Urine tests to identify heroin have been in existence for decades. Used by private citizens to test their children, schools who administer random drug testing, or athletic programs that have a zero tolerance policy, these simple tests provide quick results. Drug testing is the industry tool used to identify whether an individual is adhering to a mandated recovery program, such as used in sober living homes. Also, the courts may require drug testing on regular intervals as part of a parole program or other court-ordered mandate.
When wondering how long does heroin stay in your urine, there are some facts to consider. Heroin is a short-acting drug, only remaining in the users system for a period of about an hour. However, when heroin is broken down into morphine, the drug creates metabolites that are stored in the body for a period of hours to several days, depending on various factors. So, how long does heroin stay in your urine? Well, that depends.
When a urine test is used to identify drug use it will usually not detect heroin. This is because heroin clears the body so rapidly. Instead, urine drug tests will pick up the metabolite, or the morphine and 6-acetylmorphine, that will remain detectible for a few days. Drug tests in the form of blood tests or saliva tests will also reveal these metabolites for up to two days, but a hair follicle test can reveal heroin use up to three months after use of the drug. Factors that can determine how long does heroin stay in your urine include your metabolism, body mass, how much and how often heroin is being ingested, and level of hydration.
The Role of Drug Testing in Recovery
As much as drug testing might be feared or abhorred, it serves an important purpose in recovery. Heroin addiction is very difficult to overcome when relying on one’s one devices. The cravings or reflexive responses to triggers can be very hard to ignore, making relapse very common in recovery. Unfortunately, a heroin relapse can be deadly.
Drug testing can create a deterrent to prevent slipping up. For example, knowing that if you relapse you could lose your sober living housing, your job, your marriage, or parenting rights, a drug test can help you stay the course. Just knowing the consequences that a relapse will have on your life makes drug testing a tool that helps reinforce recovery, especially in the first year of sobriety. Unfortunately, some individuals seek to game the system by inquiring how long does heroin stay in your urine so they can plan the drug use accordingly.
Once someone has make the commitment to get help for a heroin dependency, the next step is to undergo detoxification. The detox process is so unpleasant that it is advisable to go to a detox program where constant oversight and support can get you through it successfully. Withdrawal symptoms are so uncomfortable that, without this type of support and medical intervention, most individuals are not able to complete the process.
Withdrawal symptoms will vary in severity and scope depending on the history of heroin use and how much is usually consumed each day. Withdrawal symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Chills, fever
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nervous or jumpy
- Drug cravings
Heroin detox is usually completed in 5-7 days with withdrawal symptoms peaking on days 2-3 before subsiding.
Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment for a Heroin Addiction
A comprehensive program for treating heroin dependency is the next important step in recovery. Detox alone is simply not sufficient to sustain recovery from this potent drug. Treatment programs can be in the form of inpatient or outpatient rehabs. An inpatient rehab requires the individual to reside at the facility for an extended period where they will receive intensive daily therapy and support. An outpatient program provides more flexibility, as the individual can chose to remain at home outside of treatment hours, or to live in a sober living home while receiving treatment.
Both types of rehabs generally offer the same treatment elements, including:
- Psychotherapy. Both individual and group therapy sessions help individuals process past traumas, emotional problems, or current life struggles with a trained psychotherapist.
- Addiction education classes. Understanding how the brain chemistry responds to drugs and alcohol helps individuals grasp the reasons why they find it so difficult to overcome addiction.
- Relapse avoidance strategizing. An important part of rehab is anticipating the triggers that can challenge sobriety and lead to relapse. This involves careful planning of how to respond to the triggers and/or cravings to fend of relapse.
- Life skills classes. In many cases, addiction may have robbed a person of their livelihood. Getting back on track may take some helpful support, so life skills classes can assist with resume preparation, interviewing tips, and general job search strategizing.
- 12-step groups. The Alcoholics Anonymous blueprint for recovery helps individuals make incremental changes in their lives that helps reinforce a healthy mindset, as well as deepen the commitment to recovery. The recovery group meetings foster peer-based support and mentoring.
Medication-Assisted Treatment and Other Continuing Care Activities
In most cases, heroin addiction treatment will involve the use of a replacement drug that will slowly wean the individual off of heroin. Suboxone and naltrexone both help in reduce cravings and reinforce early recovery. Methadone is a very common opioid that is often provided in heroin treatment programs.
Phoenix Rising Behavioral Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) in Orange County
Phoenix Rising Behavioral provides comprehensive treatment for heroin addiction, combining evidence-based therapies with holistic activities and 12-step programming. This thorough approach to treating a heroin addiction is key to successfully overcoming the powerful effects of such an addiction. All aspects of the person must be treated and healed to result in a sustained recovery.
Phoenix Rising Behavioral uses cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and pseudo attachment therapy to make lasting changes in thought and behavior patterns, and to help individuals create new healthy habits and routines. The highly committed treatment team uses their expertise to help make real changes in someone’s life. For more information about the outpatient program, or how long does heroin stay in your urine, please contact Phoenix Rising today at (877) 299-5694.