual dysfunction (in men) or irregular menstrual cycles (in women)

In addition, for those who inject heroin, there are always risks in sharing needles with others. Heroin also is known to contain additives at times, such as sugar or starch, which can clog blood vessels. 

One last thing you need to worry about – the longer someone participates in substance use, the more they might have to worry about a potential overdose. This can come from caring less about your potential well-being over time, getting an increased tolerance over the span of consumption, or just combining substances while you’re participating in them. All of these can make you much more susceptible to a heroin overdose

How Long Are the Effects of Heroin Felt?

Heroin is an opioid made from a natural substance found in the seedpod of a poppy plant. It’s primarily consumed via snorting, injection, or smoking. When inside a person’s body, heroin binds itself to opioid receptors in the brain, which are on cells located in many areas across the body. These areas tend to be involved in how we feel pain and pleasure, as well as areas that control how we sleep, breathe, and even the rate at which our heart beats. 

As we mentioned earlier, the half-life is how the lifespan of a substance in someone’s system is measured. So what’s the half-life of heroin? How long do you feel the effects of it? 

Heroin moves through the body rather quickly. In many cases, it’s all but undetectable only 3 days after the last consumption. Overall, it tends to be out of your system in 30 minutes. 

Factors That Affect How Long Heroin Stays in a Person’s System

Many factors can influence the amount of time an individual feels the effects of any substance, prescriptions included.

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Other substances in your system
  • Diet
  • Metabolism 

How Long Can Heroin Be Detected in the Body?

When it comes to drug tests, there are four primary testing methods used across the board, but not all of them work well for every type of substance being tested for. These four tests are urine, blood, saliva, and hair follicle, but which ones are used specifically for heroin?

In the case of heroin, blood tests are not very reliable and they’re also an invasive testing option. Because of the short half-life of heroin, it doesn’t stay in your bloodstream long enough for blood tests to be worth the hassle.

Saliva tests are just as unreliable when it comes to properly screening for heroin. Traces of heroin are usually undetectable in saliva only 30-60 minutes after the last time a person consumed any.

Urine tests are the most common form of drug testing and are fairly consistent when it comes to testing for heroin. Generally speaking, heroin can be detected in urine up to 7 days after the last time a person took it. Because of the ease in which this test can be conducted and the time frame it can be reliable within, this is a go-to choice for many.

Finally, we have the hair follicle test. This one is the best choice for long-term testing and knowledge. Hair follicles hold heroin for up to 90 days after the last time someone had taken any. 

Method of Heroin Use

Heroin is normally consumed in one of three ways, injection, snorting, or smoking. The way that someone decides to consume a substance impacts not only how it enters the body and how long the “high” lasts, but also which side effects someone may experience in the long term. 

For instance, those who regularly inject heroin are at greater risk of damage to their blood vessels along with contracting bloodborne illnesses and other diseases that come from unclean needles. Smoking heroin can damage the lungs while snorting can lead to nasal damage.

Heroin Withdrawal

When someone regularly has a substance in their system the body adjusts to this substance. This doesn’t negate any potential damage that a substance might cause if it’s known to cause any, but this phenomenon is what can lead to higher tolerance as well as withdrawal. 

In the case of heroin withdrawal, symptoms are known to start within 8-24 hours after the last consumption and last for 4-10 days. Many symptoms occur during this timeframe such as: 

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Hot flashes
  • Increased anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Diarrhea 

When you’re going through withdrawals on your own, it can be easy to want to pick up the substance again in order to alleviate the side effects you were feeling. If you’re looking to get started on your road to recovery, we here at ReVIDA® Recovery want to help.

Addiction Treatment For Heroin

If you or a loved one is concerned about heroin use disorder – you’re in the right place. We offer many resources to help you along your path of recovery. Here at ReVIDA® Recovery, our goal is to help people reclaim their lives from substance use disorder. 

So what does heroin use disorder treatment look like? We offer evidence-based, high-quality treatment options for our clients to make sure they reach their healing goals. We offer everything from Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) to outpatient and Suboxone® (buprenorphine) treatments. 

Our outpatient program allows clients to go through a structured, evidence-based treatment program while still being able to do other things in their life like work and see their family. We offer 12-step programs as well as educational classes and individual and group therapies. 

MAT is a great option for those going through withdrawal. Choosing MAT means choosing a supportive team to back you while you’re detoxing. It’s supervised by physicians, licensed therapists, care coordinators, and other professionals to oversee your health and progress throughout the process.

Our medically supervised Suboxone® treatment is an amazing way to help your mind focus solely on your recovery during the treatment process. It’s one of the most effective and well-tested therapies available to reduce opioid cravings. Unlike Methadone-based treatments, Suboxone® (buprenorphine) can be prescribed in a doctor’s office and helps you take a step closer to the rest of your recovery. 

If you’re looking to start the process of reclaiming your life from heroin addiction, or you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to give us a call today at 423-631-0432. 

FAQs About How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System

How long can heroin be detected in a person’s body?

With urine tests, it can be detected up to 7 days after the last use. With a hair follicle test, results can remain positive for up to 90 days after the last use.

Is heroin withdrawal fatal?

While it isn’t fatal, it can be very uncomfortable, which can lead many to continue to participate in heroin to reduce their symptoms. 

What to do if a loved one overdoses on Heroin?

If a loved one overdoses on heroin, make sure to seek medical help immediately. With many states having the Good Samaritan Law in place, you cannot get into legal trouble for requesting medical help for an overdose.