How Long Does Coke Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Coke Stay in Your System

Cocaine Half-Life and How Cocaine is Metabolized in the Body

Maybe you know you have an upcoming drug test and you want to know how your employer will be able to detect cocaine in your system. Perhaps you want to know when you might experience the first hint of withdrawal symptoms so that you can prepare and get the help you need.

In either case, you need answers to questions like, ‘How long does coke stay in your system?’ And Purpose is ready to provide them now with our latest resource!

Keep reading to learn all you need to know on cocaine in the body, and remember that Purpose Healing Center is also ready and waiting to help you with a cocaine abuse or addiction. We offer every level of care from residential treatment to intensive outpatient if you decide to reach out for effective support!

Get Effective Detox and Rehab Options at Purpose

How Long Does Coke Stay in Your System: Get Details!

If you are worried about popping positive for coke on a drug test, you are far from alone. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, roughly 1.9 percent of people have used cocaine in the past year. That means that one in fifty people might have reason to be concerned about how long cocaine remains in their system and when they will have a negative drug test.

So let’s get to it, how long does cocaine stay in your system? The answer can be complex depending on different factors and types of testing, so it helps to have a general understanding of the drug’s half-life and how the body metabolizes it.

Cocaine Half-Life (Aka: When to Expect it Out of Your System)

Anyone with a history of cocaine use could probably tell you that the effects of the drug wear off fairly quickly. Some research points to the idea that the half-life of cocaine is just one hour, which means that the concentration of it in the body is cut in half once an hour has elapsed since you last took a hit.

Other studies say that it could last a little longer, with a half-life of up to 90 minutes.

Either way, this extremely short half-life means you may want to seek cocaine addiction treatment as soon as possible after that last hit. You may start experiencing some of the withdrawal symptoms in mere minutes. You may even start to experience withdrawal while you still have some cocaine in your system.

Unfortunately for those seeking to pass a drug test, after this brief half-life, cocaine can be detected much longer by tests that look for what it leaves behind, or its metabolites.

How Cocaine Use Gets Metabolized

Cocaine addiction is serious and can wreak havoc on the body. Cocaine is primarily processed through the blood and the liver function. When you struggle with cocaine addiction and substance abuse, you are putting unnecessary strain on this part of the body.

One of the primary metabolites that is looked for on urine tests is benzoylecgonine. While there are 11 different metabolites that can surface to prove cocaine use, this is the first and most prevalent one to consider. It is highest in intravenous and intranasal routes of administration (as compared to smoked).

It is rather quickly absorbed into the body, but it gets metabolized fairly quickly as well. Beyond this, it can build up in your system and make it that much harder for you to show up clean on drug testing.

3 Factors That Influence Cocaine Metabolism Rates

Influence Cocaine Metabolism Rates

There are lots of factors influencing cocaine metabolism, so be sure to consider if any of these apply to you. If so, it may mean that coke will stay in your system for slightly longer and could pop positive on a drug test for even more than the times we are about to lay out.

1) Dosage and Purity of the Drug

The amount of cocaine you take will be the biggest factor in how long it will stay in your system. A larger dosage is going to take longer to fall outside of that detection window. Give it a few extra half-lives prior to taking a drug test if you know you have been consuming extraordinary amounts of coke.

Keep in mind that you might also build up a tolerance to the drug, requiring you to take more to achieve the same high. When this is the case, you could pop positive for longer because the dosages you must take to yield the same results are significantly higher.

Drug purity also impacts your dosage. Pure cocaine that hasn’t been laced with other substances is going to take longer to clear your system. While this does make for a better high, it also proves to be majorly problematic if your concern is passing an upcoming drug test.

2) Frequency of Cocaine Use

Especially if you have been taking cocaine for a while, it will take longer to work its way out of your body mass. Over time, your body becomes less efficient at clearing the substance from your bloodstream and body. As they start to function at a lower level, it’s more likely that cocaine will still be in your system for hours or even days.

While you may not feel the effects of the high anymore, you could still experience a positive drug test days after your last use.

Get Accredited Treatment Programs at Purpose

3) Drinking Alcohol with Cocaine Use

It is extremely dangerous to mix other substances with your cocaine use, particularly drinking alcohol. Combined with cocaine, alcohol presents new dangers for you beyond a positive drug test including seizures and liver damage.

