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How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your Body’s System?

woman with cocaine in her system
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Every drug that a person takes has a defined lifespan. Each drug has a unique lifespan, which refers to the amount of time a drug stays in the body. When discussing how long a drug stays in someone’s system, the lifespan of that drug is typically referred to in terms of half-lives.

Why is information about a drug’s half-life important to know? Well, there are many reasons that it is important to understand how long a drug will stay in someone’s system.

Of course, the motivations for understanding how long illicit drugs like cocaine can be found in the body’s systems may be linked to drug test results for some individuals who find themselves in that situation.

At The Bluffs, we strive to offer our patients accurate information about addiction and substance use to help them lead better, healthier lives. Taking on addiction with individualized cocaine treatment programs is a mission we pour our energy into and work every day towards advancing.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a very strong and potent stimulant that is usually recognizable by its white powder state. Cocaine is an illicit drug and is most often used for illegal recreational use. Regular users of cocaine might find themselves coming back to the drug in order to experience the feelings the substance gives them. 

As a stimulant, cocaine can offer a boost of energy and increase awareness in some people. For some, this may be a good reason to use it as a means of getting through the day or making themselves feel more energized when they feel down.

Cocaine is usually snorted through the nose in its powder form. Continued snorting of cocaine can leave a user with nasal damage. Cocaine can also be smoked or dissolved in water and then injected into a vein. Inhaling the vapors produced by smoking cocaine can lead to cough or chest pain and other complications. Meanwhile, injecting cocaine can lead to skin and vein deterioration and damage.

How Long After Cocaine Use Will It Appear In A Drug Test?

According to the University of Arizona, no matter how a user has taken cocaine, whether snorted, smoked or injected, cocaine’s metabolites are detectable in a urine drug test for approximately three to six hours after initial use.

The manner in which a person uses the initial cocaine only affects how fast the substance will reach the brain and produce a high. Research shows that injecting or smoking cocaine produces the fastest physiological effects. Snorting or ingesting cocaine can also produce a high, but the onset will take several minutes longer to come into full effect.

When discussing drug use and the effects of persistent use, it is always important to keep in mind that different people may react differently to substance use. Just because one person can tolerate a particular amount of cocaine does not mean that another individual can handle the same amount.

Similarly, there are several variables that can affect how long cocaine will remain in a person’s body. These factors include:

  • The length of time a person has used (tolerance they have built-up)
  • Dose
  • Time of last use
  • Frequency of use
  • Urine concentration and acidity (pH level)
  • Kidney  and liver function
  • Patient’s body mass
  • Age
  • Metabolism

Other Kinds Of Drug Tests: Blood, Saliva, And Hair

Up until now, we have discussed the time frame for identifying cocaine in a urine drug test. However, there are several other kinds of drug tests that exist. Each type of test can have a different time frame for identifying cocaine. Some of these can positively identify cocaine for months longer than a drug test. Drug tests, however, remain one of the most common ways for employers, schools, and other organizations to conduct tests.

Blood tests can detect cocaine some 12 hours after use and can detect the metabolite benzoylecgonine for up to 48 hours after use. Metabolites in a saliva sample can be detected for up to two days following cocaine use. Meanwhile, hair samples can also be used in drug testing, even though it is not as commonly seen or heard of.

Test results for hair samples can depend on where the hair on the body is collected. According to healthline, usually, hair samples are removed from the head with scissors and then sent off for testing. Washing, dying, or styling hair with products do not affect the outcome of a test. A hair follicle drug test can test for cocaine use 90 days out from initial use.

Side Effects And Risks Of Cocaine

Cocaine will speed up all of your body’s systems. Therefore, many of these common side effects include increased breathing or heart rate, for example.

Short-term cocaine effects can set in almost immediately after a dose and last anywhere from a couple of minutes to an hour.

  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Boost of energy
  • More talkative
  • More sensitive to sight, touch, and sounds
  • Feeling more mentally alert and present
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils (the pupils grow in size, causing potential light sensitivity)
  • Faster heart rate
  • Higher blood pressure

Long-term side effects of cocaine see the brain become less responsive to its natural reward system and reinforcers, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Long-term effects include:

  • Increased stress or anxiety when not using cocaine
  • More focus on using or keeping a stock of the drug
  • Developing a tolerance
  • Binge using (leading to irritability, panic attacks, and potential for overdose)
  • Lung damage/asthma/respiratory problems (when smoked)
  • Loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, chronic runny nose (when snorted)
  • Higher risk of contracting diseases like HIV and hepatitis C (when injected)
  • Allergic reactions (especially to street drug combinations that cut other drugs with cocaine)

An individual who uses cocaine for a long period of time also risks causing major damage to internal organs. Cocaine can reduce blood flow in the gastrointestinal tract, leaving it more vulnerable to ulcers or tears.

Chest pain is also a common side effect in long-term users. The heart and the whole cardiovascular system are particularly affected by cocaine use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that cocaine use has been linked to an increased risk of stroke and heart inflammation.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment in Ohio is the Answer

The best way to ensure a healthier and brighter future for yourself is to take a step toward getting addiction treatment from an organization that cares for your long-term recovery and best future. The Bluffs offers comprehensive and individualized care for all of our patients. Our programs are crafted in collaboration with licensed professionals who care deeply about providing quality programs for our patients.

Our inpatient program for cocaine addiction treatment addresses the symptoms of addiction and takes a deeper look at the causes of substance use or the tendency to relapse. These factors can include the family, environment, and healthy relationships. Our programs are not a standard 30-day rehab program. Instead, we adapt based on your needs.

Don’t wait to start your recovery journey with The Bluffs. Cocaine addiction treatment can be an effective way to achieve lifelong recovery. Call us today at 850.374.5331.

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