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.
If you’re trying to get sober, one of the first questions you have is likely, “How long does heroin stay in my system?” The first few days and weeks after quitting, or the “detox period,” are some of the most difficult times when you get clean. Once you get the heroin out of your system, though, the real work begins.
When you feel stuck deep inside of your addiction, getting clean often feels impossible. There is a way out, though, and it starts with making the decision to stop living the life you live. Once you start to ask, “How long does heroin stay in my system?” hopefully you are ready to move forward on a different life path.
Continue reading to find out more about heroin, the withdrawal and detox timeline, and how long heroin stays in your system for. After learning more about the process of getting clean, you can start taking the first steps towards freedom.
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 (“China White”)
- Brown, chalky powder (“Brown Sugar”)
- A Black, sticky tar-like substance (“Black Tar”)
How you take heroin depends on how quickly you want to get high. You can:
- Snort it (if it’s China White)
- Smoke it
- Cook it down and inject it
It’s not a drug that most people set out to use. Whether or not someone has an understanding of drugs, they most likely know the dangers of heroin use. It doesn’t take long to develop a heroin addiction. Once you’re addicted, it takes much longer to quit.
Many wonder, “How long does heroin stay in my system?” Sometimes it is with the hopes of getting it out of their system for the last time. Most of the time, though, people wonder how long it will take until they’ll need their next fix.
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.
If you’re asking, “How long does heroin stay in my system?” make it the last time you ask. Don’t force yourself to experience the withdrawal period over and over.
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 isn’t 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 don’t 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’ll need to find a job. This is when your question, “How long does heroin stay in my system?” becomes more important. Some jobs require you to take a drug test before hiring you.
There are a few different types of drug tests that you might have to take. Each test has a different length of time it can detect for. When you ask, “How long does heroin stay in my system?” it depends on which test you take. You can pass the following tests after:
- Urine test: Seven days after your last use
- Hair follicle test: Up to three or more months after last using heroin
Once you pass the six-month mark after using heroin, it should clear from your system. You can start to move forward and get on with your life, no longer held back by your past!
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’re ready to get sober, find an addiction treatment center with a detox program to get you through the withdrawal period.