24/7 Care and Support

How Long Does Heroin Stay in your System?

Home » Blog » How Long Does Heroin Stay in your System?

Heroin is an illegal drug with sedative effects, made from opium. The drug is highly addictive and can become a significant problem for all individuals who choose to abuse it over time. Heroin use can lead to severe and potentially lethal substance abuse and mental health issues. 

The United States is in the middle of an epidemic related to opioids; heroin has more users than ever, and subsequently, more overdose deaths than ever. Opioids are one of the top reasons people check in to Pacific Sands Recovery Center

More About Heroin

Heroin is a powerful opiate-based drug that is harvested from a poppy plant. The Illicit form of the drug is usually a white or brown powder ”china white” or a black sticky substance known as ”black tar heroin”. 

You can use heroin in various ways – it can be injected into your veins, smoked, or snorted, and people become addicted to it very quickly. Once in the bloodstream, heroin is carried rapidly to the brain and other organs of the body. Combining heroin with other drugs can be fatal. 

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?

You might be wondering how long heroin can stay in your system? Maybe you’re suspicious that a loved one has been getting high, but you aren’t sure how long it shows up in a drug test. How long heroin stays in your system can depend on the method of administration, how frequently you use it, and your biological makeup.

Three major factors determine how long a drug will stay in your body. These are metabolism, detection time, and elimination time. Therefore, how long it lasts in your system will depend on all three of these factors.

Heroin’s effects last for a more extended amount of time than the effects of other harmful drugs like cocaine and meth, but it has a short half-life of only 30 minutes. 

Heroin Drug Testing

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the drug is cleared from a person’s system in 3-4 days. Standard opioid drug screening tests can detect heroin for around one to four days.

Heroin can be detected by:

  • Blood tests: Up to six hours
  • Urine tests: Up to three days
  • Saliva tests: Up to 24 hours
  • Hair follicle tests: Up to 90 days

What Effect Does Heroin Have on the Body?

Compared to other drugs of abuse, heroin has some potent effects on the body. The way it affects each person will depend on how often they’ve used it, their health, and many other factors. It’s normal for the short-term effects of using heroin to be enjoyable, but when an individual uses it long-term, these effects can cause serious harm.

Although many drugs are considered non-addictive, such as morphine or nicotine, heroin is one of several illegal drugs with a high propensity for abuse. Short-term side effects include slowed breathing and euphoria, while long-term use can lead to tolerance, physical dependence, and even death. 

Short-term effects of heroin include:

  • Euphoria
  • A dry mouth
  • Warm, flushed skin
  • Arms and legs that feel heavy
  • Upset stomach and vomiting
  • Itching
  • A fuzzy brain
  • Switching in and out of drowsiness 

Long-term heroin use disorder can lead to:

  • Collapsed veins
  • Insomnia
  • Heart diseases
  • Skin infections like abscesses and cellulitis
  • Higher chance of getting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Mental disorders
  • Lung diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis
  • Menstrual problems and miscarriage

Symptoms of Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin withdrawal is the process of overcoming physical dependence and addiction to heroin. There are both physical and psychological symptoms that occur when a person withdraws from heroin. Heroin use can lead to tolerance to this addicting drug, and withdrawal symptoms can surface in people dependent on it, which can be life-threatening.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Jitters
  • Chills
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Bone and muscle pain
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Cold flashes
  • Leg movements that you can’t control

A heroin withdrawal timeline is dependent on many factors, including how long the person has been using, the type of heroin, other drugs used along with the drug, and genetic predisposition. Withdrawal typically begins within 6 to 12 hours of the last use of heroin and lasts for several days. So, how long does heroin take to leave your system? The length of time for heroin to leave your system can be anywhere from less than a week to more than ten days. 

Heroin Rehab Orange County

Heroin addiction can be overcome. Rehab programs for heroin are available in several forms, with varying approaches to recovery and support. Heroin addiction treatment is a multi-step process that requires the help and support of family, friends, and qualified physicians. It starts with starting a drug rehabilitation program that helps you achieve physical and emotional abstinence to recover from heroin addiction fully.

Treatment options for heroin addiction may include heroin detox (whereby the client is medically weaned off the drug), followed by counseling and therapy to manage any underlying psychological issues. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with heroin addiction, contact our rehab center, Pacific Sands Recovery Center in Orange County at 949-732-1708. Talk to one of our care coordinators for free medical advice and take the first step towards an unmatched level of care and personalization. 

Leave a Reply


  • I would just like to share how Grateful I am with my experience through my addiction at this facility. I couldn’t possibly ask to be in such a “SAFE/COMFORTABLE” environment while receiving treatment for my addiction. I would just like to say Thank you sooo much to ALL the staff there from the Nurse’s to counselors and therapist all of you are a True Blessing in helping me through my journey of sobriety. I couldn’t feel more comfortable there on how they monitored my physical health and on dealing with my emotional health with there therapy sessions and groups I truly see them ALL as Family!

    Andrew N.
  • As a professional in the recovery field I have worked with many detox centers and none compare to The this one. Their staff is incredibly attentive and knowledgable regarding the needs of individuals seeking recovery from the very start. Their facility is welcoming and homey while remaining very luxe. I would recommend this facility to any loved one or friend looking to start down their journey of sobriety.

  • This place helped saved my life, and a great stepping stone to get my life on the right track. Was there first client under new management, caring staff and owners, comfortable place to get you on your feet in sobriety.

  • Great Staff. Comfortable Environment. Awesome place to Get Clean and Sober. Thank you guys for everything.


    Pacific Sands Recovery Center

    1909 W Carlton Pl
    Santa Ana, CA 92704


    Ready to Start Your Journey?

    Reaching out is the first step to a new life. We’re here for you.

      © 2023 Pacific Sands Recovery Center – All Rights Reserved. | Privacy Policy

      24/7 Help Is Standing By, Call Us Now