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How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System? Withdrawal and Detox

One of the most addictive drugs on the planet, heroin is a very scary substance. The drug takes over addicts’ lives, as they need to constantly re-up their supply to avoid withdrawing. Typically withdrawal begins within 12 hours of the addict’s last heroin fix. But that’s only the beginning. How long does it take for heroin to fully leave your system? 

Heroin Source 

Because heroin is an illicit, illegal substance there is no oversight when it comes to quality, purity, potency, as well as what it may be mixed with. This is one of the reasons heroin is so incredibly dangerous, particularly as it is commonly used intravenously. A user has no way of knowing what they are getting, aside from the word of their dealer who often has no idea how the drug was made or by whom. 

In recent years, the United States has seen a significant spike in heroin overdoses due to the drug being laced with Fentanyl. Fentanyl is an opiate that is 50 to 100 times stronger than Morphine and users (and even dealers) typically have no idea it is in their drug supply until it is too late. 

How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your System?

Heroin has a short half-life of around 30 minutes. This means in roughly 30 minutes, half the drug is removed from the system.

The exact time it takes depends on the individual and a number of factors such as: 

  • Age
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Body Mass Index
  • Metabolism Rate
  • Amount of heroin taken
  • Quality of heroin taken
  • Liver and kidney health
  • Hydration levels
  • Tolerance
  • Medical conditions

Drug Testing for Heroin

Depending on the method of testing, heroin will show up anywhere from a few days to several months later.

Saliva Test: up to 1 hour

Blood Test: up to 6 hours

Urine Test: up to 3 days

Hair Test: up to 90 days

Withdrawal Period 

The exact time it takes to fully withdraw depends on the person. Factors such as how long they have been using, the way they use, their typical dose, and body chemistry will all affect how a person detoxes heroin. 

For most people, the worst withdrawal symptoms will occur during the first week after the last dose. However, heavy and long-term users’ symptoms may extend longer. Heroin withdrawal symptoms can include: 

  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Runny nose
  • Sweats
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle spasms
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Severe cravings
  • Difficulty breathing

Withdrawal from heroin can be dangerous. It is best done in an addiction treatment center under the care of medical professionals. Furthermore, symptoms of heroin withdrawal can be managed through medication, making the process safer and more comfortable. 

Getting Help

If you or a loved one are struggling with heroin addiction, please do not hesitate to seek the help you need. Detoxing in a professional clinical environment can give you the support you need in order to come off the drug safely and effectively. Treatment can also provide the tools, education, and support to achieve long-term recovery. Call us today and see how we can help you live the life you deserve. 

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