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How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your System?

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that can stay in your system for a long time. How long it stays in your body or system depends on several factors, including how much you use it and how often you use it. Learn more about how heroin affects your body and how long it takes to leave your system.

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How Does Your Body Process Heroin?

When you inject, snort, or smoke heroin, the drug rapidly passes from your lungs to your bloodstream and brain. Once in your brain, heroin binds to opioid receptors on neurons and causes a flood of dopamine in the “reward circuit” of the human brain.

This surge of dopamine produces the feeling of intense pleasure known as a “rush.” The effects of a heroin rush can last for several hours and withdrawal can start as soon as 3 hours after the last use.

However, chronic use of heroin leads to tolerance, meaning that you need higher and higher doses of that particular drug to get the same intensity of pleasure. With tolerance comes dependence and addiction.

Dependence occurs when you feel withdrawal symptoms after stopping or drastically reducing your use of heroin. Addiction is a severe chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior and continued use despite negative consequences.

If you become dependent on heroin and suddenly stop using it, you will likely experience withdrawal symptoms within 6-12 hours after your last dose. Symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:



– Fatigue

– Muscle aches

– Nausea

Withdrawal symptoms peak 24-48 hours after last use and can last up to a week. Detoxifying from heroin under medical supervision can help make withdrawal more bearable. Tapering off of heroin gradually can also help lessen withdrawal symptoms.

Medications like buprenorphine (Suboxone) can be used during detox to help reduce cravings and prevent relapse.

After detox, it is vital to enter treatment for addiction to increase your chances of long-term recovery. Treatment typically includes behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment with drugs like buprenorphine or methadone. Recovery from heroin addiction is possible; many people go on to lead happy and fulfilling lives in recovery.

How Long is Heroin In Your System?

Heroin is a highly significant addictive drug that is derived from morphine. It is most of the time sold as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky drug substance known as “black tar heroin.” Heroin can be injected, smoked, or snorted. The effects of heroin typically begin within minutes after taking the drug and last several hours.

The Lasting of heroin stays in your system depends on a number of factors, including how much of the drug you took, your metabolism, and whether you have any other health conditions. Generally speaking, heroin can be detected in your urine for up to three days and in your hair follicles for up to (general figure 90) ninety days.

If you are concerned about how long heroin will stay in your system, you must speak with a doctor or healthcare professional. They can help you understand the risks associated with taking the drug and provide you with the resources you need to get help if you are addicted.

Detect Heroin In Your System.

It depends on the method used to take the drug and other individual factors. Some of the important tests are as follows:

Blood Test:

A blood test is a common way to determine alcohol levels. It measures the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream.

Saliva Test

A saliva test can be used to determine alcohol levels, but it is not as accurate as a blood test.

Hair Test

If you’re detecting heroin overdose, you may need a hair follicle test for the best results.

Hair tests can measure alcohol levels but are not as common as blood and saliva tests.

Urine Test

Urine tests can measure alcohol levels, but they are not as common as blood, saliva, and hair tests.

Heroin metabolites can be detected in urine for up to 3 days after last use. In heavy users, metabolites may be detectable for up to a week.

The short half-life is the primary reason heroin stays in a human’s system for a short time. In general, opioids like heroin are detectable in urine for up to three days after last use. In heavy users, however, heroin may be detectable for up to a week.

Hair tests can detect heroin use for up to three months. Blood tests are the least effective method of detecting heroin use and are generally only used to confirm a suspicion of recent use.

How Can You Get The Heroin Out Of Your System?

The half-life of heroin is about 3 to 4 hours. This means that it takes about 3 to 4 hours for the body to reduce the concentration of heroin in the blood by half. Heroin is metabolized to 6-acetyl morphine and then to morphine. Most heroin is converted to morphine before it is excreted in the urine. The urinary excretion of morphine represents 60% to 85% of the dose of heroin.

The elimination half-lives of 6-acetyl morphine and morphine are about 40 minutes and 8 hours, respectively. Therefore, it takes many hours for the body to completely get rid of heroin. The total body clearance of heroic is about 1.7 L/h.

Renal elimination contributes only 10% to 15%, while hepatic metabolism contributes 85% to 90%. Therefore, most of the eliminated heroic dose is converted to inactive metabolites in the liver before excreted in the urine.

Can You Beat a Drug Test For Heroin?

It is vital to understand how drug tests work and the different factors affecting the outcome. Drug test methods usually involve taking a urine sample, which is then analyzed for the presence of certain drugs or their metabolites.

The most common drugs tested are marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, and opiates. There are several ways to beat a drug test, including using synthetic urine or adulterating your sample with household chemicals.

However, these methods are not foolproof and may result in a failed test. The best way to avoid failing a drug test is to abstain from using drugs in the first place.

Drug abuse is a severe & dangerous problem that can affect your health and well-being. If you think you may have a problem with drug abuse, it is important to seek professional help.

Detoxing from Heroin

Detoxing from heroin can be a challenging process. The physical and psychological dependence that characterizes addiction can make it hard for people to break free from the drug. The detoxification method is often the first step in treatment.

Withdrawal symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, insomnia, and anxiety. Medications may generally be used to help manage these symptoms and make detoxification more tolerable. Detoxification from heroin is just the first step in treatment, but it is important. Withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to overcome, but recovery is possible with professional help and support.

The treatment process is important to detox under the care of a medical professional. Symptoms of withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous.

Is Using Heroin Different From Using Morphine Or Other Opioid Painkillers?

There is a common misconception that heroin and morphine are interchangeable drugs. However, there are essential differences between the two substances.

Morphine is a natural organic substance that is derived from the opium poppy plant. People have been utilizing it for centuries as an analgesic or pain reliever. Heroin, on the other hand, is a synthetic derivative of morphine. While both drugs are effective at dulling pain, heroin is significantly more potent than morphine.

In addition, heroin produces a quicker and more intense high than morphine based on the way it is used (ingested). The effects of heroin also last for a shorter period of time than those of morphine or other synthetic opioid painkillers which causes heroin users to want their next fix faster.

Because of its potency and quick onset of action, heroin is one of the most dangerous illegal drugs on the market today.

Even first-time users can quickly develop a tolerance to opiates, leading to dependence and addiction. So while using heroin may not be fundamentally different from using morphine, the potential risks of heroin use make it much more dangerous.

In more recent times, heroin is being cut with fentanyl which is even more potent than heroin which is leading to overdose and death rates increasing.

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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022, January 26). What is the scope of heroin use in the United States? National Institutes of Health. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, April 13). What is heroin and how is it used? National Institutes of Health. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from

Novak, S. P., & Kral, A. H. (2011). Comparing injection and non-injection routes of administration for heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine users in the United States. Journal of Addictive Diseases, 30(3), 248–257.

Medical Advice Disclaimer

Magnified Health Systems aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

Picture of This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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