Heroin is an opioid drug and a Schedule I drug, which means that it has no recognized medical use. If you or someone you know has been abusing heroin, it’s important to understand how the drug functions in the body and how long it takes for heroin withdrawal to kick in. Understanding how this drug works can make a difference in the way you go about getting help for yourself or someone else.
For example, if you are concerned about a loved one using heroin, you may want to screen them to know for certain. There are a number of factors that influence how long heroin stays in your system, and if you’re not sure what they are, you could potentially test for the drug and have it not show up.
Let’s take a look at how long heroin stays in the body.
How Long Does Heroin Last?
Heroin’s effects can last as long as 4-5 hours after the last dose. Its half-life is estimated to be around a half hour long. This means that after 30 minutes, the heroin has already reached half its original value.
There are additional factors that can influence how long heroin lasts:
- The user’s height and weight
- How much the user consumed
- The user’s metabolism speed
- How Can Heroin be Detected?
There are a number of ways to test for heroin in the body: hair follicle test, urine test, blood test and saliva test. These tests have been FDA approved and can detect heroin in the body at various points.
Generally speaking, hair follicle tests are most sensitive and can detect heroin up to three months after the last use. Blood and saliva tests can detect heroin in the body for about 12 hours, and urine tests get a maximum of three days.
When Do Withdrawal Symptoms Peak?
Heroin is a fast-acting drug, so it doesn’t take long for withdrawal symptoms to surface. Usually, the unpleasant symptoms peak at about 3-4 days after the last use and begin to diminish after 7-8 days. That said, users can experience cravings just a few hours from their last dose. Heroin cravings are persistent and debilitating, which is why it’s such an addictive and dangerous drug.