Cocaine in Your System

How to Get Cocaine Out of Your System

Cocaine is a local anesthetic that is derived from the leaves of the coca plant. Cocaine belongs to the family of drugs known as stimulants and offers short-lived euphoric effects that are followed by cravings for more. When cocaine is ingested, smoked, snorted, or injected it travels through the body, and over time, changes into metabolites that are expelled from the body. The highest concentrations of drugs like cocaine and metabolites are found in urine, but they can also be found in blood, saliva, sweat, tears, hair, and even finger and toenails.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Exactly how long can cocaine stay in the system? Cocaine’s half-life is relatively short and averages anywhere from a half-hour to an hour and a half. Cocaine concentrations rapidly decrease in about 1 hour. Only six hours are needed to eliminate about 99 percent of the substance from a person’s body. Benzoylecgonine (BZE)  is the metabolite form of cocaine and has a much longer half-life of 5 to 6 hours. It can be detected in urine for a considerably longer period of time. Cocaine metabolites can be detected in urine for 2 to 4 days after the last use of the substance.

Drug Testing for Cocaine

There are multiple ways to detect cocaine in a person’s body. One cocaine drug test is done through a blood test. How long does cocaine stay in blood? Generally, blood can only show a positive result for a short period of time after cocaine has been consumed. This is because once people who use cocaine experience their high, the drug concentration in the blood begins to decrease. Compared to using a urine test that could be positive for a few days after a person’s last use.

A urine test is another way to test for cocaine use. Urine testing is thought to be highly reliable and is the most widely tested specimen in drug testing. One benefit of the urine analysis is that in urine, drugs are generally highly concentrated so it gives an accurate reading. Another benefit to a urine drug test is that urine can be tested and then retested by another laboratory if necessary. However, in urine testing, only BZE that is found in cocaine is detectable.

Another way to test a person for cocaine is through an oral fluid or saliva test. Saliva is more acidic than plasma (blood) so cocaine is frequently found in higher concentrations in plasma than in a persons’ saliva. In a saliva test, both cocaine and the BZE can be identified making a saliva test a more accurate test for determining cocaine use. If a saliva test is positive for cocaine it indicates very recent use of the substance. The saliva cocaine drug test detection time is about 8 hours after the last use of the substance. Also, a saliva test can detect ecgonine methyl ester (EME) which indicates cocaine has been administered through smoking.

A standard hair test is another method to test for cocaine in a person’s body.  It typically takes about 5 to 7 days from the time of drug use for the potion of the hair containing the drug to grow above the scalp. Once the hair grows above the scalp cocaine can be detected. A hair analysis is useful because there is a wider window of detection with a strand of a person’s hair. 72 hours after a person uses cocaine it is undetectable in a urine test. Compared to a urine test, a hair test can detect cocaine over the course of days or even months. It is 6-10 times or 85 percent more effective in identifying cocaine than a urine analysis. This guarantees that a person who uses the substance cannot trick the test by simply abstaining from the drug for a few days. A few other advantages are it is non-intrusive, a person can’t tamper with the test, and the test can be repeated so there is greater accuracy.

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Factors That Affect How Long Cocaine Stays in Your Body

How long does cocaine stay in urine? In urine, the length of time cocaine can be detected varies from person to person. This is because people have different hydration levels, they take different doses, their metabolism works differently, they have different body masses, urine pH levels, and duration of use. The more hydrated a person is the more diluted the drug and their urine will be. On the flip side, the more dehydrated a person is, the more concentrated their urine will be and that could mask the drug. Also, if a person takes a low dose of cocaine the level of the drug in their urine might be too low to be detected. Finally, metabolism is unique to each person and is largely dependent on a person’s genetics, age, sex, ethnicity, liver impairment, and environmental factors. Therefore, the length of time cocaine stays in a person’s body is largely dependent on each person.

Getting Help For Cocaine Addiction

Getting the right help for cocaine addiction is important because this drug can cause serious harm to a person’s body. Detoxing from cocaine addiction can be extremely difficult.  No one should have to go through the excruciating detoxification process on their own. Finding a high-quality rehabilitation facility can help.

A person can either go to an inpatient or outpatient rehab center. An inpatient center is generally used for people who have a severe addiction to cocaine and need 24/7 care from trained medical staff. An outpatient center is used more for mild cases of cocaine addiction who have a strong support system and require less round the clock supervision. At a rehabilitation clinic, a person who is addicted to cocaine will receive support from trained medical professionals who will provide medical treatments as well as mental health counselors who will offer behavioral therapies.

Currently, there are no drugs in the United States that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat individuals who are addicted to cocaine. However, behavioral therapies have been proven to be effective in helping a person overcome their cocaine addiction. One form of behavioral therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy. This is used to help individuals impede relapse and aids in continual abstinence from using cocaine. Another form of behavior therapy is contingency management. This is a program that uses a prize-based system that rewards individuals who are recovering from their cocaine addiction for refraining from cocaine use. Another treatment option is a 12-step program that can help individuals who are addicted to cocaine overcome their affliction and maintain abstinence.

References

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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