How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?

If you find yourself wondering, ‘how long does heroin stay in your system?’ then keep reading this article.

Heroin Addiction

Heroin is a powerful and highly addictive narcotic substance. It has claimed and ruined the lives of millions of people from all walks of life. Due to its addictive nature, many people are interested in the drug’s effects on the body.

As such, searches for “How long does heroin stay in your system?”, “Heroin testing,” “Heroin in system,” and “Heroin in body” are prevalent online.

Please note that this article is not intended to guide anyone to try and deceive heroin testing or mislead tests designed to test heroin in the system. It is merely a guide to inform people of heroin and its effects on the human body.

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What is Heroin?

Heroin is a drug that comes from a flower, the opium poppy, which usually grows in Mexico, Asia, and South America. It’s very addictive and has been illegal in the United States since 1924. It can look like a white or brown powder or a sticky black “tar.” It’s also called horse, smack, junk, and brown sugar, and other various names.
Many people smoke or snort heroin. Most users inject it into their veins. That’s the most dangerous way to take it because it’s easier to overdose, and you can catch a disease from a dirty needle. No matter how you take it, heroin gets to your brain quickly. It’s also easy to get addicted. Even after using it just one or two times, it can be hard to stop yourself from using it again.1

What are the Effects of Heroin?

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System
Once heroin enters the brain, it is converted to morphine and binds rapidly to opioid receptors. As a result, people who use heroin typically report feeling a surge of pleasurable sensation—a “rush.”
The intensity of the rush is a function of how much drug is taken and how rapidly the drug enters the brain and binds to the opioid receptors. With heroin, the rush is usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, a dry mouth, and a heavy feeling in the extremities.
Nausea, vomiting, and severe itching may also occur. After the initial effects, users usually will be drowsy for several hours; mental function is clouded; heart function slows, and breathing is also severely slowed, sometimes enough to be life-threatening. Slowed breathing can also lead to coma and permanent brain damage.2

How is Heroin Processed in the Body?

Heroin binds to and activates specific receptors called mu-opioid receptors (MORs) in the brain. Our bodies contain chemicals called neurotransmitters that bind to these receptors throughout the brain and body to regulate pain, hormone release, and feelings of well-being.
When MORs are activated in the brain’s reward center, they stimulate the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, causing a reinforcement of drug-taking behavior. The consequences of activating opioid receptors with externally administered opioids such as heroin (versus naturally occurring chemicals within our bodies) depend on a variety of factors:

Heroin Testing Methods

Heroin drug test methods vary depending on the individual circumstances. Heroin in the body can be detected relatively easily. For those who arrived here via searches for things like “How long does heroin stay in your system?” and “Heroin testing methods,” please note that there are excellent reasons for it if you are undergoing heroin testing, and you should never attempt to deceive the tests.
Let’s look at the various ways to detect heroin in the system.

Heroin in Urine Test

The urine test is the most common form of drug and alcohol testing. It may be conducted as part of pre-employment screening, randomly, or post-accident by employers, especially for employees in certain occupations. Currently, urinalysis is the only testing method approved for federally-mandated testing.

Heroin in Saliva Test

The mouth swab drug test, also known as a saliva test or oral fluid test, collects a saliva sample from inside a person’s mouth. Mouth swab drug tests remain popular among employers for many reasons: they are less expensive than other drug tests.

Heroin in Hair Follicle Test

The hair test is regarded by many as the best indicator of repeat drug use since it can detect repeat drug use for up to a 90-day window. Since hair testing has a more comprehensive “detection window,” it eliminates the opportunity for people to abstain for several days before being tested to avoid a positive test.4

Heroin in Blood Test

Blood is the sample of choice if you want to measure the drug concentration present when taking the sample. It is used to monitor therapeutic drugs, like anticonvulsants. Because of the irregular use of illicit drugs and the fact that they get eliminated from the blood relatively quickly, it is not the sample of choice to test for suspected illegal drug abuse.5

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System
Heroin is not usually detectable in your urine after around two days. Blood and saliva tests aren’t traditionally used for heroin because it has such a short half-life. Heroin can disappear from blood and saliva in six hours. The best test for heroin is the hair follicle test, which can detect the frug for three or four months.

Factors That Affect Detection Time

When it comes to heroin testing and detecting heroin in systems, several factors affect detection time no matter which method is used.

Symptoms of Heroin Overdose

Heroin is highly addictive, and therefore, overdoses are common. The following are potential symptoms of a heroin overdose.

Get Help for Heroin Addiction at Stillwater Behavioral Health

Stillwater Behavioral Health is a private residential facility offering alcohol and substance abuse treatment. Our addiction treatment is client-focused, and our approach is holistic and individualized. Our goal is to successfully treat individuals suffering from addiction in an authentic, caring, dignified, and consistent manner using proven techniques that deliver measurable results.

Our approach to treating addiction focuses on the whole individual – mind, body, and spirit. We teach mindfulness, self-awareness, and reflection and believe exercise and nutrition are essential elements of healing.7

We have extensive experience treating heroin addiction and offer interventions, detoxing, therapies, and inpatient and outpatient care. Should you or a loved one require our help, please contact us today.