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How Long Does Heroin Stay in your System? Know the Facts

How Long Does Heroin Stay in your System? Know the Facts

Heroin, also referred to as Diamorphine is a commonly abused opiate drug that is completely illegal and comes under the category of ‘banned substances’. It is a highly addictive drug that is purely used for recreational purpose as it causes intense euphoric effect upon intake in heavy amount or dosage. It is one of the most abused drugs worldwide and comes in the form of white or brown powder. Injecting, smoking, snorting or inhaling Heroin brings about a euphoric feeling that is characterized by strong feelings of content, relaxation and dizziness. Its addictive nature and damaging effect brings it under the category of ‘Schedule 1 drug’ in the United States of America which means that it has NO certified medical use. It is therefore labeled as a prohibited substance as carrying, possessing or using this narcotic can lead you into serious trouble when being apprehended by the Federal agencies such as the Narcotics Control Bureau or the law enforcement agencies. It is regarded as one of the most addictive and potent drugs in the world. A very interesting feature about this drug is that Heroin’s half-time is considered to be only 30 minutes long which means that the concentration of Heroin level in blood is reduced to half its original value within half-an-hour of consumption.

Damaging Effects of Heroin

Heroin is a deadly drug that directly affects the functioning of the brain and once it enters the bloodstream, it heads directly to the brain, overpowering the critical elements of decision making. Heroin addiction stems from the fact that when there is a lack of natural euphoric feeling, it leads to the addiction of this drug and this is certainly the root cause. Since an individual cannot produce this feeling by himself, one has to produce this feeling artificially and it is the brain that takes the first big hit. If you are using Heroin, it’s time to call it a quit or else you’re going to be a loser in every aspect of life.

How Long Does Heroin Stay in the Body?

Since heroin is an opiate drug, it enters the bloodstream very easily and thereafter goes on to accumulate in the fat tissues of the body until one chooses to go for a detoxification process which involves a series of steps. Therefore, it needs to be understood that if accumulates in the fat tissue, it will continue to enter the bloodstream, slowly and steadily. It is therefore a clear indicative that your system holds on to this drug for a considerably longer period of time but that doesn’t always show up in the drug test. Since this drug has a short half-life, it can hardly be detected in the body fluids after 5-6 hours but only a hair follicle test can detect the presence of heroin in your body even after months or years.

What are the Symptoms of Heroin Overdose?

If you have ingested too much of Heroin, the symptoms are loud and visible:

  • Very pale skin tone
  • Shallow breaths
  • Gasping for hair
  • Discolored tongue
  • Low blood pressure

Physical Dangers of Heroin

  • Kidney failure
  • Liver failure
  • Heart disorder
  • Skin infections
  • HIV
  • Hepatitis
  • Miscarriage
  • Infertility in Women

Heroin Detection Tests in the System – Options

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

This is one of the most authentic Heroin testing methods followed by urinalysis as the presence of Heroin can be detected even after many months of last intake by the way of hair follicle test. The reason given by clinical experts is that many drugs, especially Heroin stays in the hair for about three months and even more.


Usually, Heroin can be detected in a urine test for a minimum of two to three hours or for a maximum of 2-3 days depending upon the dosage or purity of the substance. But in cases relating to excess intake and heavy usage, it can be detected in the urine for as long as 7 days until it is flushed out from your system completely.


Blood test is the most common way to detect the presence of Heroin in an individual’s system but it is not at all reliable as it can leave a person’s bloodstream in a matter of 5-6 hours.

Factors Affecting Duration of Drug in the Body
  • The user’s weight and height – The physical built of a person determines what is the maximum amount of drug a person can take before he / she gets to the ‘high’. The body built also determines as to how long the drug is going to be detectable in the individual’s system. Person with a small body frame and physique may find that the drug remains in their body for a considerable period when compared to well built individuals.
  • The dosage of Heroin consumed – More the intake of Heroin, the longer it stays in your system. The purity of the drug is also a key factor in determining as to how long the drug is going to stay in the body / system. The purest form of heroin without any “cuts” is certainly more potent than the adulterated version and that stays in your blood for a longer time compared to the “cut” version.
  • The speed of metabolism – A person with a healthy metabolic activity, with a good bowel movement and who exercises regularly may find that the traces of Heroin diminish real fast from his / her system upon the last intake. This is solely because a healthy body is able to detoxify the substance at a much faster rate when compared to an unhealthy body with a low rate of metabolism or metabolic activity.

However, it needs to be understood that the actual time taken for an individual to get the drug flushed out from his / her system naturally also depends upon some additional factors and they are: Body mass, height & weight,Age, Metabolism rate, Fat content in the body (Trans-fats), Dosage of drug, Purity of drug, Health of liver and kidneys, Hydration mechanism in a body.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

The physical and psychological effects of Heroin withdrawal is experienced by the body that faces a sudden jolt due to the deprivation of the drug which the body or system was accustomed to and therefore the symptoms may vary from one individual to the other. The painful symptoms of Heroin withdrawal peaks up precisely after 3-4 of the last drug intake and starts to fade away gradually after 7-8 days. For hardcore addicts and long term users, the Heroin withdrawal symptoms may even last for months and this is when a specialist care and treatment is required.

Detox is the first step in any Heroin recovery program. The full recovery often takes a much longer time as various therapeutic treatment addressing the core underlying issues are undertaken by a professional drug rehab center without ignoring the conventional “12 Steps Approach” which is a standard treatment procedure. A holistic approach is required in treating chronic Heroin addiction and that ensure complete recovery.



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