Drug and Alcohol

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Cocaine can be detected in your system for a surprisingly long time. Learn more about cocaine's effects on the body, withdrawal, and more in our blog.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

March 22, 2023

The Edge Treatment Center

How long does cocaine stay in your system?

It's a question many people ask, especially if they're caught up in cocaine abuse or when an individual wants to get sober or help a loved one.

By the Numbers:

According to the 2021 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 4.8 million individuals between the ages of twelve and older admitted to consuming cocaine in the previous year in 2021. 

Following its last dose, cocaine or its derivatives usually occurs in a saliva or blood test for up to 48 hours, a stool/urine test for up to 72 hours, and a hair examination for several months. A frequent cocaine user might show positive for a maximum of two weeks on urine analysis.

However, additional variables, including digestion, body mass, dosage, and regularity of use, could all influence the time it remains in someone's system. Using alcohol while using cocaine may indeed decrease its removal from the system.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a highly addictive and powerful stimulant. It's made from the leaves of the coca plant in a complex chemical process. The leaves of the coca plant have been chewed for centuries as a source of energy, as an anesthetic, and as a way to treat altitude sickness in the Andes region of South America.

On their own, coca leaves are about as stimulating as a cup of coffee. When turned into cocaine, however, their effects are much stronger. Cocaine is most often used in a powder form that's inhaled into the sinuses. It can also be smoked and injected.

What Are the Early Effects of Cocaine?

People engage in cocaine abuse because the drug creates an intense, short-lived high. It is normal for people to consume cocaine repeatedly for a brief time to remain high, which is described as a frenzy. An uncomfortable downfall constantly influences binge drinking. They may desire additional doses of the medicine to compensate for the drop. Regular cocaine abuse often results in cocaine addiction.

Based on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2017, around 966,000 persons aged 12 and over in the United States matched the requirements for a cocaine abuse problem, often known as cocaine addiction.

How Long Does It Take to Feel the Effects of Cocaine?

Cocaine is a drug that's very fast-acting. However, the precise duration it takes to kick in varies on how you take it. The effects of snorting or orally using cocaine are felt between one to three minutes. If you smoke cocaine or inject it, the effects tend to be felt much quicker. Whatever method you use cocaine, you will experience the effects in a short amount of time.

The variation in time is due to the rate at which the substance reaches your circulation. When inhaled, the medication must first pass through mucous, epidermis, and other membranes. It goes through your circulation immediately if you smoke or infuse it.

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What Is the Half-Life of Cocaine?

Cocaine has a half-life of about one hour. This means our systems require around 60 minutes to absorb cocaine. On the other hand, extended cocaine use might result in longer half-life periods, enabling laboratory drug testing to identify the substance in the bloodstream for a prolonged time.

What is half life of Cocaine? This image describes the half life of Cocaine

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

How long does Cocaine stay in your system? This chart shows how long Cocaine stays in urine, saliva, blood, and hair

Mentioned below are time detection details for various systems of the body:

Blood Test for Cocaine

With a blood test, cocaine can be detected in your system for up to 2 days.

Urine Test for Cocaine

A urine test for cocaine can detect the drug after 3 days for light users, and possibly up to two weeks for frequent users.

Hair Test for Cocaine

With a hair follicle test, cocaine can be detected for weeks and potentially for years after it was used.

Saliva Test for Cocaine

Cocaine is detectable for up to 2 days in a saliva test for cocaine.

Cocaine can usually be found in the body's blood and saliva for at least two days following the last usage. It might be identifiable in a hair specimen for several months to years. Its compounds can normally be discovered in the urine for a maximum of three days, although in heavy cocaine users, it might be identified for as long as two weeks.

Regardless of the various testing procedures accessible, urine testing for cocaine remains the most routinely used. Individuals worried about a positive cocaine result must research the risks of cocaine usage and reconsider quitting. Someone could suffer from a cocaine addiction if they find it difficult to discontinue consumption.

Individuals suffering from a cocaine habit should get therapy as promptly as possible.

