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How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your System?

How long does heroin stay in your system? | Just Believe Recovery PA

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How long does heroin stay in your system? Knowing this information is helpful in dealing with people who have abused the drug, or potential overdoses.

Heroin is an opiate drug that is created from morphine. It’s considered an illegal substance in the U.S., but it’s prescribed to patients on a limited basis in other countries such as the United Kingdom, Canada, and the Netherlands.

Knowing how long heroin will stay in your system is helpful if you are taking other medications. Heroin is classified as a Schedule I substance which means it has a high risk of addiction or overdose. This classification also means that, according to the United States, the substance has no official medical use.

Understanding Half-life

Prescription drugs and illegal substances have something known as a half-life. This is the amount of time it takes for the dosage that’s in your system to reduce by half the amount. This half-life changes depending on the substance.

In the case of heroin, the half-life is short. This causes heroin to be very fast-acting and can sometimes make it difficult to detect heroin via drug screening.

How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your System?

The length of time heroin stays in the system can vary. Individual factors like height, weight, metabolism, exercise level, body type, body chemistry, etc. can all play a factor in determining how long heroin stays in your system. However, there are some general guidelines.

Heroin works instantly after being injected into the bloodstream. The effects last for about 30 minutes, but the drug can stay in your system for 24 to 96 hours as it breaks down. Once the effects wear off heroin doesn’t immediately leave the body. Remnants of the substance called metabolites are what causes heroin to remain in your system for 1 to 4 days after taking it.

In addition to the metabolites taking days to process, heroin can also remain in certain parts of the body for a long period of time. Substances like marijuana behave similarly in that they stay in certain body tissues longer than others. For example, if someone has smoked marijuana it may not show up on a urine test after 3 days, but the chemical compounds within marijuana can be stored in hair follicles for up to a year.

Heroin works in much the same way. It can stay in the blood for up to six hours, urine for up to 3 days, saliva for up to 24 hours, and hair for up to 90 days.

The length of time heroin can be detected in the system is very important for drug screening. Urine tests are the most popular option for drug screening. This is because they are the simplest to administer, and the most cost-effective. Heroin can only be detected in these types of tests for 1 to 4 days after being taken.

Experts have discovered that a particular type of blood test, the 6-AM assay test, is effective for detecting the metabolites of heroin within the blood. The ability of this test to detect the metabolites of heroin makes it a very useful test for medical professionals and researchers. The test’s detailed results will enable us to tell the difference between recreational heroin use and the use of heroin as therapy for relief of pain symptoms.

Testing the saliva has approved to be more effective than urine tests in some cases. The challenge with saliva screens, however, is that they need to be administered fairly quickly.

Conducting screening tests for heroin on a user’s hair may be a much better indicator of long-term use. The drug can stay in a person’s hair follicles for up to 90 days, but this window may be even longer in people who have used the drug for an extended period of time.

Screening for heroin, and other substances, has come a long way but it’s still not perfect. People who undergo drug screens can still get false positive results. Sometimes this is caused by eating certain types of foods.

Poppy seeds have low levels of opiates in them, and can cause false positive test results when screening for heroin. The seeds contain levels of codeine and morphine, but processing the seeds removes most of these substances. However, the small amount of them left in the seed is just enough to cause a false positive test result.

These seeds can cause a false positive results within 2 hours of consuming them, and can be found by a urine test for up to 60 hours after eating them.

Feeling The Effects of Heroin

In addition to knowing how long does heroin stay in your system, it helps to know how long it takes for heroin to take effect. This can be difficult to tell because heroin is manufactured illegally. Because it’s being made on the street, batches of heroin can differ greatly in purity and potency. It’s also difficult to tell what other substances the heroin has been mixed with.

Generally, taking heroin will produce a rush of euphoric feelings, followed by a much more sedated, drowsy stage. The initial euphoric rush can last anywhere between 45 seconds and several minutes. Once a user has transitioned into the sedated stage of the high, known as the “twilight” stage, these effects can last several hours.

Along with the euphoric and sedative stages, users experience negative physical side effects. These can include constricted pupils, nausea, dry mouth, flushed skin, and feelings of heavy hands and feet.

Heroin And The Body

Heroin’s half-life can be anywhere from 2 to 6 minutes. That means half of the dosage someone has taken will have left their body in that amount of time. This is much faster than the half-life of traditional morphine.

When heroin is broken down within the bloodstream, it breaks down into two distinctly different forms of morphine: traditional morphine and 6-acetyl morphine. Acetyl-6 morphine is a fast-acting derivative of morphine, and its half-life is only 25 minutes. Traditional morphine can stay in the bloodstream for up to 7 hours. Medical professionals say a drug is completely eliminated from the system after 4 or 5 half-life cycles.

The Effects of Heroin

Although 6-acetyl morphine and heroin are forms of traditional morphine, they behave much differently. 6-acetyl morphine and heroin are more readily-absorbed into the brain. Once absorbed by the brain, these substances go to work on brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters. Most notably, heroin and 6-acetyl morphine affect the neurotransmitters associated with pain suppression, depressed breathing, drowsiness, dysphoria, euphoria, delusions, and hallucinations.

Wrapping Up

Heroin can be difficult to trace because of its short half-life. The drug enters the body quickly, and depending on the drug screen administered, can leave the body just the same. Now that we’ve answered “how long does heroin last in your system” you can use this knowledge to help get your loved ones, or yourself if need be, the treatment they deserve.

If treatment for abuse of heroin, or any other substance, sounds like the best next step for you or your family, contact Just Believe today for more information.

We Believe Recovery Is Possible For Everyone.
If you or a loved one needs help with substance abuse and/or treatment, please contact Just Believe Recovery PA at (888) 380-0342. Our recovery specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.
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