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 does heroin stays 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 depends 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.
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:
- A dry mouth
- Warm, flushed skin
- Arms and legs that feel heavy
- Upset stomach and vomiting
- A fuzzy brain
- Switching in and out of drowsiness
Long-term heroin use disorder can lead to:
- Collapsed veins
- 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:
- 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. The length of time how long does heroin stay in your system depends on these factors and can occur anywhere from less than a week to more than ten days.
Heroin Addiction Treatment
Heroin addiction can be overcome. Rehabilitation treatment programs 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 patient 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 substance use disorder or addiction, contact Pacific Sands Recovery Center 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.