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How Long Does Heroin Last in the Body?

Heroin addiction does not only affect the individual using the drug, but also affects their loved ones, their friends, family, children, jobs, neighbors, community, and even society. Heroin is so heavily addictive because it releases dopamine in the brain causing a big rush of euphoria and then later, feelings of sleepiness that last for hours.

How long does heroin last in the system?

There are many factors discussed below that show that you cannot directly determine how long heroin may last in someone’s body. Effects of heroin include small pupils, itchy eyes, secretive behavior, and flu like symptoms between uses.

How Long Does It Take to Feel Effects?

Heroin creates a euphoric rush that leads to hours of drowsiness. The effects of heroin and how long it takes for effects to show depend on the quality of the drug and how its administered into your body.

When injecting heroin, you will feel effects start after about 20 seconds and these effects last for about four hours. If you smoke heroin, the high lasts about one hour longer and takes about ten minutes to feel effects.

How long does the heroin rush last?

Feelings of euphoria last for about two hours, while the rest of the high leaves you feeling sedated and tired for hours.

How Does Heroin Affect the Body?

Heroin first affects our body by affecting our brain. Dopamine in the brain becomes released when you take heroin, causing happy and excited feelings. Heroin changes the way we regulate pain, release hormones, and changes our feelings.

Using heroin creates a wide variety of psychological, emotional, and physical problems because opioid receptors in our brain bind to heroin, and these receptors are located in the brain, brain stem, spinal cord, lung, and intestines.

Heroin has a very high potential for addiction which can lead to many long-term problems, coma, or permanent brain damage. To protect our brain and body from these effects, it’s crucial to stay away from heroin if you have not used it yet, and if you have, its time to seek treatment.

How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal Last?

Withdrawal from drugs varies based on the drug and how much of it is in your system, but sometimes it can be very severe. Withdrawal symptoms typically occur after dependence and tolerance have occurred and are sometimes why individuals continue to use, as to avoid the withdrawal symptoms.

How long does heroin withdrawal last?

Heroin withdrawal symptoms persist for up to a week and can be mild to severe. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Muscle spasm
  • Cravings

Medically assisted detoxification is the most direct way to detox from heroin and has medical professionals ease your pain with medications.


A urine test is one way that medical professionals detect heroin in the body. This test can spot heroin in the system up to three days after the last use. This method is simple, inexpensive, safe, and many programs use this method. Urine tests are used for detecting many things in your body like certain infections or if you are pregnant.


Have you ever had your blood drawn? Maybe you were donating blood or were getting a blood test for your doctor. Blood samples can be a great tool for showing how much of the drug is in your system. Heroin enters the body very quickly, so blood tests are not typically the first choice for an alcohol and drug counselor.


Another way we may detect heroin in the body is by a saliva sample. Heroin can be detected within two minutes of ingestion with a saliva sample. After 30 minutes of smoking heroin, your saliva production is higher than your blood concentration, then drops back to the same levels and because of this, it’s not the first method of choice.


While hair samples are less common, they benefit because they can detect drugs for much longer of a time. A hair follicle test can detect heroin in the system up to 90 days after using the drug. This may be a more accurate way to test for drugs in combination with a urine sample.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Heroin?

Brain deterioration has been shown with chronic use of heroin. Long term effects are hard to reverse and can be life threatening. Some of the most common long-term effects of heroin use include:

  • Insomnia
  • Nose tissue damage form sniffing or snorting
  • Heart infection
  • Stomach discomfort and constipation
  • Lung problems
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Depression and other mental health issues
  • Sexual problems in men
  • Altered menstrual cycle in women

Many of the toxins in heroin can be hard to dissolve in the body, leaving you with blockages of your arteries that can damage your lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain.

Factors that Affect Detection Time

The length of time heroin stays in your body varies from person to person, but there are some factors that can directly affect the detection time of heroin. The biggest detection factor is how much of the drug is consumed, and in what way it is used.

Smoking, snorting, sniffing, or injecting heroin can all have varying time lengths in your body and the high may vary. Heroin can be detected in the body within an hour with a saliva test, while smoking is detectable for up to five hours with the same test.

Individual Factors

Individual factors have to do with the individual’s weight, height, metabolism, age, genetics, and hydration levels. This means that heroin will affect everyone differently, but if you do enough of it will still cause damage to the brain and body.

