How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?
How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?
Cocaine is a rapid-acting stimulant that mimics the feeling people experience naturally when they achieve a significant goal or have a major accomplishment. This intensely pleasant sensation can lead to users feeling extremely confident, conversational, and alert.
The flipside to this, however, is that the effects of cocaine typically last just 20 minutes or so. Thus, in order to maintain these positive feelings, users begin to take more in an attempt to maintain the high. This leads to the body developing a tolerance for the substance. After awhile, the individual has to use more and more of the drug to produce the same effects as when they first began using.
Additionally, the more cocaine a person uses, the more likely they are to begin experiencing the negative side effects of the drug, including paranoia, erratic or violent behavior, rapid heart rate, insomnia, and depression.
For those who are considering trying cocaine, or for those who are concerned that someone they know or love may be using the drug, “How long does cocaine stay in your system?” is often one of the first questions that comes to mind.
Cocaine is one of the most quickly metabolized drugs a person can take. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be detected long after a person has used it. It all depends on the type of cocaine drug test used.
Below is a guide to cocaine detection windows for each drug screening method:
URINE DRUG TEST
SALIVA DRUG TEST
HAIR FOLLICLE DRUG TEST
Up to 90 Days
BLOOD DRUG TEST
Types of Tests
As mentioned above, the ability to identify cocaine in your system depends entirely on the type of drug tests you are asked to complete.
Below is a more in-depth look at the four main cocaine test types and how they work:
Urine Cocaine Tests
Urine drug tests are easy to administer, since the individual simply has to urinate in a collection cup and submit the sample for testing. Unfortunately, however, urine tests can be manipulated using cheating tactics, like providing a fake urine sample or completing a detox cleanse before the screen.
Urine remain a preferred testing method due to their detection times, though, since they can detect cocaine for up to 4 days— much longer than saliva and blood tests.
Saliva Drug Tests
Because cocaine is so quickly broken down in the human body, it does not remain present in the saliva for long. In some cases, cocaine can go unnoticed in saliva in as little as two hours, while some tests have produced positive results up to 19 hours after use.
Due to this extremely narrow window, saliva tests are not used as frequently for cocaine detection as they are for other drugs.
However, if the test administrator is looking to screen an individual whom they believe has used cocaine within the last 24 hours, a saliva test may be more preferable than a urine test, simply because it is more difficult to manipulate the results of a saliva screen.
Hair Follicle Drug Tests
Most employers, healthcare professionals and other test administrators recommend hair follicle tests for cocaine detection, rather than looking for cocaine in urine or saliva. Hair follicle tests produce the most conclusive results and can detect Benzoylecgonine (the metabolite produced by body when processing cocaine) for up to 90 days.
Hair follicle tests can also provide information about how much cocaine an individual has used and can help test administrators determine if an individual is a chronic user.
Blood Drug Tests
Many people are surprised to hear that blood tests are actually the least effective testing method when it comes to identifying cocaine in the body. This is because cocaine is primarily metabolized by enzymes found in the liver and the blood. These enzymes are extremely efficient, eliminating cocaine from the bloodstream in as little as 1.5 hours.
Of course, whether or not a blood screen will detect cocaine in the body depends on how much cocaine the individual uses, how frequently, how they ingest the substances (snorting, intravenously, inhalation, etc.), and the person’s natural rate of metabolism.
Some blood tests have accurately provided positive cocaine results up to 24 hours.
With this being said, hair follicle tests remain the most definitive testing method for cocaine, since metabolites remain in human hair the longest.
Signs Someone May Be Using Cocaine
Before familiarizing yourself with the indications of cocaine use, it’s important to note that cocaine comes in several different forms.
The three main categories of cocaine are:
- Powdered Cocaine (Also known as “White Cocaine”, typically snorted, but can also be injected.)
- Crack Cocaine (Also known as “Rock”, has a hard, crystal-like appearance, and is typically smoked.)
Speedball Cocaine (Is produced by dissolving cocaine powder in water, the solution is then injected into the veins. Many mix cocaine with heroin when injecting it, which is referred to as a “speedball”.)
The effects of having crack in your system will differ slightly from the effects of snorting powdered cocaine or injecting it.
Thus, it is important to research each method of use and gain as much information as you can.
Below are a few general signs and symptoms that are associated with cocaine use:
- Runny nose or frequent “sniffling”
- Loss of appetite
- Enlarged pupils
- Excessive enthusiasm or energy
- Involuntary muscle twitching
- Irritability and mood swings
- Short attention span
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Being extremely talkative
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