Which Factors Influence the Time of Detection?

Cocaine may normally be identified in between two and ten days, as stated by the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). Take into consideration that this is a broad span. Recognition periods might differ based on a variety of variables. They include:

Type of Drug Test

Detection methods identify compounds that seem to be residues generated by your system as it dissolves toxins. Because some compounds remain in your body for a long time compared to others, the detection timeline might vary depending on the compounds being analyzed.

How Much Cocaine Was Used

The larger amount of cocaine used, the longer it's detectable in the system.

How Often Cocaine Was Used

The more frequently cocaine is used, the easier it is to detect in a drug test.

The Way Cocaine Was Used

Some methods of cocaine use may cause it to be detected for longer periods of time.

The Purity of Cocaine Used

Cocaine usually contains impurities or other elements that can influence how prolonged it remains in your body.

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Your Physiology

Cocaine's major constituent, benzoylecgonine, frequently checked for within pharmaceutical analysis, could be retained in subcutaneous fat. Hence the more fat percentage you have, the more and more coke compounds can collect in the system.

Other Drugs Used

When you combine drink and drugs, specific cocaine byproducts can stay in your bloodstream for far longer.

How Is Cocaine Metabolized in the Body?

Cocaine is processed in the liver and bloodstream by proteins. Its primary constituent in urinate is benzoylecgonine, preceded by ecgonine methyl ester. As per the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), benzoylecgonine could be identified in bodily fluids for a maximum of four days, based on how frequently it is used, the user's digestion, and the dosage. Since it has a urinary content 50 to 100 times higher than cocaine, benzoylecgonine is the most commonly utilized cocaine byproduct in drug screening.

Does Cocaine Last Longer in the Body when Paired with Alcohol?

Cocaine combined with alcoholic beverages can lead to several issues for consumers, including:

  • Cocaethylene, a byproduct produced by the mixture, might exacerbate the cardioprotective consequences of alcoholic beverages and cocaine.

  • The pulse rate may rise as a result of the interaction.

  • Cocaine can exacerbate cognitive impairments, impede cerebral function, and decrease operating ability.

  • Consuming cocaine alongside or just after consuming alcohol might result in a 30 percent rise in the blood level of cocaine.

When coke is coupled with liquor, it seems to be discarded more slowly, and cocaethylene tends to be removed more slowly than coke, Cocaethylene seems to be removed sooner than coke in a clinical investigation. Another test that employed dogs discovered that when coke and cocaethylene were paired with alcohol, the system eliminated them at a 20 percent lesser speed.

Lastly, additional rat analysis found that prolonged liquor usage decreased the efficiency of cocaine removal.

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Effects of Cocaine Abuse on Pregnancy

First and foremost, don't jump to conclusions: this is a far more regular phenomenon than you might believe. According to the NCBI, drug usage during pregnancy is often underestimated because of stigma and concerns about legal ramifications.

Cocaine penetrates the placenta and so enters the fetus during the pregnancy. Cocaine usage during the first few weeks of pregnancy might raise the risk of stillbirth and uterine abruption. Preterm birth might even result from cocaine use throughout gestation. Scientific data from NCBI has also linked prenatal cocaine usage to:

  • Reduced body mass of the infant

  • Relatively small physique and head size

  • Later-life behavioral and psychological difficulties

Nonetheless, the majority of existing research is based on long-term cocaine usage. These hazards may be minimized if you utilize them just once or occasionally before discovering what you expect. Consider that most study on gestational cocaine consumption in the U.S. has concentrated on persons from low-income backgrounds, which presents an array of environmental concerns that can affect a fetus. This is not meant to suggest that prenatal coke consumption is not detrimental. However, it is difficult to recognize concerns that are unique to cocaine intake. Cocaine rapidly enters breast milk and influences lactation. Some studies advocate delaying at least twenty-four hours after using coke on a particular instance before lactating again.

Managing Cocaine Withdrawal

If you are worried about cocaine in your bloodstream, you should quit using coke instantly. But, based on your consumption habit, you may encounter cocaine withdrawal symptoms.

