Cocaine is the third most widely used drug in America following prescription drugs and Marijuana, which is first. Although it is dropping in popularity, coke is still one of the most trafficked drugs in the world. Statistics have shown a steady increase in international trade and seizures.
Coke is also known to be one of the most powerful “natural” stimulants. Along with its stimulating properties, coke is also just as addictive. This makes cocaine use a serious problem for some. Leading to addictions and ultimately the possibility of jail time and even death due to overdose.
The areas of the brain affected when someone uses cocaine, is generally regarded as the “reward” or pleasure circuits. When someone smokes, snorts, injected or ingested this drug in anyway, the nervous system responds by releasing dopamine. After repeated use, these dopamine receptors become dependant on cocaine. Once dependency forms, its becomes difficult for a user to naturally release dopamine.
The gradual change in the brain’s reward system is what leads to addiction
How long is Coke Detectable
Once cocaine is ingested, it is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, where it starts to take effect on the user. As it works to produce a high, it is also being metabolized in the body. This means that your body is breaking down coke to smaller compounds. These compounds are slowly eliminated through the urine.
The six cocaine metabolites are: norcocaine, benzoylecgonine, m-hydroxycocaine, p-hydroxycocaine, m-hydroxybenzoylecgonine and p-hydroxybenzoylecgonine. From these six metabolites, benzoylecgonine is the most common marker for abuse. This is because it tends to have the highest concentration, is in the system longer and is only produced through cocaine use.
How Long is Cocaine in Your System
The amount of time it takes for cocaine and its metabolites to get out of the body varies from individual. It depending on the amount of use, duration of use and metabolism of the user. A heavy, long time user can have traces of coke in their system for a maximum of a month.
Most occasional or one time users will be able to metabolise cocaine within 12 to 72 hours after last use. The metabolite, benzoylecgonine, which is used for drug testing can stay in the body for much longer. That is why a drug test can test for the presence of coke, but as a standard, benzoylnorecgonine is also tested. As it is eliminated, the one time user will test positive and fail a drug screening.
Time it Takes To Eliminate Coke
Due to individual factors, the detectable metabolites in coke can be in your body for 4 days and up to 25 days after use. This is because Benzoylecgonine is so slowly eliminated.
Coke is detectable in Urine for:
- Heavy and regular user may have detectable traces for 10 to 25 days after last use
- Light or occasional users will fail a drug test for cocaine for 5 – 20 days after the last use
- One time users will usually be able to eliminate any trace of cocaine use after 5 – 10 days, depending on amount used.
How is Cocaine use Screened
Besides urine analysis, which is the most common form of testing. Other types of screenings can be used to detect coke in a person’s system.
Saliva is the easiest on the spot way to test for use. Most commonly used on accident scenes where time is more valuable than accuracy. This is because you must actually be high at the time to fail. Usually only detectable through saliva 5 minutes to 1 day after use.
Blood tests for cocaine are more common with law enforcement and legal procedures. Blood tests for coke can usually detect coke use for the same amount of time as urine.
Hair analysis is quickly becoming the norm for all drug test. This is due to the fact that hair drug tests are the hardest to fraud. They also can test any drug use for the past 3 months after last use. A 1.5’ sample of hair strand can check for use up to 90 days.
Even if someone addicted to cocaine eliminates it from their body, this doesn’t mean they are no longer addicted to the drug. The detectable metabolites have nothing to do with the neurological effects of coke. Habit forming drugs create a system of chemical dependency within the user. This is why some habits are hard to break and may require additional help.
It is never too late to ask for help with your cocaine addiction. One should never feel embarrassed or try to hide a coke problem when they know that help is needed. It can be as easy as asking a friend.