How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your System (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 24 Hours To 90 Days

Heroin is an illegal opiate drug made from morphine, a natural substance derived from the seed pod of the opium poppy plant. Presently, over 9.2 million people worldwide are addicted to heroin use. 

Due to the increasing consumption of heroin, various institutions and government bodies like the police conduct periodic tests of their employees and suspect drug addicts. These tests can be difficult to beat if one does not know how long heroin remains in the system after consumption. 

How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your System?

SourceTime
Saliva24 hours
Blood6 hours
Urine3 days
Hair90 days

The action of heroin is almost immediate. It enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells involved in feelings of pain and pleasure. Hence, one feels euphoria and cloudy thinking on the consumption of heroin. These effects last as long as the drug is present in the body.

The duration for which heroin stays in the body differs for different parts. Heroin remains in the saliva for up to 24 hours after consumption. The drug degrades beyond this time. 

The opiate remains in the blood for up to six hours after consumption and urine for three to four days. Heroin lasts the longest, up to 90 days, in hair. 

Generally, urine tests are the most commonly used methods to screen for drugs. However, in case of traffic accidents or overdoses, testing blood and saliva for the presence of heroin may be more feasible. 

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One thing to note is that for chronic heroin addicts, the drug remains in the body for longer compared to first-time users. 

Why Does Heroin Stay In Your System For So Long?

Heroin has a rapid half-life of two to six minutes, after which it metabolizes into 6-acetyl morphine and morphine. Furthermore, the half-life of morphine is one and a half to seven hours, and the half-life of 6-acetyl morphine is six to 25 minutes. It takes four to five half-lives for heroin to leave the system.

However, additional factors like dosage, frequency, purity, body fat percentage, liver, and kidney function play a role in determining how long heroin stays in the body. 

With light use, heroin remains in the body for one to two days. However, frequent and heavy heroin use causes it to be detectable for almost a week. Another factor that determines how long the drug stays in the body is its purity. As heroin is illegal, there is little consistency in its purity. Pure doses remain in the body for longer. Interactions with other substances can also affect how quickly heroin metabolizes.

Several individual factors determine the duration that heroin stays in the body. The first one is body fat. Heroin and 6-MAM are lipophilic. Therefore, the more a person weighs, the longer it will stay in their system. High body fat may extend the window of heroin in the system by several days.

Certain drugs share the same metabolic enzymes as heroin. Hence, if one consumes many at a time, it may take longer for heroin to leave the system. 

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Optimum liver and kidney functions also play a role in how long the drug stays in the body. As heroin primarily metabolizes in the liver, any impairment will cause it to remain in the system longer. Similarly, the kidneys also metabolize a small amount of heroin. Hence, people with impaired kidney function may clear heroin more slowly.

Conclusion

Knowing how long heroin lasts in the body is a sure-shot way of beating any drug test. In general, heroin remains in the saliva for 24 hours, in the blood for six hours, in urine for three days, and hair for 90 days. This duration depends on purity, dosage, frequency, body weight, liver, and kidney function.

Although heroin causes intense happiness, it can be detrimental if used for long. Curbing heroin addiction is the only way to combat this problem. Hence, one must consult friends, family members, and medical professionals to quit the drug. 

References

  1. https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/abs/10.1139/y86-001
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1521-0391.2013.12025.x
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