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But other factors can influence how long it stays in someone’s body, such as metabolism, weight, dose, and frequency of use. Drinking while taking cocaine may also slow its elimination from the body.
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Cocaine use in any form can carry the risk of addiction and long-term health consequences. If you or someone you know is addicted to cocaine, American Addiction Centers (AAC) – the leading rehabilitation specialist in the U.S. is here to help.
There are a variety of confidential, free, and no obligation ways to get in contact with us to learn more about treatment.Call as at to talk to one of our admissions advisors where we can answer any questions you might have about treatment for you or a loved one.Fill in our online insurance verification form below to find out if your insurance provider may be able to cover the cost of treatment. Our admissions advisors may contact you thereafter to discuss your options.
To estimate of the effects of cocaine addiction on a person’s long-term physical health, check out our online calculator.Impacts of Cocaine Calculator
Cocaine is a very fast-acting central nervous system stimulant that produces an intense but short-lived euphoric high, lasting for only a few minutes to an hour, depending on how it is used.1
The speed of onset of cocaine’s effects, as well as the total duration of action, is influenced by the method of use:1,2Snorting: Effects felt within 3-5 minutes and persist for up to 20 minutesSmoking: Effects felt within 5-10 seconds and persist for up to 20 minutesIntravenous use: Effects felt within 5-10 seconds and persist for up to 20 minutesOral ingestion: Effects felt within 10-30 minutes and persist for up to 90 minutes
To estimate of the effects of cocaine addiction on a person’s long-term physical health, check out our addiction calculator.
AAC has the expertise, trained staff, and nationwide facilities to give you the best chance for recovery. We are committed to the single purpose of helping you or a loved one find their way out of addiction. For more information about rehabilitation for substance use disorders, call us; we are open 24/7 to answer all your questions.
Injecting or smoking cocaine can cause a rush, which is then followed by a high, whereas other modes of use only cause a high.4 It is common for individuals to use cocaine over and over again in a short time period to stay high, also known as a binge.5 Binge use is often followed by an unpleasant crash.6 The crash may lead them to seek more of the drug to counter the crash. Repeated cocaine use can easily lead to an increased tolerance and even addiction.5
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 966,000 people in the United States age 12 and older met the criteria for a cocaine use disorder—more commonly referred to as a cocaine addiction—in 2017.3
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How Cocaine Is Detected on Drug Tests
Cocaine’s half-life is roughly one hour.4 This means that it takes about an hour for the body to eliminate half of the cocaine currently in the bloodstream.7 However, long-term use may lead to longer elimination times, allowing certain tests to detect the drug in the system for an extended period.8
Detection timeframes for different types of tests are listed below:Cocaine or its metabolites typically can be detected in the blood and the saliva for up to 2 days after the last use.9It may be detectable in a hair sample for months to years.10Its metabolites can usually be detected in urine for up to 3 days, but it can remain detectable for up to 2 weeks in heavy users.9
Despite the different testing methods available, urine toxicology screening remains the most commonly used method of testing.9
Anyone who is concerned about testing positive for cocaine should review the dangers of cocaine use and consider stopping use. If they find they are unable to stop using, they may have a cocaine use disorder.
Those who struggle with cocaine addiction should seek substance use treatment as soon as possible.
What Factors Can Affect How Long Cocaine Remains in Your Body?
Factors that may affect how long cocaine stays in your system include:11The dose.Frequency of use.When you last used cocaine.Urine pH.Concentration of urine.Kidney or liver impairment.Body mass.
Does Method of Use Affect How Long Cocaine Stays in Your System?
As mentioned above, the method of use affects how quickly the drug reaches the brain. But it does not affect how long cocaine stays in a person’s system. Regardless of how it is used, cocaine and cocaine’s metabolites will show up in urine 3 to 6 hours after last use.4
AAC is the Nations’ leader in addiction treatment. We not only understand the disease and the associated mental health components, we actively treat hundreds of people each day with individualized treatment programs. We are committed to working with you to determine the best course of action to treat the disease impacting your life; we are a quick phone call away.
How Is Cocaine Metabolized in the Body?
Cocaine is metabolized by enzymes in the liver and blood. Its main metabolite present in urine is benzoylecgonine, followed by ecgonine methyl ester.12
Benzoylecgonine can be detected in urine for up to 4 days, depending on how often someone uses, their metabolism, and the dose.12
Benzoylecgonine is the main cocaine metabolite used in drug testing because it has a urine concentration 50 to 100 times greater than the concentration of cocaine.4
Does Cocaine Stay in Your System Longer if It’s Combined With Alcohol?
Using cocaine with alcohol can cause a number of problems for users:13The combination can lead to increases in heart rate.Using cocaine with alcohol or after drinking alcohol can lead to up to a 30% increase in cocaine levels in the blood.The combination can also produce a metabolite called cocaethylene, which may enhance the cardiotoxic effects of cocaine and alcohol.
Cocaine appears to be eliminated slower when it is combined with alcohol, and cocaethylene appears to be eliminated slower than cocaine:A study in humans found that cocaethylene seemed to be eliminated slower than cocaine.14Another study that used dogs found that both cocaine and cocaethylene were cleared by the body at a rate about 20% slower when they were combined with alcohol.15Finally, another study in rats found that repeated use of alcohol slowed the rate of cocaine elimination.16
Can Other Substances Cause You to Test Positive for Cocaine?
False positives with cocaine immunoassay urine drug screens are rare. But they can happen, and the result can cause issues for the person. In one case study, a false positive for cocaine negatively affected a patient’s pain therapy.17
If you believe you have a false positive test, follow up with the doctor or whoever ordered the test and see if they can verify the result with another type of test, such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry or liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry.14
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Cocaine?
Over time, cocaine can cause a number of harms to users. Possible long-term health effects of cocaine can be affected by route of administration and include:18Increased risk of stroke and seizures.Inflammation of the heart muscle.Reduced ability of the heart to contract.Aortic ruptures.Increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.Deficits in attention, inhibition, memory, decision-making, and motor tasks.Malnourishment.Weight loss.Loss of sense of smell.Nosebleeds.Trouble swallowing.Chronic inflamed, runny nose.Worsening of asthma.Risk of HIV and hepatitis.
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