Metabolism is another contributing factor. Someone with a higher metabolism will find the amount of heroin in their system diminishes quicker than someone who has a slower metabolism.
Unfortunately, when asking, “How long does heroin stay in your system,” there isn’t a precise time frame in which someone can have heroin in their body following use as many factors come into play in determining the detection time of the drug. The half-life is a half-hour, but the last half of the drug can last several more hours depending on the circumstances during use.
How Long is Heroin Detectable in A Person’s Body?
One of the most common questions asked by friends, family, and loved ones of heroin users is how long heroin is detectable. Meaning, how much time does someone have to drug test their loved one to find out if they are using heroin. Some drug users ask the same question. They want to know how long they should avoid drug tests following use, which is what makes this information both helpful and dangerous. Worry and fear surrounding heroin use and an impending drug test could be signs of a much deeper problem with heroin addiction. If you or someone you love is trying to avoid or cheat a drug test for fear of failing it because they have a problem with heroin, call St. John’s Recovery Place at 833-397-3422 to learn about heroin addiction recovery options.
Heroin tests come in many forms, and some of them have more power and sensitivity than others. For example, a hair test, urine test, blood test, or saliva test can be used. Each one is FDA-approved for drug testing for heroin, which means any place of business or any medical facility can use the tests to find out if someone is using drugs.
The most sensitive test is the hair follicle test. It has the ability to show a positive result for heroin use for up to three months following use. However, the timeframe does depend on each person specifically. When using a blood test or a saliva test to find out if a person is using heroin, a positive result might only occur within 12 hours of drug use.
A urine test is slightly more sensitive. It can detect drug use up to three days after a drug was used. It’s one of the most common methods of drug testing in medical facilities and places of business where employers check their employees for drug use. It is also the most cost-effective way to test for drug use, which is why so many people choose this method over any other.
How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your Saliva?
If you’re wondering how long heroin can be detected in saliva, the answer mostly depends on the frequency of use. The 30 minute half-life of heroin makes this drug difficult to detect in saliva after 6 hours. However, users will often repeat heroin use several times a day making a saliva drug test likely to show up positive unless they stop using for a full period of 12 hours or more.
How long heroin is detectable in saliva may vary slightly based on whether the user is heavily hydrated or certain other factors. Generally, heroin is eliminated from the saliva within between 5 and 6 hours but saliva drug tests for heroin vary in their ability to capture someone’s drug use. The short detection window with saliva drug tests cause most employers, probation offices, and other programs that test for heroin to use urine tests or hair follicle tests to determine the presence of heroin in your system as these methods provide a substantially longer detection window.
How Long Does Heroin Stay in Urine?
Heroin is detectable in urine for substantially longer than it can be detected by a saliva or blood test. Heroin will stay in your urine for up to 7 days following your last use. Generally, it’s not the heroin in your urine at this time though, it’s metabolites that your body creates as it works to break down the heroin from your system.
Most drug tests do not seek to detect heroin in your urine but instead, search for the active metabolites that your body creates in the process of metabolizing the drug. You may think that heroin will not show up on a urine drug test if you drink more water or if you exercise more, but that is generally untrue. Drinking too much water will cause your drug test to be considered “diluted” which is considered a failed test just as if you would fail for the test actively detecting heroin in your pee. It’s just as bad to fail for a diluted test as it is to fail for having heroin in your system.
Some urine drug tests for heroin use will stop detecting the metabolites after 72 hours. So, generally, when you ask, “how long does heroin stay in the system,” you can expect an answer close to 72 hours for a urine test. Most urine drug tests can detect heroin in your system for at least that long. Frequency of heroin use can result in longer detection windows for a urine screen or other methods of drug testing.
If you or someone you know uses heroin, your best bet is to refrain from heroin use if you have an upcoming urine test or another form of drug screen for work or some other need. Wondering how long heroin will be in your system is a sign that you may be struggling with a deeper problem that needs help. For heroin addiction treatment options, including heroin detox, call St. John’s Recovery Place.
What Happens When A Person Stops Using Heroin?
When a person stops using heroin, there are negative withdrawal symptoms. The longer a person is using the drug, the more prominent and serious the withdrawal symptoms are. However, even someone who has only used this drug once or twice can go through withdrawal symptoms following use, as heroin is so powerful. The symptoms might not be as severe, but they are still present. The withdrawal symptoms are also a common reason why so many people continue to use the drug. The awful withdrawal symptoms can be so bad, even in casual heroin users, that users seek the high the drug gives them mainly to ward off symptoms of withdrawal.
- Abdominal pain
- Sweating and shaking
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle spasms
- Severe mood swings
The physical effects of heroin withdrawal are difficult, and they are at their worst approximately three to four days after a heroin user last used the drug. These symptoms can begin anytime after use, but they are usually present in the first 12 hours. Unfortunately, withdrawal side effects last up to a week. Many people see their symptoms begin to improve approximately one week after their last drug use, but severe users with long-term substance abuse can still experience certain symptoms months following the last time they used the drug.
How Long to Get Heroin Out of Your System?
Unfortunately, there is no way to get heroin out of your system any faster than it would naturally be eliminated. Heroin will be eliminated gradually at a rate of approximately 3-7 days for the entire dose to be eliminated. While the half-life of heroin, or the amount of time it takes for half of the dose to be eliminated, is only 30 minutes, it takes the body significantly longer to eliminate all of the metabolites that are created as heroin is metabolized by the body.
As a result, a drug test for heroin, whether a urine test or saliva test, will show metabolites left behind in the excretion. Metabolites left behind as the drug is broken down by the body can be picked up by a standard drug screening for 72 hours or more. Users that frequently take heroin are likely to fail a drug test for up to a week.
Contrary to popular belief, you cannot drink water or vinegar or other solubles to eliminate heroin or its metabolites from your system. In fact, if you are concerned about getting heroin out of your system, you may want to consider looking deeper within and focusing more on the presence of addiction. If you’re addicted to heroin, rather than try to find ways to get heroin out of your system, consider finding a way to stop using it altogether. Treatment options exist, and help is available. Call St. John’s Recovery Place at 833-397-3422 to learn more about heroin addiction treatment and our heroin detox programs.
Getting Help for Heroin Abuse
Heroin use comes with many downsides in addition to physical addiction. Heroin is expensive, and it can cause a person to develop financial problems. Many heroin users lose their jobs, they lose their home, and they push their friends and family away. Many people who use drugs become withdrawn from society, and they end up turning to a life of crime to help support their substance abuse.
It’s entirely possible to get help for a heroin user even when they are not ready for help, but it’s better to find help when a person is ready to change their life. Treatment plans come in all shapes and sizes, and they are designed individually for each heroin user who wants to find the help and support they need to regain control of their life. When a person has a heroin abuse problem, they have little control over their own bodies and their own minds. They can become completely controlled by the drug, and it’s often impossible for someone to quit using heroin without the support of a proper substance abuse treatment facility.
Call St Johns Recovery Place if you or someone you love is abusing heroin and may be ready to get the help necessary to enter recovery. Recovery is a lifelong choice an individual makes each day, and finding the right program, the right treatment, and the right support can increase a user’s chance of a successful recovery.