Cocaine is a stimulant. Most commonly, it’s sold on the street in powder form. It can also be sold in the crystal form called crack.
No matter how it’s sold or ingested, it’s likely to stay present in the body for up to four days. However, elements of it can remain for up to 90 days.
How Long Can Cocaine Be Detected?
When a person uses cocaine, it enters the body, creating a powerful euphoric sensation. Snorting it, the most common method, produces this high quickly.
The high generally peaks within 30 minutes and can go on for up to an hour. As soon as you consume cocaine, it’s detectable in your system.
Smoking cocaine lets it enter the bloodstream faster, often within five minutes. This allows for rapid absorption and a fast high. However, within one hour, it’s possible for a urine test to pinpoint the presence of cocaine if you’ve smoked it.
Why This Drug Is Tested
Cocaine is an illegal substance. You may be required to be tested for it for employment reasons, to ensure you’re not using any drugs while on the clock. Some schools test for illicit drugs like cocaine.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with a crime, you may also be tested for this drug. The laws on when you must submit to these tests range by state.
The presence of cocaine is tested because it’s a dangerous drug. In the short term, it can cause the following effects, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
- Psychological effects
- Dilation of the pupils
- Increased heart rate
- Erratic and violent behavior
- Sudden death
In a work or school environment, cocaine use can pose a risk to you and others. Driving or operating heavy machinery while using cocaine can cause deadly accidents.
If you come to an emergency room with any of these symptoms, your doctors will likely test for cocaine so they can administer the proper treatment. Cocaine detection is an essential step in the treatment of suspected overdoses.
Your state laws determine if your actions warrant forced testing for cocaine. Employers and schools with policies about random drug tests or suspected-use drug tests may also require you to be tested for cocaine. Make sure to understand your rights in these situations.
How Is the Presence of Cocaine Tested?
It’s possible for cocaine to be present in urine, blood, saliva and hair. The method used depends on who is conducting the test.
It’s very common for drug testing to begin with a urine sample. Some people may also be required to complete a hair screening because the presence of cocaine lasts longer there.
Cocaine’s Life in the Body
The cocaine detection window is impacted by the drug’s half-life. This drug doesn’t remain in the body as long as others. Its half-life is about six hours.
That means that at least half of the drug amount ingested is eliminated from the body within that time. Another 25% of the drug disappears within another six hours.
How Long Is Cocaine in Urine?
The most common method for detecting cocaine is in urine. Most often, cocaine remains in the urine for about a day. However, one component of cocaine, called benzoylecgonine, has a longer half-life of about 12 hours.
That means it can remain in the urine for up to four days. Most of the time, if you get a urine test, it’s screening for this component.
How Long Is Cocaine in Your Blood?
Cocaine enters the blood within a matter of minutes of consuming it either through snorting or through smoking. Once it’s there, it travels throughout the body. Hitting the brain, it creates the euphoric feeling most people use this drug to experience.
Most of the drug is removed from the blood within the first day. However, trace amounts of benzoylecgonine remain in the system for up to a day. If you get a blood test within a day of using cocaine, it’s likely to pick up on these trace elements.
How Long Is Cocaine in Oral Fluid?
Though less commonly tested, cocaine is present in saliva. It’s not likely that you can rinse out your mouth and remove these elements because it’s in your saliva as it’s produced, not just in your mouth due to ingesting it. Cocaine can be detected in saliva for up to two days.
How Long Is Cocaine in Hair?
Cocaine’s benzoylecgonine element is perhaps one of the hardest components to flush away. After a few days, cocaine may no longer be present in the body itself.
However, during that time, your hair has grown, and trace amounts of the substance have likely penetrated your hair. It remains there until the hair is cut, or about 90 days for most people.
Factors That Impact Duration
These are estimates of how long cocaine stays in the body. Many factors impact these lengths of time, including your height, weight and age. In addition, the amount and potency of the cocaine can play a role, though both crack and cocaine in its powder form have the same half-life.
In people who have a liver disorder, including liver disease, the breakdown of cocaine can take longer. This may mean that it remains in the system much beyond these estimates.
Ways People Try to Alter Test Results
Cocaine drug tests are very reliable. However, false positives can occur due to error.
Also, some substances can create a false positive, including coca tea, some cold medications and second-hand smoke from marijuana. If you know you’re clean and test positive, request a secondary test.
Some people try to alter their test results because they know they’ve used the drug. Some over-the-counter products promise to help to do this. However, it’s very hard to eliminate all trace elements of cocaine from the body.
Taking these products is not an effective method for removing cocaine from your system. Also, people sometimes add household chemicals to urine, for example, sodium chloride, in an attempt to create a false reading. Most often, these methods don’t work.
If You’re Trying to Alter Test Results, Consider Seeking Help Instead
It’s not uncommon for people with cocaine addiction to find themselves struggling to stop using or avoiding these types of drug detection tests. This could be a sign you need help. Contact our counselors at FHE Health for the immediate support you need by calling us 24 hours a day at 844-299-0618.How long can cocaine be detected in the blood, urine or hair? Learn more about the cocaine detection window.