Heroin has an extremely rapid half-life of two to six minutes and is metabolized to 6-acetyl morphine and morphine. The half-life of morphine is one and a half to seven hours and the half-life of 6-acetyl morphine is just six to 25 minutes. It takes four to five half-lives for a drug to be effectively eliminated from the system.1https://cbd3e397bf404591b7271a2dde9d70c2.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Heroin and 6-acetyl morphine enter the brain more readily than morphine. In the brain and nervous system, these substances act on receptors involved with euphoria, pain suppression, depressing breathing, drowsiness, dysphoria, and rarely delusions and hallucinations.
Urine tests are the most frequently used type of drug screening because they are less costly and easy to administer. Heroin can be detected on a standard urine test for between one to four days after the last use.3
Research has also shown that the 6-AM assay test, originally developed as a urine test, is sensitive enough to detect heroin metabolites in blood.4 Such tests may be useful for following traffic accidents or overdoses to distinguish between recent heroin use and the therapeutic intake of opioids for pain relief.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that high levels of the heroin metabolite 6-acetyl morphine can be detected in saliva samples.5 Such tests may be a better indicator of heroin use than urine screens in some situations. However, such tests must be administered fairly quickly after the last use in order to be effective.
Heroin can be detected by hair follicle tests for up to 90 days after use.6 People who have been using heroin for longer periods of time may have much longer hair detection windows, however.
False Positive Testing
Eating foods containing poppy seeds such as muffins or bagels can lead to a false-positive result for opiates on a drug test.7 Poppy seeds contain trace amounts of morphine and codeine. While most of this is removed during processing, the tiny amount of opiate residue left is enough to trigger a false-positive result on many drug tests.
Consuming poppy seeds may lead to a positive test result within two hours of consumption and are detectable in urine for as long as 60 hours, depending on the amount ingested.8
Certain medications, including quinolones, rifampin, and diphenhydramine, can also trigger false-positive results for opiates on enzyme-mediated immunoassays (EIAs). Because these tests have good sensitivity and lower costs, they are often used in employment and medical drug screenings. Such tests are, however, more prone to false positives, requiring confirmation testing.9
Try to avoid food or medications that are known to trigger positive test results and inform the lab about any medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, that you are currently taking.
Factors That Affect Detection Time
Like most drugs, the main way heroin is eliminated from the body is via the kidneys in urine, but it can also be excreted via sweat, tears, saliva, and feces.
How long will show up on a standard drug test depends on several factors such as weight, body mass, and personal metabolism. Overall health, including liver and kidney function, can also play a role in how quickly heroin is processed and cleared from the body.
Dosage and Frequency of Use
The main factor in how long heroin is detectable in a drug test is the amount of the drug taken. Heroin will stay in the body only one or two days with light use, but with heavy, chronic use, it can remain detectable in a urine test for almost a week.3
Drug Purity and Drug Interactions
Because heroin is illegal, there is little consistency in the purity of the substance. Some doses may be purer and stronger, which will increase the amount of time the drug takes to be eliminated from the body. Interactions with other substances can also affect how quickly heroin is metabolized.Types of Heroin and Its Ingredients
How to Get Heroin Out of Your System
Heroin is metabolized quickly and is not detectable by most standard drug tests after about three days. The only way to get heroin out of your system is to stop using the drug and allow your body time to metabolize and eliminate it. https://cbd3e397bf404591b7271a2dde9d70c2.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Stopping heroin cold turkey can often lead to severe withdrawal effects, however, so talk to your doctor about your treatment options. Staying healthy by getting regular exercise and drinking plenty of fluids may help you metabolize the substance more quickly.
Symptoms of Overdose
While is in a person’s system, they are at risk of interactions with other drugs and substances as well as overdose. Street heroin varies in purity from 26% to 47%,10 and it is often combined with other substances like ketamine, cocaine, diphenhydramine, alprazolam, and MDMA (ecstasy).How Long Does Heroin Last?