Interested to find out "how long does heroin stay in your system?" There are many ways to figure that out. But luckily, Transcend Recovery Community made the search easier for you by giving you a comprehensive rundown of all you need to know about heroin. Read along and find out more in the following paragraphs.
How Long Does Heroin Last in the Body and by Type of Drug Tests?
There are many ways to identify how long heroin occurs in the body. Most standard drug tests, such as blood and saliva tests, are currently used for drug screening to determine whether substance abuse was present in the body.
Advanced tests or drug testing, such as urine tests and hair tests better understand the presence of heroin metabolites and are required for a thorough examination, especially for diagnosis and for standard screening used for schools or at work.
The specific tests mentioned below offer a corresponding duration of heroin within someone's system. However, factors like half-life may play an important role in the accuracy of drug screenings.
Heroin in Urine Tests
Given heroin's short half-life, you can no longer detect heroin in a person's urine just within 2 days. But certain drug tests can detect a positive result for up to 7 days
Heroin in Hair Follicle Tests
Sampling hair follicles or a hair follicle test may prove to be the most conclusive testing medium to detect heroin. Most often, it can detect the presence of the drug for at least 3 months before the last dose. So regardless if you've quit using it for months, it may still come up in your test.
Heroin in Saliva Tests
Drug screenings that involve oral fluids (saliva or spit) are the least conclusive when identifying "how long does heroin stay in the body." Sometimes it will only take a couple of hours for traces of heroin to be completely gone.
Heroin Detection in Blood Tests
Blood tests also offer inconclusive results for heroin detection. Unfortunately, due to its shorter half-life, heroin may start to become undetectable after 5 to 6 hours.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is a type of opioid derived from the poppy flower. The National Institute on Drug Addiction & Abuse classifies it as a controlled substance and has become illegal in the US as early as 1924. It is commonly known as "horse," "smack," "junk," and "brown sugar."
Once it enters the body, heroin is processed into 6-acetyl morphine and morphine. It translates to a particularly short half-life of only 2 to 6 minutes.
People ingest heroin in several ways, such as injection, snorting, or smoking. Others may even mix it with other dangerous substances like crack cocaine which is called "speedballing."
With constant use, it may trigger long-term irreparable damage such as liver and kidney disease, respiratory complications, cardiovascular diseases, and gastrointestinal problems. People may also encounter a medical emergency due to a fatal overdose.
Determining Factors on How Long Heroin Stays in Your System
As Heroin enters your body, many things may happen, including experiencing adverse effects that may alter one's mental state. It goes straight to our brain's opioid receptors, which then trigger the body to break down the chemical.
The rate and duration of Heroin inside the body vary from person to person. Since we are all built uniquely, it comes as no surprise that some people may experience a longer or shorter half-life post-heroin use.
But if you're wondering "how long does heroin stay in your system," the best way to assess that duration is through various factors as narrated below.
- Increased dosage - Similar to addictive drugs, like Fentanyl, a drug test can detect Heroin metabolites if you take it in large amounts.
- Frequency of dosage - Individuals suffering from a substance use disorder may be at risk of having large heroin build-up inside their bodies. As their bodies accumulate more of the drug due to regular use, it would be harder for the body to rid itself of this highly addictive chemical.
- The health of kidney and liver - If you have a failing kidney and liver, you would naturally expect poorer excretion of the substances as these vital organs would take a longer time to process them than individuals who have quite a healthy liver and kidney.
- Metabolic rate - People with faster metabolism can without a doubt process opioid drugs faster than those with a slower metabolism.
It's important for people who are currently undergoing rehabilitation programs in treatment centers to talk carefully with a clinical professional to understand how they can better respond to a detoxification regimen given to them.
Drug addiction recovery may seem tough during the first few weeks, but constant support from loved ones and solid backing from trained and licensed professionals make everything more tolerable and easier.
What Happens When You Stop Taking Heroin?
Constant substance abuse is related to how Heroin influences the reward system of the brain. As this happens, it forms tolerance in the user to the drug's effects through time. But what if you decided to go "cold turkey" and quit altogether?
It may trigger a series of reactions that will ultimately yield painful and often quite uncomfortable symptoms related to Heroin withdrawal. People who are currently undergoing the treatment process often have a hard time as they transition to withdrawal from the drug.
What usually happens is that a user may feel the following symptoms when undergoing withdrawal.
- gastrointestinal issues
- stomach aches
- mental health-related issues such as:
- sadness or a depressive state
- physical signs, such as:
- intense craving for heroin
- extreme sweating
- extreme muscular pain
Taking charge of your treatment process is challenging, especially for people who are receiving addiction treatment for the first time. Apart from receiving proper medication management, individuals can manage their withdrawal symptoms with these quick and easy tips:
- Seek the guidance of a sober mentor or the wisdom of a loved one during these difficult times.
- Drink enough water as proper hydration is crucial in helping your body to heal properly and to curb any cravings.
- Incorporate relaxation techniques in your lifestyle to slow down thoughts, regulate your breathing and reduce feelings of anxiety.
About Heroin Addiction and Drug Abuse
Heroin abuse can drastically change a person's system and life altogether. But before arriving at this situation, it's important to consider what triggered or has driven them to resort to addiction.
A treatment provider or certified addiction professional can better understand their patient's unique case, and ascertain the appropriate heroin addiction treatment options once they can identify the cause for their resort to drug use. Here are some of the common factors.
- Mental health woes - even before someone realizes that they indeed suffer from a psychological issue such as PTSD or depression, heroin use has become their bandaid solution to numb the pain
- Failure - people who have undergone their worst failures in life be it in their relationships or careers may find themselves seeking solace from a single dose of this drug. It leads to a potential addiction at bay.
- Environmental factors - individuals who are surrounded by addiction (users, peddlers, or living on the bad side of town) are more prone to developing substance use disorder as they have convenient access to more heroin.
An individual must talk to their professional treatment provider carefully and discuss these for better understanding about supportive living and recommend the appropriate inpatient or outpatient drug rehab option.
How To Get Help from Heroin Addiction?
Individuals suffering from constant addiction to heroin may find treatment programs from American addiction centers nationwide. Chances are there's probably a location near you that can assist you for luxury sober living.
Transcend Recovery Community has several locations in the country from Los Angeles, to Houston. You can talk to a medical professional to better ascertain if an individualized intensive program (IIP) or an outpatient program is suitable for your specific need.
Sometimes, when rehabilitation is almost over, staying at recovery apartments may determine the success of a program as some individuals react positively when staying in communities with like-minded people who help them with their recovery journey.
Detoxification is not just the main part of the recovery process when seeking addiction help. A holistic approach is introduced incorporating key aspects of an individual to ensure optimal recovery. They may engage in life-skills training, art, and music therapy, and support groups, that may shape them better especially when they transition post-rehab.
Help a loved one get back on track. Contact our recovery specialist today and help them find back their way to life-long sobriety.