The chemical compound produced in the body, known as cocaethlyene, can show up on drug tests for longer than cocaine alone. Its half-life is three to five times longer than cocaine alone. At a rate of five half-lives before it no longer shows on drug tests, that means it could take a full day or longer to clear cocaine from your system.

You may also have more issues if you are using other drugs in combination with your cocaine, as this can contribute even more heavily to the cocaine and bipolar disorder connection, as well as other dual diagnosis concerns.

When Will You Be Clean from Coke on a Drug Test?

Drug Test

If you are wondering how long cocaine stays in the body, chances are that you have drug tests coming up and want to be sure that you will pass. The problem is that there are no hard and fast rules for when a drug test will no longer be able to detect cocaine in the body.

It depends on how heavily you use the drug and how long you have been using it.

However, there are some general rules of thumb that you can consider when determining if your drug use is likely to show up on a drug test. Here is what you should know about how long cocaine remains in the body.

Urine Tests: 3 Days to 2 Weeks

A single use of cocaine will leave the body fairly quickly. Urine tests are the fastest way to test for cocaine abuse, and they are also the best for anyone struggling with substance abuse. Coke clears urine samples much faster than a hair sample.

In fact, you may not test positive on a urine test in as little as three days after use.

However, this is where it is crucial to be honest about your drug abuse. If you have been using coke (or crack) a lot, it is possible for a urine screening to still pop positive even after a week or two. As the drug builds up in your system, it is more and more likely that you will have issues with a urine test.

Blood and Saliva Tests: 2 Days

You may also be able to take blood tests or saliva tests as they both have a relatively short detection window. These two types of drug tests only reveal drug use within about 48 hours of the first use. This makes it great if you are worried about the long-term implications of cocaine use on a urine sample.

Blood samples are typically detectable within about five half-lives of the drug. Given the short half-life of cocaine, you could be clear on a blood test within about five to eight hours.

If you have crossed the 48-hour threshold from your last use, you should be in the clear with both blood and saliva tests.

Up To 100% of Rehab Costs Covered By Insurance

Hair Testing: Months to Years

Sometimes, you might be subject to a drug test that wants to pinpoint long-term usage of cocaine. While it clears the body’s system fairly quickly for urine, blood, and saliva tests, hair follicles tend to retain the signs of coke use far longer. It could take years before coke use is no longer present in the hair.

That being said, hair testing can’t pinpoint the exact point in time when you used cocaine. It merely shows up as either positive or negative. This could prove problematic if you are trying for a new job mandating drug testing after you start to embrace a sober lifestyle.

Give it about 90 days at the very minimum before you can expect your hair tests to show up negative from your last dose of cocaine.

Get Effective Help for Cocaine Abuse at Purpose Healing Center

Intensive Outpatient Therapy

Are you ready to stop worrying about drug tests and embrace help a healthier way of life? Cocaine withdrawal symptoms may be uncomfortable in the first days of sobriety and will likely come along with intense cravings to use the drug again (and again).

Instead of trying to go it alone, allow Purpose Healing Center to travel alongside you.

We provide everything you could need to embrace your recovery with services ranging from inpatient to intensive outpatient. If you need help with cocaine, or mental health, or both, reach out to our team of friendly experts today to hear more about our proven support programs!

References

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (n.d.). Results from the 2020 national survey on drug use and mental health indicators in the United States.
  2. Richards JR, Laurin EG. Cocaine. [Updated 2023 Jun 8]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from:
  3. Roque Bravo, R., Faria, A. C., Brito-da-Costa, A. M., Carmo, H., Mladěnka, P., Dias da Silva, D., Remião, F., & On Behalf Of The Oemonom Researchers (2022). Cocaine: An Updated Overview on Chemistry, Detection, Biokinetics, and Pharmacotoxicological Aspects including Abuse Pattern. Toxins, 14(4), 278.
  4. Cone, E. J., Tsadik, A., Oyler, J., & Darwin, W. D. (1998). Cocaine metabolism and urinary excretion after different routes of administration. Therapeutic drug monitoring, 20(5), 556–560.
  5. Andrews P. (1997). Cocaethylene toxicity. Journal of addictive diseases, 16(3), 75–84.