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms might include the following:

  • Having difficulty sleeping

  • Mood swings

  • Signs of anxiousness

  • Problems with focusing

  • Appetite changes

  • Disorientation

  • Vivid fantasies

  • Lack of energy

  • Depression

These can appear anywhere between several hours and a few weeks following your previous usage. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms invariably subside within a couple of days. However, some individuals may have difficulties over several periods. Although coke detoxification can be unpleasant, it is usually manageable at home. The following recommendations may assist you in feeling better while you navigate the procedure:

  • Eat on a regular schedule. Even though you do not feel hungry, providing your system with nourishment is critical. Choose nutrient-dense meals such as whole cereals, berries, and vegetables when feasible.

  • Keep hydrated. Remember that freshwater is not your sole option here. Protein shakes, smoothies, stews, and other fluids, are also acceptable.

  • Be patient. Simplify your calendar as far as possible to allow yourself more time for relaxation.

  • Grab some fresh air. If you're feeling energetic, go for a short stroll outdoors, even if it's only around the street, or locate a warm spot to relax outside.

  • Get yourself occupied. If you're bored but don't want to do anything, keeping certain mindless hobbies on hand will help. For example, play some repeats of your favorite Series, do a simple crossword or phone a buddy.

Although cocaine detoxification does not necessitate hospital treatment, it should not preclude you from seeking assistance. When you feel confident doing so, you might contact your general practitioner and inquire whether they can recommend anything at all to assist you in controlling your difficulties. Detoxing from cocaine at a drug detox center makes the process much easier.

Detecting a Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine overdose is an unfortunate consequence of cocaine use, especially if it's mixed with other drugs. Symptoms include:

  • Erratic heartbeat or pulse

  • High blood pressure

  • Anxiety

  • Convulsions

Cocaine has been involved in many high-profile drug overdoses. Additionally, other drugs frequently appear or are sold as cocaine, including fentanyl. Taking cocaine laced with other drugs like opioids dramatically raises your chances of suffering a possibly fatal accident. Make sure that you and people close to you are aware that if an individual exhibits one of the following symptoms of opioid overdose, you should phone 911 immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Unconsciousness

  • Blue complexion

  • Skin is cold and clammy to the touch

If you intend to use cocaine, you should also possess naloxone, a drug that can counteract an opiate addiction if anybody consumes tainted cocaine. Please ensure that the individuals around you understand when and exactly how to utilize it. Naloxone and fentanyl testing kits are available over the counter in many places. If unsure whether an individual suffers from a coke or opiate addiction, you could still inject naloxone properly.

While it will not restore a cocaine-only accident, it will not damage the individual.

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Would you like more information about how long cocaine stays in your system? Reach out today.

What Is the Treatment for Cocaine Addiction?

Cocaine addiction is a complicated illness having physical, psychological, interpersonal, ecological, and genetic components. There are numerous crack addiction treatments available that tackle each of these factors.

Drug Rehab

Both inpatient drug rehab and outpatient drug rehab can treat cocaine addiction. These treatment facilities are able to treat cocaine addiction using a variety of evidence-based treatments.

Behavioral Modification

Behavioral therapies offer positive prospects in treating crack addiction. Ambulatory care is available, as is rehabilitation as a component of an inpatient rehab facility. Therapeutic approaches are frequently employed in conjunction with drugs. Incentives for accomplishing goals connected to quitting use are used in behavioral regimens, as is psychotherapy, which emphasizes cognitive procedures that assist you in maintaining your sobriety.

Prescription Drugs

Although there are no drugs particularly developed to treat crack addiction, certain pharmaceuticals having other objectives, including mood stabilizers, can be beneficial.

The Edge Treatment Center Treats Cocaine Abuse Effectively

Cocaine stays in your system long enough to do serious damage. The Edge Treatment Center provides expert, evidence-based treatment for cocaine addiction and more. Reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today to learn more about our cocaine abuse program.

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