How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?

Heroin is a commonly abused opiate that has no medical purpose. If you have been abusing this drug, or know someone who does, having a better understanding of how it functions in the body can help you make appropriate decisions about recovery. And if you have a loved one who is abusing heroin, understanding the various factors that determine how long heroin is detectable in the body can help you overcome challenges pertaining to drug testing conducted privately, by a rehab facility, or by the justice system.

*Heroin Testing Options

Heroin can be detected in the body by using the following tests:

  • Hair follicle test
  • Urine test
  • Blood test
  • Saliva test

Interestingly, depending upon the test used, the length of time that heroin is detectable in the body after use varies.

Detecting Heroin Through Drug Testing

The drug tests mentioned above have been approved by the FDA, and can detect heroin in the body after use. However, some tests will show a positive result for heroin abuse for a far longer duration than others.

If you suspect that your loved one is using heroin, it may be essential to carefully time their drug test, or choose one of the more accurate methods if you want a truthful result.

Hair follicle testing is considered one of the more accurate methods of testing for opiate abuse, as it can show that there’s heroin in a user’s system for up to three months after use. Blood and saliva tests are both about equal in that heroin use can only be detected in the body for 12 hours after use, at most. Urine tests have slightly more longevity, and are a simple, cost-effective method that is used quite often. Heroin may still appear positive on a urine test conducted up to three days after the last instance of abuse. However, it’s also possible that heroin taken as little as two hours prior to the test will no longer be detectable.

Effectively, the type of test used is what determines how long heroin lasts in the body from a drug detecting perspective. Although, there are some additional factors that apply, such as:

  • The heroin user’s height and weight. The size of a person determines how much drug use needs to occur before that individual gets high, and it also determines how long the drug will be detectable in their system. A smaller person may find that the drug remains in their body for a longer period of time.
  • The amount consumed by the heroin user. It’s a fair rule of thumb to say that the more heroin you take, the longer it could potentially last in your system. The quality of the drug also makes a contribution, as the same applies to more potent heroin, regardless of quantity.
  • The speed of an individual’s metabolism. Someone with a faster metabolism who exercises heavily will find that detectable heroin leaves his or her system much faster. This is because the body is able to detoxify itself of any toxins at a faster pace.

The Duration of Heroin Withdrawal

If you are wondering how long heroin stays in your system so you know what to expect from drug recovery, then there is no simple answer. The withdrawal that occurs after you’ve stopped using heroin is not directly linked to its presence in your system. In fact, the withdrawal symptoms occur once the heroin is no longer effective. According to the National Institutes of Health, the length of opiate withdrawal symptoms can range from days to months. But it’s fair to anticipate that you (or your family member) will experience some acute discomfort from withdrawal for about a week.

Treating Heroin Abuse

If you were looking for more information on how long heroin stays in your system because you were hoping to pass a mandatory drug test, consider exploring the many treatment options that are available to you. Rather than trying to beat a test, you could get your life and health back from addictive behavior. You can call us anytime for more information.