How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your System?

How long heroin stays in your system depends on a variety of factors including weight, age, and metabolism.

How long heroin stays in your system depends on a variety of factors including weight, age, and metabolism.

Whether heroin is detected or not can also depend on the type of drug test used. Some tests can detect the presence of heroin only an hour after last use, while others can detect the substance up to 48 hours, or even 90 days, later.

Heroin Metabolites

Heroin is an illegal opioid drug that is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance by the FDA and DEA. When used, it’s broken down by the kidneys and into heroin’s metabolites, 6-MAM/6-AM (6-monoacetylmorphine/6-acetylmorphine) and morphine.

The tests that detect heroin in your system actually detect those metabolites, not the drug itself. This is the case for most drug tests.

Factors Affecting How Long Heroin Stays In Your System

Heroin has a short half-life of only 2-8 minutes. This means that half of the drug will have been broken down in that amount of time. But while that length of time is standard, it can change based on several factors including:

  • body mass
  • drug interactions
  • length of addiction
  • liver problems
  • ​hydration levels
  • rate of metabolism
  • age
  • dosage volume

Types Of Drug Tests & Heroin Detection Times

Several forms of drug testing can be used to detect recent heroin use. The tests have different methods and different detection times. The testing methods include:

Saliva Test

A saliva test can produce a positive result 60 minutes after last use. This test is rarely used to test for heroin because of the short detection time. However, it’s very accurate.

Urine Test

A urine test can detect heroin up to 48 hours after last use. This is the most common type of test, as well as the cheapest and least invasive.

Hair Follicle Test

A hair follicle test can detect heroin metabolites up to 90 days after the last dose. If someone has used heroin for a long time, it could be detected in a person’s system for an even longer period of time.

Blood Test

A blood test can produce a positive result for heroin 60 minutes after last use. These tests are likely only used in a medical emergency. Since the detection time is relatively short, they aren’t used often.

How To Stop Using Heroin

Quitting heroin is an important step in recovery but quitting cold turkey is not recommended. Heroin withdrawal symptoms that come with quitting can be very serious and it’s important to have healthcare professionals nearby to treat any severe issues.

Several heroin addiction treatment options exist, including:

  • medical detox: when entering a detox program, you will be medically supervised to address any serious withdrawal symptoms that may occur
  • inpatient treatment: while you stay at a residential treatment center, you receive both behavioral and mental health treatment
  • outpatient care: outpatient treatment provides similar treatment as inpatient care but allows you to stay at home when you’re not in therapy or support group sessions

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse or another form of substance abuse, we offer a wide range of outpatient treatment programs. Please call our helpline today to learn more about Northeast Addictions Treatment Center.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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