how long does heroin stay in your system
Many people imagine that using heroin will lead to a slow descent into madness. Users are often stereotyped as people who commit robbery, lie to their families, and sneak around with needles and bags. While this may be how the media portrays heroin users, it is not entirely accurate.

Although it is an addictive substance, heroin has an especially short half-life, making it difficult to detect in blood and saliva tests. It is detectable for 5 to 24 hours in the blood, depending on use frequency. If you are interested in learning more about how long heroin stays in your system, go ahead and read further.

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your Saliva?

After intravenous injection, the content of heroin in saliva rapidly decreases. It is only detectable for about an hour, depending on the dose and frequency of use. On the other hand, heroin that has been inhaled can be found in saliva for up to 24 hours. If you know a teenager that is doing heroin, look into our Los Angeles adolescent opiate addiction treatment to help save their life.

Heroin and its metabolites can appear in saliva within two minutes after using it. It will be detected from 4 to 24 hours, depending on the dosage and how it was administered.

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Urine?

For many illegal drugs, urine screens are the most common standard test. A urine test can detect heroin up to 48 hours. Its presence is dependent on metabolism, dosage, body mass, and other such factors. The metabolite morphine, however, can be detected in urine for up to three days after the last usage. Urine should be clean five days after the last heroin intake.

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Hair?

Hair follicle tests can identify heroin in someone’s system for up to three months. To test, hair samples of about an inch and a half are plucked from the scalp. A half-inch of hair represents a month of heroin use history.

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Blood?

Blood tests are not typically used to test for heroin because of the drug’s short half-life. That said, heroin in blood could last up to 6 hours, depending on how it was ingested.

Factors that Affect How Long Heroin Stays in the System

Heroin’s effects last longer than other harmful drugs like marijuana and cocaine, but it is still a short time, clocking at around 30 minutes. Some studies suggest that this duration can even be as short as 3 to 8 minutes. It depends on a variety of health factors, including:
  • Height and weight
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Body fat content
  • Dosage
  • Drug quality
  • Metabolism rate
  • State of the liver and kidneys
  • Hydration
Some of the factors that affect how long heroin stays in your system are:
  • Whether the heroin is water-soluble — mostly pills and powders — or not. Non-water-soluble heroin can remain in muscle tissue for up to 30 days.
  • How much heroin has been consumed in a specific period.
  • An individual’s metabolism, size, and weight.
  • Chemical intake to detoxify the body. This speeds up the heroin’s metabolic breakdown.
  • Learn about our Adolescent Intensive Outpatient in Los Angeles

Effects of Heroin

Heroin is a narcotic pain reliever, and if misused, one might become addicted to it. That is just the way our brains work. Heroin makes you feel “good” by flooding your brain with dopamine and serotonin. Long-term drug use causes your brain to stop producing these “happy” chemicals in a natural way. Quitting heroin might then lead to extreme depression.

Once in the brain, heroin is converted to morphine and quickly binds itself to the opioid receptors. These receptors are located all throughout the brain, in the spinal cord, and in the digestive tract. Heroin users often describe feeling a wave of euphoric sensations or a “rush.” The amount of heroin taken and how quickly it enters the brain determines the intensity of the rush. If your or a teenager you know is using heroin or has a drug problem, contact us about our Evidence-Based Los Angeles Teen Addiction Treatment Programs. Up to 100% of the costs might be covered by insurance.

Common side effects of heroin use are warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, heavy feeling in the extremities, nausea, vomiting, and itching. After the initial effects are gone, users feel tired for several hours, their mental functions are muddled, and both breathing and heart activity slows down substantially. The latter can result in coma and brain damage, meaning that the side effects might be life-threatening.

Symptoms of Overdose

Heroin overdose always begins with the user becoming unconscious as their breathing ceases. Weak blood pressure can be felt. Regardless of the ingestion method, the drug reaches the brain and then slows down the respiratory system until death occurs due to a lack of oxygen.
Another symptom of a heroin overdose is hypoxia. Hypoxia is a condition that occurs when there is a reduction in the amount of oxygen that enters the brain. Short- and long-term psychological and neurological repercussions of hypoxia include organ failure and lifelong brain damage.

How to Get Heroin Out of Your System

Heroin has the highest allowable threshold quantity when it comes to being flagged as positive for drug tests. Although heroin is very addictive, there are several ways to remove it from your system in a short time.
Drinking plenty of water and doing plenty of exercises are the best ways to speed up drug metabolism. The more you sweat, the more rapidly the drugs will leave your body. Our kidneys regularly produce considerable amounts of sodium bicarbonate to flush toxins. Consuming sodium ascorbate will help to detoxify faster. Additionally, increasing the acidity of your system by consuming high doses of vitamin C mixed with baking soda will help you eliminate narcotic metabolites more quickly.

Getting Help for Heroin Abuse and Addiction

Whether a person is an inpatient or outpatient, heroin therapy is incomplete without behavioral and cognitive therapies. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Contingency Management (CM) Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are two examples of mental health interventions that teach people how to navigate the outside world and reintegrate into society.

The therapy for heroin addiction begins with a three-day detox period, during which the addict has given Suboxone or similar medicine to help with withdrawal symptoms. Then there’s a 28-day recovery program that includes drug education, behavior modification, and other forms of treatment. The addict is frequently referred to a sober living facility, often known as a halfway house, for 3 to 6 months of drug-free living in a monitored environment. Following that, the addict is usually advised to attend frequent NA sessions.


Heroin is an extremely addictive substance that drags its users down hard and fast. It might make you feel as if your worries have vanished, but they will be waiting for you when you return from the “high.” The comedowns are gradual and give your mind adequate time to reintegrate with life facts, so you will not perceive this as an issue at first. While you might feel cognitively strained at first, you might also experience a mentally serene high for several days after the drug has left your system early on.
Call us today if you or a teen you know is experiencing adolescent heroin addiction.