Learn more about heroin addiction and the short-term and long-term effects that come as a…
How Long Does Heroin Stay in My System?
Getting clean from heroin is the first step but waiting for it to leave your system takes a bit longer.
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Heroin is one of the most powerful and dangerous drugs known to man. Most users will become addicted to the drug after their first use. When users first take heroin, the high they experience is euphoric and described as “god like”. Unfortunately, those who use heroin need to take more of the drug in order to try and catch that high. As a result, they become deeply addicted and face severe physical and psychological issues.
If you are addicted to heroin and want to get sober, one of the first questions you have is likely, “How long does heroin last in my system?” Simply put, the first few days and weeks after quitting, or the “detox period,” is an extremely difficult period in your road to recovery. When heroin leaves your body and you start to feel better, the real work begins regarding staying clean.
When you feel stuck deep inside of you heroin addiction, reaching sobriety feels impossible. There is a way out, though, and it starts with making the decision to stop living the life you are currently living. This article explains what heroin is and how long heroin stays in your body. Additionally, you will learn where to find quality heroin treatment.
More About Heroin
Heroin is an opiate drug with a morphine base and made from the opium in a poppy plant. Morphine is a medical-grade drug used mainly in hospital facilities to treat high levels of pain. Heroin is a dangerous street drug and classified as Schedule I by the Drug Enforcement Administration due to its high potential for abuse.
Heroin comes in multiple forms:
- A white, crystalline powder (known as china white)
- Brown, chalky powder (known as brown sugar)
- A Black, sticky tar-like substance (known as black tar)
Heroin can be administered in a number of ways. The most common way is to inject the drug intravenously in the air, thigh, neck or anywhere there are major blood vessels. Heroin can also be smoked or snorted.
Like all drugs, heroin is a drug that most people do not set out to use. Whether or not someone understands drugs, they most likely know the dangers of heroin use. It does not take long to develop a heroin addiction. Once you are addicted, it takes much longer to quit.
Heroin Detox Timeline
When you detox from heroin, you experience one of the most difficult sets of withdrawal symptoms to go through. This keeps many people from quitting before it’s too late. Withdrawals due to opioid overdoses continue rising every year. More than 72,000 people died of an opiate-related cause in 2017.
The severity of your heroin withdrawals depend on how long you used for, the way you ingested it, and how much you used. Obviously the more often you use and the larger the amount, the worse your withdrawals will be.
The following is a general timeline outlining how long heroin will stay in your system. Again, the length of time is stays in your system and the severity of symptoms you experience depend on the route of administration, the quantity you use, as well as the length of time you use heroin.
FIRST 6 TO 48 HOURS
Heroin withdrawal symptoms have one of the quickest onset times of all drugs and are the worst at the beginning. They start as soon as 6 hours or as long as 12 hours after the last time you got high. Initially you feel irritated, agitated, or frustrated then progress into physical symptoms. These include:
- Body aches
- Muscle spasms
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
Relapse is most common during these first two days. Users will do anything to avoid feeling “dopesick,” the common term used to describe early heroin withdrawal.
DAYS 3 TO 5
Your most severe symptoms start subsiding after the first two days. Now you may start wondering, “How long does heroin stay in my system?” The detox period is not over yet, though. You will likely still feel nauseous and diarrhea may continue. Stomach cramps and vomiting are common during this time. The anxiety starts to lessen but still hangs on.
DAYS 6 TO 12
You made it through the worst of your withdrawals. Your muscles do not ache as badly as they did at first and your nausea has mostly left. The anxiety may still persist but you can manage it better than in the earlier stages. Some physical symptoms may still press on but to a lesser extent.
HOW LONG DOES HEROIN STAY IN MY SYSTEM?
Once you finish detoxing from heroin and start getting back into regular life, you may not necessarily be in the clear. While you may not feel the physical and/or psychological symptoms of heroin withdrawals to a great degree, heroin may still be present in your system. Heroin can be present in your urine for up to 7 days after last use. Interestingly, heroin can be present in your hair follicles for three months (or even longer) after your last use.
FINDING TREATMENT FOR HEROIN ADDICTION
Again, the first few days of withdrawal are the most challenging part of getting clean. Drug detox programs help you get through this period by treating some of your symptoms with medication. If you are ready to get sober, find an addiction treatment center with a detox program to get you through the withdrawal period.