How Long Do The Effects Of Heroin Last
Have you ever enjoyed something too much? Maybe you ate too much sugar as a kid and felt the crash later in the day. Or that fourth cup of coffee was not such a good idea as your hands will not stop shaking at work. It is hard to concentrate, all you can think about is when will the shaking stop so you can type normally again. The same can be said about heroin use. For some, they do not want the effects to stop. Others are feeling the negative effects and just want heroin out of their system. No matter the reason, knowing how long the effects of heroin last can help people using heroin make decisions about how much to use and when it is safe to use again.
Here in Tampa, law enforcement has been working hard to find those distributing heroin in our communities. Cases being brought to court are moving quickly and sentencing is increasing for these charges. At Clean Recovery Centers, we are working to provide resources and tools to help those with heroin use disorder. We see past the stigmas of addiction and get to know each of our clients individually. Today, we are talking about how long the effects of heroin last, and what you need to know to stay safe.
Heroin’s Effects on The Brain
Derived from morphine, heroin is a depressant that affects the central nervous system. Using heroin can cause the brain to develop a tolerance. Heroin works by binding to the opioid receptors, which help control breathing and heart rate. Over time, the receptors in the brain get used to the amount of heroin in the system, and it will take more in order to achieve the same effects. This is where some of the signs of heroin addiction can be noticed.
What Does a Heroin High Feel Like?
Many will say that heroin creates a distinct feeling. When heroin first enters the bloodstream, an initial “rush” is felt. Intense euphoria and relaxation take over the mind and body, creating a pleasurable experience. Common side effects felt with the rush include flushing of the skin, heaviness in the legs and arms, and dry mouth. The “high” from heroin fades relatively quickly, typically in around 30 minutes. Drowsiness and nausea are common after the initial rush fades, and can last 2-4 hours. In this stage, nodding in and out of consciousness is often seen.
How is Heroin Processed in the Body?
When heroin enters the bloodstream, it is felt by the brain first. While working in the brain to activate opioid receptors, the body has already begun the process of breaking heroin down. Heroin is broken into two metabolites, morphine and 6-monoacetylmorphine. The body continues to break down these metabolites with the help of the liver. After the detoxification process is complete in the liver, the broken-down metabolites leave the body through urine. The metabolites can be detected in urine for 12-24 hours after the last use of heroin.
The Half-Life of Heroin
The half-life of a substance is how long it takes for half of the substance to be filtered out of the body. For heroin, this is rather short, only 15-20 minutes. Even though half of the heroin present in the body has been metabolized, there is still heroin in the system. Those who increase the rate they take heroin (in order to keep feeling its effects) have higher risks of experiencing an overdose.
Physical Health Risks
As with any substance, heroin can cause a slew of physical health problems. Depending on the method of intake, there are different side effects of heroin that can be experienced.
By smoking it
For those that smoke heroin, some health risks are similar to smoking tobacco. Chronic respiratory infections, lung cancer, and breathing problems are all associated with smoking heroin. Over time, infections can turn into chronic bronchitis or COPD. Also, dry mouth from smoking can lead to tooth and gum decay.
By injecting it
Injecting heroin is one of the most common ways to use the substance. This is because the effects are felt instantly. However, the long-term health problems and risks are extensive. HIV/AIDS and hepatitis can be transmitted through shared needles. Collapsed and scarred veins can cause infections and abscesses. It can also make getting treatment for infections difficult, as inserting an IV is not possible in a collapsed vein.
By snorting it
Similar to smoking heroin, snorting it can cause chronic breathing and lung problems. The linings of the nasal passages can become inflamed and make breathing difficult. This is especially dangerous with heroin use, as heroin is a depressant. It works by slowing the central nervous system, which controls heart rate and breathing. If breathing is already difficult due to a swollen nasal cavity, the risk of breathing stopping altogether increases.
How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal Last?
Heroin withdrawal begins in as little as 6 hours. Depending on how long and how much heroin the person was using, withdrawal symptoms can go on for around 4-10 days. Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Increase in tear production (watery eyes)
- Muscle aches
- Chills or goosebumps
- Abdominal cramping
- Increased anxiety and depression
Get Help Treating Heroin Addiction Treatment
Seeking treatment for heroin use disorder can seem scary and difficult. Admitting that you need help is a courageous first step to reclaiming your life from the grips of heroin. Many people have found successful recovery and success through treatment. Some goals achievable through treatment include:
- Reconnected with family, friends, and loved ones
- Rediscover themselves and their passions
- Pursue success in jobs and careers
- Find inner strength and peace
- Focus on overall health physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually
Getting Heroin Out of Your System
The goal at Clean Recovery Centers is to empower you and can help you identify your strengths and put them to use. With facilities in Tampa, Sarasota, Largo, and more along the Suncoast, we are able to help hundreds to find recovery. Our heroin addiction treatment is an individualized program that begins with an individual assessment.
A 24-hour detoxification period monitored around the clock medically and with emotional support is often the first step to getting heroin out of your system. Detox can be dangerous as heroin withdrawal symptoms can become life-threatening. We offer medication-assisted treatment during this time to ensure the safety and well-being of our clients. After detox treatment is complete, our clients transition to the next level of care. For most, this will mean residential I treatment. Lasting 3-4 weeks, this inpatient treatment plan provides daily therapy, skill-building classes, and structured scheduling to dive into the root causes of addiction. From there, clients can transition to community housing onsite or sober living while attending outpatient services.
If you or someone you love is facing heroin use disorder, there is help available. Clean Recovery Centers has helped hundreds to find freedom from the grips of opioids and regain success and happiness in life. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to learn more about program options or to schedule an appointment.
How long does a heroin high last?
Depending on the person, the initial heroin high can last 15-30 minutes, followed by nodding in and out of consciousness for 2-4 hours.
What are the effects of heroin?
The effects of heroin include a rush of euphoria, followed by dry mouth, skin flushing, heaviness in the legs and arms, and nodding in and out of consciousness.
What can cause a false positive drug test for heroin?
Certain medications such as dextromethorphan, diphenhydramine, and quinine have been seen to cause false positive heroin drug tests. Also, because heroin is derived from morphine – which comes from the poppy plant – eating poppy seeds could cause a false positive on a drug screen.