How Long Does Heroin Stay In Your Blood?

If you’re wondering how long a blood test can detect opiates, like heroin, know that it takes about 48 hours after the last dose. However, various factors, such as metabolism, will determine how long the opiate will stay in the blood.

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Dr. Langdon M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly Langdon M.D.


Heroin use has become an epidemic, with an estimated one million people in the United States addicted to the drug.

According to SAMHSA, 0.3% of people aged 12 or older use heroin.

That makes it essential to understand how long it takes for heroin to show up in your blood after you use it and how long you can be prosecuted based on its presence there.

Find out more about heroin detection.

Detection Time For Heroin In Your Blood

It may take only five to six hours for heroin to be undetectable in the blood, but it may be present for up to two days.

The compound 6-AM can be detected in blood, but it is usually only detectable for two days. Due to the short half-life of heroin and other opioids, a blood test is rarely used.

Factors That Influence Heroin Detection Time

Factors that influence how long it takes heroin to show up in a drug test include your body weight, metabolism, and tolerance level.

People with high metabolisms will clear any substance from their bodies more quickly than people with low metabolisms since the last use.

Your tolerance level will also play a role in how fast or slow you process substances. Heroin can be detected in your system within hours of use if you are new to it.

The higher the frequency of use and the longer the amount of time of substance abuse, the longer it could take days before heroin shows up on a drug test.

Other Methods Of Detecting Heroin In The Body

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of blood, saliva (oral fluid), urine, and hair follicle tests for heroin drug screening.

Rapid metabolization means that heroin metabolites are only detectable in a saliva test for up to an hour after injection or five hours after smoking.

Urine may still be detectable 48 hours after the last dose of heroin. The heroin urine test is the most common of these tests.

The hair follicle test has a detection window of up to three months or more and is the only test that works longer than a week.

However, newer, more advanced tests can detect heroin traces in the system for a longer period. 6-acetylmorphine and other metabolites are the focus of these tests.

Dangers And Side Effects Of Heroin Use

Effects of heroin drug use include drowsiness, dry mouth, and mental health problems. The person abusing heroin may also experience a substance use disorder.

Long-term effects of heroin use can also include risk of infection from IV drug use and risk of contracting infectious diseases, like Hepatitis B, C, and HIV.

The most common danger is heroin overdose. A person may inject so much of the drug into their body that they develop an abnormally low heart rate and stop breathing.

Treatment Options For Heroin Abuse

Behavioral therapies and medications for substance abuse, such as benzodiazepines, are often used to treat opiate addiction.

Medications might include buprenorphine. They attach to opioid receptors in your brain, effectively blocking other opioid drugs from accessing them.

Methadone is another type of drug that reduces heroin withdrawal symptoms and cravings but doesn’t produce a high.

Naltrexone is a drug addiction medication that can be taken after detox, preventing a person from getting high on opioids and helping curb cravings.

Learn more about heroin treatment.

Find A Rehab Program For Heroin Addiction

If you have an illicit drug use problem, our trained healthcare specialists at Bedrock Recovery Center can build an addiction treatment program that works for you.

We want to help get you or your loved one on the path to recovery with a treatment plan that fits your individual needs. Contact us today to learn more about our heroin treatment programs.

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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