5 Factors That Decide How Long Heroin Stays in Your System


Heroin is an illegal opioid, but if you’ve taken it and need to pass a drug test, you’re likely looking for clear answers to these questions: how long does heroin stay in your system? How long does heroin stay in your urine?

Keep reading to learn how long you can expect heroin to be detectable in your body as well as what steps you can take to get it out of you faster.


How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?

Let’s begin with the basic question: how long does heroin stay in your system? The answer to this depends on several factors, but for now we’ll look at the single most important one: the type of drug test you take, which will determine how long detectable levels of heroin remain in you.

When you take heroin—an opioid in the form of a white or brown powder (and also available as a sticky, black substance)—you’ll start to feel effects fairly quickly: after seven to eight seconds if injected,  or after 10-15 minutes if smoked or inhaled. These effects usually wear off after about four to five hours.

But this doesn’t mean heroin isn’t still detectable in your system. The following chart shows how long you must wait after taking heroin in order to be able to pass different kinds of drug tests:

Drug Test How Long Detectable Levels Remain
Urine Usually 2 days but up to 7
Saliva Usually 5-6 hours but up to 2 days
Blood Usually 5-6 hours but up to 2 days
Hair 90 days

Source: American Addiction Centers


What Affects How Long Heroin Stays in Your System?

Several factors affect how long heroin stays in your system. The heroin half life is only 30 minutes, meaning that your body usually expels half the drug in this amount of time.

Here are the six main factors that determine how long heroin will be detectable in you:

  • How much heroin you take: The more heroin you take at once, the longer it’ll take for your body to get rid of it.
  • The quality of the heroin: Purer heroin causes more metabolites to be present in your bloodstream, making it take longer to expel them all.
  • How often you take heroin: Frequent heroin users build up a tolerance to the drug, causing it to take more time to expel it from the body.
  • Your metabolism: If you have a relatively high metabolism, your body will likely flush out heroin (not to mention other toxins) faster than those with lower metabolisms.
  • Your age: As you get older, your body becomes less effective at expelling toxins fast.
  • Your height and weight: In general, those who are shorter and leaner will maintain heroin in their systems longer than those who are taller and heavier.


How Can You Get Heroin Out of Your System Faster?

There are two easy ways to naturally get heroin out of your system faster.

One is to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. This helps your body function at its peak level and flush out toxins more quickly. If you use heroin and you’re dehydrated, the drug will stay in your body longer. So get drinking!

Another option is to exercise. Doing this will speed up your metabolism, helping you expel heroin and other toxins from your body at a faster-than-normal rate.

Take care not to overdo either of these two options. Drinking or exercising too much will only make you feel sick in the end, so find some balance and give your body time to flush out the heroin.

While it’s obviously best to avoid illegal drugs, if you’ve used heroin recently and need to pass a drug test, simply refer to our chart above to gauge how long it’ll stay in your system. And don’t forget to drink ample water and exercise!