Have you ever wondered how long does cocaine stay in your system for? Cocaine is a popular party drug. If you’re a cocaine addict or a cocaine user, you’ve probably wondered this question frequently. Many drug users are obsessed with this question because they’re wondering whether cocaine will show up on their drug tests. To answer your question, many different factors need to be taken into account. For example, the length of time that cocaine stays in your system will depend on your biological makeup, genetics, length of drug use, the cocaine purity and more.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 1.5 million Americans used cocaine in 2014
The amount of time it takes for the body to metabolize cocaine will vary. In general, cocaine will usually peak within the body after 30 minutes of consumption. The majority of the cocaine will be metabolized within 4 hours. With that said, cocaine drug tests look for metabolites. These metabolites are detectable in various drug tests for days to weeks to months after.
The Half-Life of Cocaine
Cocaine is an addictive stimulant. It has a fairly short half-life that usually lasts between 0.2 to 0.8 hours. Although cocaine is metabolized fairly quickly, its metabolites can stay in your system for quite some time. In fact, benzoylecgonine, a main cocaine metabolite, has a half-life of approximately 6 hours. Each cocaine metabolite stays in your system for quite some time. The longer half-life of each metabolite makes these molecules easier to test for.
With that said, the route of administration will also play a huge role as to when the effects of cocaine peak in the body. Those who have snorted cocaine will find that the cocaine will usually peak within 30 minutes. If cocaine is taken orally, plasma concentrations will peak after an hour. Different administration methods result in different results.
Cocaethylene and Taking Cocaine with Alcohol
If you are drinking alcohol when taking cocaine, you are much more likely to get addicted to both substances. You’re also more likely to overdose. This is because cocaine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. If you take cocaine while drinking alcohol, the effects of alcohol will take much longer to kick in. As a result, you’ll feel less drunk and drink more.
Most cocaine users don’t realize that alcohol increases the half-life of alcohol. This effect happens with crack cocaine as well. When mixing cocaine with alcohol, the two substances create a new chemical called cocaethylene. This chemical has a half-life of approximately 2.5 hours. Cocaethylene is quite dangerous, and can have a negative effect on your organs, especially your liver. This chemical also has a relatively long half-life in comparison to cocaine and alcohol. It’s also a molecule that is frequently tested for in cocaine drug testing kits.
Cocaine Drug Tests
Drug users are often curious as to whether they’re going to test positive for cocaine if they take a drug test. Some drug rehab centers will have patients take a drug test before they are admitted. This gives the medical professionals a better idea on the type of drugs that are being taken. Those who have tested positive for cocaine will need different treatment options than drug users who have tested positive for heroin. The different types of substance abuse require different types of treatments.
There are many different ways that a treatment facility can test for the cocaine drug. Different tests have different windows of opportunities for detecting cocaine. The period of time varies not only on the type of drug test used, but also the length of the drug use, the purity of the drug, among many other factors. Some of the most popular options include urine drug tests, saliva drug tests, blood drug tests and hair drug tests.
Urine Drug Tests
A urine drug test is non-invasive, inexpensive and effective. Urine samples are easy to collect. Cocaine remains in your urine for anywhere from 1 to 3 days after your last use depending on the amount taken. As the body flushes out more of the cocaine, the level of cocaine in your urine will start to decrease. It’s important to note that traces of cocaine is detectable in urine for up to a month in chronic users.
Saliva Drug Tests
A saliva drug test is also another non-invasive and simple procedure. Saliva samples for a saliva test will include a simple swab or spit. Both are fairly easy options. However, to make sure that there are no contaminants, most laboratories will require a swab. This prevents the saliva sample from containing any foods or other contaminants. Cocaine remains in saliva for up to two days after the last use, so results are quickly and easily obtainable.
Blood Drug Tests
The fact that cocaine stays in the blood for just a short amount of time makes blood tests quite ineffective. For one, the cocaine will usually only remain in the blood for at most two days. On top of this, this type of testing is much more invasive than the other two mentioned above. Blood testing is usually conducted only when a medical diagnosis is needed. It’s not that popular of a drug testing method.
Hair Drug Tests
Last but not least, we have hair drug tests. Drug users will need to provide a hair sample of at least 1.5 inches long. The hair sample must be of the latest hair possible that’s closed to the roots. Each 0.5 inches of hair represents 30 days. 1.5 inches of hair will provide insight into the past 90 days of the patient’s life. This type of drug testing is much more comprehensive and detailed. If you’re taking a hair drug test, you’ll need to provide at least 40 strands of hair for testing.
What Causes False Positives?
It’s positive to get false positives on cocaine drug tests. Not all drug tests are accurate. In addition, some other substances have chemical properties that are similar to cocaine. If the drug test that tested for cocaine detects a similar substance, it may show a false positive. Some of the other chemicals that may result in a false positive include:
- Anesthetics containing cocaine
- Bupivacaine-containing anesthetics
- Coca tea
- Some decongestants and anti-histaminic drugs, like Ephedrine nasal inhalers, Brompheniramine and Promethazine
The detection time for these substances also happens within the same window as cocaine. Cocaine stays in the body for quite a long period of time. This makes it fairly easy to determine whether a person is addicted to this drug or not.
In the event that you test positive when testing for a drug addiction, you can request a re-test. You can take cocaine drug tests several times in a row to ensure accuracy. In most cases, false positives and false negatives are fairly rare with cocaine drug tests. These issues are much more prevalent and common when testing for other types of addictive substances, like opioids.
Factors that Affect How Long Cocaine Stays in Your System For
A variety of factors can affect how long cocaine stays in your body for. Cocaine is detectable for various length of time depending on several different factors. These factors will affect how long the cocaine in your system will take to metabolize:
- Method of administration. A drug user who smokes cocaine and a drug user who injects the drug will see varying detection times. The administration method will influence how quickly this substance is able to enter the body.
- The amount of drug ingested. Drug tests are more likely to show up positive for chronic cocaine users who take large amounts of this drug. It’s important to note that the size of the dose will be relative to the size of the cocaine user. A bigger person who takes a large amount of cocaine will be more likely to metabolize it quicker than a smaller-sized person.
- Method of testing. Whether cocaine is detectable will depend on the type of drug test administered. For example, it’s possible to detect cocaine in hair samples for up to 90 days. On the other hand, this detection window is significantly shorted with saliva tests or blood tests.
- The length of the drug use. Chronic users are more likely to accumulate a higher level of cocaine in their system over time. It can take weeks for the body to filter all of the cocaine in chronic users. The longer the drug use, the more difficult it is for the liver to metabolize it all.
- Biological differences, especially concerning the health of the liver. The liver is responsible for metabolizing cocaine. If the liver is healthy and working properly, it will remove the drug even more quickly from the body.
There are many additional forces at play. Cocaine stays in each person’s system for different lengths of time. Those who test positive for cocaine should consider seeking detox and rehab treatment.
Talk to a Drug Addiction Specialist
Cocaine is a difficult drug to wean off of. This is especially true for those who have been mixing cocaine with other substances, like alcohol. Cocaine metabolites and the parent drug can remain in the body for quite some time. As the drug is removed from the body, users may start to experience cocaine withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be quite unbearable and painful. The only way to completely remove the drug from the body is to quit.
If you’re looking for some professional help, contact one of our addiction specialists to get more information on the various types of addiction treatment programs available. We can help set up travel arrangements and even verify your health insurance information. Before you make a decision, we can walk you through the recovery process and even give you a tour of our facility. We’re here to help you live a healthy and sober life.