How Long Heroin Can Stay in Your Body?

Addiction Resource > Addictive Substances: The Anatomy of Drug Addiction > Heroin Addiction, Abuse, and Treatment > How Long Heroin Can Stay in Your Body?

Getting addicted to a drug can be easy, but trying to quit is usually very hard. It’s an open secret that heroin is one of the most addictive drugs, however, not many people know how long heroin can stain your body. Well, the answer is not as simple as you would wish, as there are many variables involved, however, normally the drug is out of your system within 3 to 4 days after the last use.

How Long Heroin Can Stay in Your Body?

Heroin in the Body – Where it’s Stored

People who have experience with heroin know that it can make them feel high long after they last used it, this period is much longer than most other drugs. This is because of the fact that heroin is basically an opiate, which instantly enters your bloodstream, but instead of quickly getting detoxified into metabolites, some of it gets accumulated in the fat tissues. This stored drug continues to enter the bloodstream again, slowly over time. This is why your system holds on to heroin for much longer, even when you stop using it, however, the stored drug may or may not appear on the drug test.

Which part of the body is heroin stored?

After it is injected into the bloodstream, heroin is stored in fatty tissues. Over time, the stored heroin re-enters the bloodstream in small amounts, causing the person to feel the drug’s effects for some time after having taken it.

What Determines the Detection Window

The half-life of heroin is 10 min because it is a short action substance. However, many factors can affect how long heroin lasts in the body. It’s a no-brainer that the amount of heroin used by a person is the key factor in determining how long it stays in your body. The more heroin you consume, the longer it will last. The quality of the drug is yet another key factor. Low-quality heroin usually has harmful chemicals used as additives in it, which can affect the period of the drug in your system in an unpredictable manner. The overall size of the user, their metabolism rate, and tolerance level are some other key factors. The drug will stay longer in a smaller person’s body compared to a taller, bigger person. Likewise, the faster the metabolism, the quicker the drug is out of the system. User’s activity level determines their metabolism rate, and more active user’s body will detoxify the body comparatively faster.

How you take the drug also plays an important role in the detection of heroin. When taken via intravenous injection, the heroin is easier to detect as the bloodstream is filled with it immediately. On the other hand, oral ingestion, snorting, and smoking, all have different detection rates.

Following IV administration, smoking is the next method which spreads heroin quickly into your bloodstream. Snorting and oral ingestion would result in a more gradual and less potent high.

Addiction professional with a phone

Hope Without Commitment

Find the best treatment options.
Call our free and confidential helpline

Treatment Is Fully Covered by Insurance In Most Cases

Heroin Detection Times by Different Types of Tests

Different tests that can detect the presence of heroin have different detection windows, with urine test being the most common as it’s comparatively easy to administer, cost-effective and less invasive.

What tests are used to detect heroin?

The different tests used to detect heroin and their detection times are:

  • Urine test— 2-5 hours after use or 2-3 day for heavy users
  • Saliva test— 1-24 hours after use
  • Blood test— for several hours after use
  • Hair follicle test— up to 90 days after use
  • Hair Follicle Drug Test

Hair drug test has the longest detection window and can detect up to 90 days after the last use. It is so because your hair stores the heroin better than your bloodstream. Even when your bloodstream is clean of any heroin or heroin metabolites, the hair follicles on the human body can testify to the usage of the drug. There is a flaw with this test as it will not show positive results if the person has used the drug recently, as it takes some time for the drug to appear in the hair. However, more sophisticated hair drug tests can reveal more comprehensive results than just positive or negative. For example, it can even show the pattern of the drug use. Let’s say the person used the drug for a couple weeks, abstained for a week and then used the drug again, the hair test will show pretty accurate data about when the drug was used and when it was not.

  • Urine Test

The urine test depends on the dose of heroin the person takes. In not so heavy users, the test will result positive for up to two to five hours after ingestion, but for heavy users, it could be as long as two to three days after last use. However, heroin is quite rarely detected after a period of three days, except in the case of hardcore users.

  • Blood Test

The blood test is considered to be the most futile way of detecting heroin. As previously mentioned, heroin usually leaves your system after a few hours. Through a blood test, it is hard to find any heroin because the drug and even its metabolites are swept away from your body rather quickly.

Moreover, a blood test is usually only carried out if a cop has suspicion over a person and is otherwise generally thought of as invading one’s privacy. A blood test can only result positive for a heroin user if they have consumed it rather recently. However, the blood test isn’t very common as it’s very invasive, takes very long, and is the most expensive.

  • Saliva Test

Saliva drug test has the shortest detection time. It can detect the drug after 1-24 hours after use, depending on how much drug the person has consumed. If the person is a heavy user, has a slow metabolism, is not very active, and also uses medication or other substance, the drug could be detected for longer.

Saliva tests are not considered invasive like blood or urine tests. But, unlike a urine test, the saliva test is not very effective when it comes to detecting the levels of heroin present in the body. Not only that, but there is another key factor which contributes to the detection window and that is the consistency of a person’s saliva. The results may vary substantially from one person to another.

There is no certain time period to steer clear of detection because one person may get away easily, just even a couple of hours after ingestion, while the other’s test might result positive even after 24 to 48 hours of ingestion.

Can Consuming Poppy Seeds Make You Test Positive?

A little-known fact is that consuming poppy seeds can actually make you test positive. If you have a drug test coming up, you should stop eating poppy seeds. Even though poppy seeds are legal to be consumed, they contain a high level of opioids to make your test come out positive as heroin is derived from poppy seeds. Eating foods that contain a high amount of poppy seeds can show up on a urine test for up to 48 hours.

How Long Do the Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Surprisingly, the withdrawal symptoms usually last for three to four days only, and completely vanish within about 10 days. However, for long-term, serious users, the withdrawal symptoms can last for several weeks, and are very hard to deal with. Also, the recovery process can be much longer than the whole withdrawal process, as certain triggers can force the user to do the drug again even when they might not be having any withdrawal. This is why the ideal treatment requires the actual treatment process to be accompanied by an effective therapy that addresses the emotional and behavioral change in the person that led the user to get addicted.

Ridding Your Body of Heroin

If you have a drug test and have used heroin recently, there are several things that you can do to quickly clean your body of the drug and pass the test. Drinking a lot of water can help eliminate heroin from your body. According to Beverly Potter and Sebastian Orfali, heroin is water soluble and if you drink plenty of water, it can soak up the drug and take it out of your body along with urine. Eating healthy food and doing intense physical exercise can also help. Exercise will speed up your metabolism and can help a speedier detoxification of heroin.

How to get rid of heroin out of the body?

You can get heroin out of your body by constantly keeping your body hydrated and sweating often (drinking water and exercising). Eating healthy foods also helps. Since heroin is water soluble, drinking large amounts of water can help to soak up the heroin in your body, which then gets expelled when you urinate.

Getting help

If someone is suffering from a heroin overdose, instantly call 911 as it could be extremely dangerous, even lethal. You can also call 1-800-9-HEROIN, which is the National Heroin Hotline available 24/7 and offers help for any heroin abuse/addiction related issues. Alternatively, you can visit your doctor and or an addiction professional to seek help for your addiction. Remember, heroin is extremely addictive and extremely dangerous, thus the earlier you get help, the better it is.

How Long Heroin Can Stay in Your Body?

Rate this article