How Long Can Heroin Be Detected In Your System?
- Average Heroin Detection Times
- How Does Heroin Work?
- False Positives
- Side Effects And Withdrawal
- Factors That Affect Detection Time
Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid that has pain-relieving and euphoric effects. It is highly addictive and can have many severe health complications for people who use it. This drug can be detected for 2 to 90 days in the body.
A drug test for heroin can yield positive results for 2 to 90 days, depending on the form of testing being used.
Since this is a fast-acting drug, the testing window is shorter than average drug detection times.
Read on to learn the specifics of how heroin testing is conducted.
Average Heroin Drug Test Detection Times
Heroin does not have any legal medical use in the U.S., so it is manufactured in a variety of different ways.
Heroin is often abused via injection, smoking, or snorting, which all have variable reaction times.
Regardless of how it is ingested, heroin works quickly and has a very short half-life (as low as 2 to 6 minutes). Because it leaves the body quickly, it can be difficult to detect in a standard test.
Heroin drug test kits for home use are available. Find the average detection time for each test type below.
Heroin Blood Test Detection Times
A blood drug test for heroin can be done for up to 3 days after use.
Drug testing via blood has many advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, it’s fast and accurate, and can be done even if the person being tested is unconscious.
On the other hand, it is very invasive and has a short detection window. Most of the time, the cons outweigh the pros, and this type of testing is mainly used for autopsies and accidents.
Heroin Hair Test Detection Times
Heroin use can be found in hair up to 90 days after your last use of the drug.
Hair follicle testing relies on metabolites, which are formed by the body to break down drugs and other toxins.
Metabolites then travel through the bloodstream into hair follicles, where it is bound into the core of the hair. This leaves a trace that can be tested long after use.
Heroin Saliva Test Detection Times
Like blood and urine testing, heroin detection time in the saliva is also a small time frame. It can be detected for up to 2 days.
According to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, oral fluid drug testing may be more accurate than urine drug screening. However, more data is still needed to support this.
Heroin Urine Test Detection Times
Typically, urine drug testing is one of the most common forms of testing, as it is inexpensive, reliable, and usually has a larger detection time window than other forms of testing.
Heroin detection time in urine is about 2 days.
How Does Heroin Work?
Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid, meaning that it is derived from morphine with some additional man-made elements.
Like all other opioids, it is a central nervous system depressant, meaning it suppresses pain receptors in the brain and can create a sense of euphoria, which can last a few minutes or hours.
Regular use of this substance can lead to tolerance, meaning that more and more of the drug is needed to achieve the same effects. Over time, the body can also become dependent on heroin.
False Positives For Heroin Testing
False-positive results for this drug can occur in some circumstances.
It is possible that consuming poppy seeds before testing can cause a false positive, as morphine is derived from poppy plants.
Side Effects And Withdrawal From Heroin
Euphoria and pain relief are not the only things that can happen with heroin use. There are many potential health risks, including contracting infectious diseases from shared needles.
Short-term side effects of this drug can include:
- nausea and vomiting
- slowed breathing and reduced heart rate
- clouded thinking
- severe itching, heavy feeling in limbs
- dry mouth
- drifting in and out of consciousness
Long-term effects can range from:
- infection of the heart lining
- oral health conditions
- lung complications
- constipation and stomach cramping
- liver and kidney disease
- damaged nasal tissue or veins, depending on usage
- cellular death and damage due to drug additives, such as sugar, starch, or powdered milk
Frequent use of heroin can cause a chemical or psychological dependency on it. Withdrawal from this drug can cause mild to severe symptoms during the detoxification process.
Heroin withdrawal and detox can look like:
- bone and muscle pain
- restlessness and sleep difficulties
- diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
- uncontrollable leg movements
- a strong craving for heroin
Factors That Affect How Long Heroin Stays In Your System
How long heroin stays in your system on the frequency of use, amount of the dose, time passed since your last dose, and a variety of health factors.
These factors can include:
- weight and body mass
- fluid intake and diet
- kidney and liver function
- if other drugs are in your system at the same time
Heroin Treatment At Spring Hill Recovery Center
Addiction treatment is challenging, but sobriety is worth the process. If you or a loved one is in need of heroin addiction support in New England, call us today.
Spring Hill Recovery Center offers heroin abuse treatment programs and other addiction recovery programs designed to support you at varying levels of care.
Clinicians, therapists, and other health professionals are ready to help you recover. Call us today to start your journey.
Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team
©2023 Spring Hill Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved
This page does not provide medical advice.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — Oral Fluid and Blood Analytic Procedures https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/pub/hs810704/pages/AppendixI.html
- National Institute of Health: National Institute on Drug Abuse — Heroin Drug Facts https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin
- National Institute of Health: National Institute on Drug Abuse — What are the medical complications of chronic heroin use? https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/what-are-medical-complications-chronic-heroin-use
- Springer Link — Identifying cases of heroin toxicity where 6-acetylmorphine (6-AM) is not detected by toxicological analyses https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12024-016-9780-2