Within 30 minutes, half the drug has typically left the body but here are some more general guidelines on how long does heroin stay in your system.
Blood: Up to six hours
Saliva: Up to one hour
Urine: Up to three days
Hair: Up to 90 days
Heroin moves through the body at a fairly rapid pace, especially when compared to other drugs such as meth or cocaine. How long the highly addictive narcotic drug stays in your system depends in part on factors such as your weight, age and genetics, as well as how much of the drug you took and how you ingested it.
What Factors Impact How Long a Narcotic Drug Stays in Your Body?
But the rate at which the drug exits a body is unique to each individual. It is also not the same every time for you personally, because of how much heroin you take and what your current hydration level plays a role in how fast the drug is processed. Other factors that impact how long heroin is present in your body include:
- Your height
- Your weight
- Your age
- How long you’ve been using drugs
- The amount of body fat content you have
- Your metabolism
Since certain organs, such as the kidneys and liver, play a role in removing toxins from your body, their health also impacts how fast this opioid drug is processed. The type of drug quality you ingest also plays a role. Remember that many drug dealers cut the opioid with other substances to increase their profits, and those particles can increase or decrease the time it takes the drug to go through your body.
How Does Drug Testing Work?
Tests can be run to see if this illegal substance is in your system on your hair, urine, saliva or blood. Blood and saliva tests aren’t the most effective because they typically stop detecting the narcotic within five to six hours after the last use of the drug. Urine tests generally detect illicit drug use up to two days, or 48 hours, earlier.
However, advanced tests are becoming more common that can detect the illegal drug in body fluids up to a week after the last use. Hair tests are even more reliable and have the capability to detect heroin use up to three months after use.
Since this drug that’s derived from the opium poppy has such a short half-life, drug tests don’t often look specifically for heroin in the body. But this illicit drug breaks down in the human body into two specific chemicals: morphine and 6-MAM. This is what is typically detected by drug tests.
How Long Do the Effects of This Illegal Opioid Drug Last?
If this illegal substance leaves the body so quickly, then how long do the effects of the high last? It depends on how you abuse the drug. Drug injection kicks off effects in less than eight minutes, while the impact of smoking dope doesn’t usually begin for 15 minutes. How long the euphoria lasts depends on factors such as the quality of the drug, how much you took and your own metabolism and health. Typically, the amount of time is anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
The fast-acting, short-lived nature of this illegal opioid is actually one reason the drug is so addictive. The euphoria hits extremely hard and goes away quickly, sometimes leaving the person even lower than they were before abusing the drug. That can send someone into immediate seeking behavior because they want to experience the high again.
But as you continue to do illicit substance use and abuse, your body becomes used to it and the euphoria is harder to come by. That leads people to seek increasing amounts of narcotics as the cycle of addiction closes in around them.
The Long-Term Effects of Heroin Abuse
Just because the euphoria this highly addictive drug wears off quickly and leaves your body at a relatively rapid rate doesn’t mean the impact of drug use doesn’t stick around to haunt you. The effects of illicit drug use can be long-term, and they are increasingly dangerous the longer you abuse the drug and the more you take each time you use it.
Repeated use of this illicit drug can actually cause physical changes to your brain. That can throw off the balance of your hormonal and neuronal systems, causing long-term cognitive and health dysfunction. For example, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, long-term mental health impacts of illicit drug use can include reduced abilities to regulate your own behavior or make decisions.
Long-term use of narcotic drugs can also lead to a wide range of physical issues. These issues can be made even worse by other habits that are common to individuals who are addicted to the drug, such as poor hygiene and eating habits. Some physical issues common to people who have used this semi-synthetic opioid long-term include:
- Bad teeth and problems with the gums
- Weakened immune systems that leave them susceptible to illnesses
- Pustules or lesions on the face
- Poor nutrition because of appetite or eating issues
- Weakness or paralysis of the muscles
- Issues with sex or reproduction
- Deteriorated respiratory systems that lead to problems breathing and increased the likelihood of illnesses
And in cases where heroin abuse or heroin withdrawal drives someone to use more and more of the drug, the results of use can include an overdose that leads to coma or death. Legal, relationship and career impacts can also occur that lead to long-term consequences.
Stop the Cycle of Heroin Addiction Now
Unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for heroin addiction. But there are ways you can put an end to the cycle of addiction and reduce some of the long-term impacts of narcotic drugs on your body, mind, and life.
Whether you’ve tested positive for drug use and are facing legal or career implications or you know you’re struggling with an addiction and it’s only time before it catches up with you. Our oceanfront rehab center for recovery can help.
Our treatment programs for substance abuse help you or a loved one break free of the cycle of drug abuse and help you earn how to take control of your life so you can live drug-free in the future. Now is the time to seek detox and addiction treatment for heroin use. Whatever your situation is if you’re ready to get help from caring, compassionate professionals in a setting that works for you.