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How Long Is Heroin In Your System?

How Long Is Heroin In Your System?

Since the beginning of the opioid epidemic in the late 1990s, more and more people are becoming addicted to opioids like morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and heroin.

Heroin is one of the most deadly and commonly abused substances in the United States. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified heroin as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no medical use and a high potential for abuse. It's known for its intense physical and mental side effects.

As a drug and alcohol treatment center in Boca, we know many people have wondered, “how long is heroin in your system?” and we have your answers.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is a diamorphine and a semi-synthetic opioid that is derived from the opium poppy plant and made from morphine. It can be injected, snorted, or smoked like methamphetamine and cocaine. Many people actually mix heroin and crack cocaine, a practice referred to as speedballing. Like other opioids, heroin works by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain, activating the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These are chemical messengers that allow neurons in the brain to communicate. When these specific ones are activated, a person may experience a sense of euphoria and pleasure. The physical and psychological effects of heroin are what trap users and cause addiction.

The short-term effects of heroin include:

  • Intense euphoric feeling
  • Flushed skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Heavy feeling in the arms and legs
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Slowed breathing

The long-term effects of heroin include:

  • Addiction
  • Changes in brain structure
  • Deterioration of white brain matter
  • Decreased decision-making abilities
  • Increased risk of contracting diseases like HIV, AIDS, and hepatitis

Heroin can cause breathing to slow down severely and even stop completely, which could lead to coma and brain damage. Chronic heroin abuse increases the user’s risk of suffering from an overdose, coma, and other health problems. Because of its potency and a high potential for abuse, individuals who develop a heroin use disorder often require formal addiction treatment to recover. At Banyan Treatment Centers Boca, we offer a heroin detox that addresses withdrawal symptoms and alleviates addiction cravings, helping the individual move forward in their recovery.

How Long Do the Effects of Heroin Last?

Because heroin is usually sold on the streets, its potency may vary. Sellers and manufacturers often include cutting agents or additives that are similar in appearance in order to gain more profit from less product. Because heroin sold on the streets can contain a variety of cutting agents, its side effects may vary. The effects of heroin usually begin almost immediately, with the initial surge of euphoria only lasting a few minutes. Its additional side effects may last for another two hours and may completely wear off after five hours. The longevity and intensity of symptoms may depend on the dose taken, whether the person has used heroin before, and the period in between doses.

The negative effects of heroin are highly addictive, making it a difficult substance to stop using. At Banyan Boca, we offer an effective heroin addiction treatment that offers patients a safe opportunity to recover from heroin and achieve long-lasting sobriety.

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?

So how long is heroin in your system? Heroin has a half-life of half an hour, meaning that it would take 30 minutes for it to be reduced by half in a person’s system. How long heroin stays in your system depends on the dose and your history of heroin abuse. Simply put, heroin could last up to an hour in a person’s system. How long heroin can be detected in certain drug tests also varies.

  • Blood: one to five hours after the last dose (least reliable drug test for heroin detection)
  • Urine: can be detected one to four days after the last dose
  • Saliva: can be detected for five to six hours after the last dose
  • Hair: can be detected for three to six months

Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs in the world. It’s a dangerous substance that has caused nothing but physical and mental damage to many of its users. If you or someone you know has fallen victim to heroin abuse, we can help. Call us today at 888-280-4763 for more information about our levels of care.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
How Long Is Heroin In Your System?
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