Liver and kidney functions are other factors for detection times because heroin is metabolized in the liver. If your liver is impaired, this can directly affect how the heroin is metabolized in your body, possibly keeping it in your system longer. These varying factors how long heroin lasts in your system.

Dosage and Frequency of Use

Other factors of detection time include dosage and how often you consume the drug. With mild or moderate use of heroin, it will only be in your body for a day or two. Heavy chronic heroin users can have it in their bodies for up to a week with a urine test.

Drug Purity and Drug Interactions

Heroin is legal and because of that, it is not regulated and may be impure or very pure. The range of purity for heroin can also directly affect detection time in the body with drug tests. Sometimes heroin may be purer or stronger and that will increase the time it takes to leave your body.

Drug interactions not only make it harder to detect heroin but put you at a higher risk of overdose. You may wonder how long does a heroin high lasts? Heroin highs don’t last longer than 10 to 30 minutes and half a short half-life meaning it takes time for the drug to exit your system. The biggest drug interactions are alcohol, cocaine, other pain medications, opioids, and meth. These drugs in combination can leave you in a coma with permanent brain damage.

Symptoms of Overdose

Heroin use disorders are on the rise in recent years especially individuals aged 18 to 25. Overdoses are common with heroin addiction but can be prevented. Knowing the signs of a heroin overdose could potentially save a life.

Overdose symptoms of heroin include:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Gasping for air
  • Very pale skin
  • Blue tint on fingers or lips

Other signs to look out for are pinpoint pupils, discolored tongue, weak pulse, low blood pressure, disorientation, constipation, seizures, spasms, nausea, vomiting, coma, and extreme drowsiness. Symptoms of an overdose can occur up to ten minutes after using the drug.

How to get Heroin out of Your System

What’s the best way to get heroin out of your system? Many different treatment programs are available to you to treat your heroin addiction. Some of the most common treat options include:

  • Medically supervised detoxification: this is the safest and most efficient way to break a heroin addiction. Detox works by eliminating the chemicals and toxins associated with heroin in the body, allowing you a clean system and head start to rehab
  • Inpatient detox: you stay in a treatment facility and go through withdrawal with the help of professionals and medications while under supervision
  • After detox: Treatment plans are discussed to see if you need residential, inpatient, or outpatient care

Detoxing from heroin is dangerous and should not be done at home by yourself. Detoxing alone could put you in a scary situation with no help to ease the severe pain you may go through depending on your personal addiction.

Heroin Detox Duration

Just like heroin varies by the way it affects you and metabolizes in your body, detox also varies when detoxing from heroin. So many factors depend on how your detox will go. Generally, detox lasts about one week and begins about 12 hours after your last dose of heroin.

The worst withdrawal symptoms will persist for about 3 days but will become less severe over the rest of the time. So, it’s important to remember that the first few days of detox are the hardest and only become harder when you relapse and detox again.

Heroin Withdrawal Treatment Centers Near Me

Withdrawal symptoms can persist longer than normal, and during these times you will need mental, emotional, physical, and psychological support that addiction counselors can offer during detox and post-detox.

Are you ready to seek treatment for your heroin use disorder? Maybe you are ready but can’t seem to find the right detox facility for you? Well, we have you covered because Valley Detox is one of the best detox facilities in Los Angeles, California. Valley detox provides a safe, reliable, and comfortable center for you to detox with supervision.

With choosing Valley Detox, you can rest assured you will be in the best hands, being cared for by supportive licensed alcohol and drug addiction counselors. Call Valley Detox right now to get more information at (844) 402 3505. You can also visit their website to learn more about what treatment they offer here Home – Valley Detox (


Here’s How Long Heroin Stays in Your System. (2021). Retrieved 18 December 2021, from

Heroin detox timeline: How long to detox from heroin?. (2021). Retrieved 19 December 2021, from

Heroin Overdose: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment. (2021). Retrieved 19 December 2021, from

Heroin Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, Detox and Treatment. (2021). Retrieved 18 December 2021, from

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System? (Urine, Blood, Hair). (2021). Retrieved 19 December 2021, from

What is heroin and how is it used? | National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021). Retrieved 18 December 2021, from

i Heroin Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, Detox and Treatment (
ii Here’s How Long Heroin Stays in Your System (
iii Heroin Overdose: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment (
iv Heroin detox timeline: How long to detox from heroin? (