How Long Does A Heroin High Last?

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A high from heroin will generally last a few hours but can be longer or shorter depending on various factors. Heroin has a short half-life but can be detected in a person’s system for up to three days afterward through urine tests.

Heroin High

The length of a heroin high can vary depending on a few different factors, but in general, a heroin high can be expected to last around four to five hours.

A heroin high can be broken up into two phases. The initial part of a heroin high is the euphoric rush, which only lasts around 15 minutes.

Though the rush from heroin is short-lived, a person will remain high for a few more hours afterward. At this point, a heroin high will produce feelings of relaxation.

During a heroin high, a person will also experience side effects such as a decreased heart rate, dry mouth, drowsiness, and a drop in blood pressure.

The Heroin Half-Life

Heroin has a short half-life of only about 30 minutes, which is why the initial rush period of the heroin high is so short.

Someone who is addicted to heroin may find themselves dosing more and more frequently to feel the initial rush again. This is sometimes called “chasing the dragon.”

The short half-life of heroin makes it very dangerous because it encourages people to take more doses in quick succession.

How Long Is Heroin Detectable In Your System?

It is also important to remember that heroin stays in a person’s system long after they no longer feel the high.

Different types of drug testing will detect heroin for different lengths of time:

  • Aurine test will show heroin for up to three days after the last dose.
  • A saliva test can detect heroin for 24 hours or less.
  • Blood tests can only detect heroin for a few hours after the last use and are uncommon.
  • Hair follicle tests can detect heroin for up to 90 days.

Factors That Affect How Long A High From Heroin Lasts

While a heroin high generally lasts a few hours, the length of the high can also be shorter or longer depending on a few important factors.

These factors tend to also affect how long heroin stays in a person’s system as well.

Route Of Administration

Injecting heroin is a popular method of administration because it delivers a fast and intense high. However, the high from injecting will only last for two to three hours.

On the other hand, the effects of heroin can last four to six hours when the heroin is either smoked or used by snorting in powder-form heroin.

Potency Of Heroin

Heroin is often found to be laced with various cutting agents or adulterants that look similar in appearance but which can either dilute or strengthen its potency.

Depending on whether the heroin is diluted or strengthened may also shorten or lengthen the amount of time that the high lasts.

Tolerance And Metabolism

Someone who uses heroin frequently and has built up a tolerance to it will likely experience a shorter high and need more of the drug to feel satisfied.

The same is true for someone who naturally metabolizes heroin faster.

Polydrug Abuse

Heroin is frequently abused along with other drugs or alcohol, which can affect how long the high lasts as well as its level of intensity.

The effects can be particularly strong when heroin is combined with other central nervous system depressants, as they amplify and strengthen each other’s effects when used together.

What Does A Heroin High Feel Like?

A heroin high is said to be very euphoric and relaxing. It is also described as producing unnatural levels of pleasure.

The high that follows the initial euphoric rush is also described as resembling a pleasant trance-like state.

Signs That Someone Is High On Heroin

It may not always be obvious when a person is high on opioids, but someone high on heroin may exhibit certain outward signs.

Signs that someone is high on heroin may include:

  • appearing sleepy or sedated
  • clouded thinking
  • abscesses from heroin abuse at the injection sites
  • slowed or shallow breathing
  • slowed movements
  • frequently scratching at themselves
  • heroin eyes

What Happens When A Heroin High Wears Off?

The comedown period from heroin will affect people differently depending on how heavy their heroin use is. Those who are new to heroin will likely just feel tired and a little sluggish.

On the other hand, someone who is living with heroin addiction and using it frequently may start to feel very ill within a few hours after their last use.

Heroin withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable and produce strong cravings to use again. Many people continue using heroin simply to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

When someone uses heroin in quick succession to avoid withdrawal symptoms it can greatly increase the risk of overdose. The risk of heroin overdose increases with every dose.

Addiction Treatment Programs For Heroin Use

Addiction recovery centers are usually recommended for overcoming any type of opioid drug use disorder, even though the withdrawal symptoms are not considered life-threatening.


It is incredibly important that anyone going through the process of heroin addiction treatment begins with a period of detox.

Detox can be either medical or observational and located within an inpatient treatment center or outpatient detox center.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment options are very effective for treating substance abuse disorders. This type of treatment focuses on treating any co-occurring disorders that a person has.

Co-occurring disorders can include both mental health and behavioral health disorders such as bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a highly effective way to treat heroin addiction that involves using replacement drugs to help the body wane off of opiate abuse.

MAT may include drugs such as methadone, buprenorphine, and other medications that treat heroin’s effects on the brain’s opioid receptors.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment For Heroin Today

There is no shame in seeking help for a substance use disorder, whether the help you are seeking is for yourself or one of your loved ones or family members.

Even if you just have questions right now about how long a heroin high lasts or about drug addiction in general, we would love to talk to you. Please give our helpline a call today.


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