Cocaine Drug Testing Explained

Cocaine Drug Testing

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Cocaine is one of the world’s most popular recreational drugs. It increases dopamine levels in your brain and creates a sensation of happiness. 

People who use this drug are very social and have a tendency to talk a lot. They also tend to be agitated, nervous, anxious, dissociated and even psychotic.

How Does a Cocaine Drug Test Work?

Cocaine drug tests work not by searching for the presence of cocaine, but for proof that the body has recently metabolized (proving the ingestion of) cocaine. While cocaine takes roughly 6-24 hours to leave the body, the product created when the body metabolizes cocaine, Benzoylecgonine, can be detected up to 5 days after the last consumption.

While it may sound counterintuitive at a first glance, when a cocaine drug test is conducted the substance that a person is tested for usually isn’t cocaine, but rather its metabolite Benzoylecgonine.

Metabolites are substances that our bodies create after metabolizing a certain toxic substance. The process of metabolizing cocaine usually takes between 6 and 24 hours depending on the height, weight and metabolism speed of an individual.

Benzoylecgonine, on the other hand, stays in the system much longer and can be detectable 5 days after the last cocaine consumption.

Another factor that plays an important role in cocaine drug testing is the consumption of alcohol during and after consumption of cocaine. Unlike most other drugs, cocaine reacts with alcohol in a way that creates a new substance called cocaethylene. This substance has a longer half-life than benzoylecgonine, meaning it will be detectable in one’s system for a longer period of time.

In most cases, it takes up to 7 days for cocaethylene to be completely cleaned out of a person’s body, provided they do not consume more cocaine or alcohol and remain properly hydrated during this period.

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Different types of Cocaine Drug Tests

Another factor that plays a decisive role in determining the amount of time that cocaine will be detectable for is the type of drug test being carried out.

What kinds of drug tests are used to test for cocaine?

Drug tests used to test for cocaine:

  • Urine— can detect use for 2-5 days after ingestion
  • Saliva— shortest detection time (2 days); easy to adulterate
  • Blood— can be detected up to 48 hours after use; impossible to adulterate
  • Hair follicle— can detect use up to 90 days prior for regular users; less common because of high cost

Each of these has different pros and cons and deciding on one over the other usually, depends on the situation and context under which the test is being carried out.

  1. A urine test is the most common one and is usually performed as a routine test in a company. Its non-invasiveness and ease of administration have made it an industry standard when it comes to company-wide scheduled drug testing. It is quite accurate with most urine tests being able to detect levels of 300ng/l. A urine test will usually give positive results if the person being tested has ingested cocaine 2-5 days prior to the test giving a urine sample.
  2. A blood test is the most accurate one if administered during a detection period. It, however, requires and invasive method to collect a sample and the samples provided are generally small, which means that confirmation testing usually isn’t possible. Another benefit to this method is that it is virtually impossible to adulterate a sample for a blood test
  3. A saliva test has the shortest detection time, but is the easiest and least invasive one to administer. The sample is taken with a cotton swab from the area between gums and lower cheek and it takes around 10 minutes to produce a result. The saliva test is rising in popularity among the employers as it can be administered at random and on the spot. The downside is that it can be adulterated relatively easily and its detection time rarely exceeds 2 days when testing for cocaine use.
  4. A hair sample test has the longest detection time, usually up to 90 days, but it usually takes 5 to 7 days for traces of cocaine metabolites to start accumulating in the hair. Another downside to this method is that hair cocaine drug test requires specialized equipment to carry out so it cannot be completed on the spot.

How to Pass a Cocaine Drug Test?

The one sure-fire way to pass a cocaine drug test is to stop consuming cocaine and wait out the period needed for your body to clean itself from it. This usually takes 3 to 5 days depending on a person’s metabolism and during this period it is important to stay properly hydrated.

How to Pass a Cocaine Drug Test

The best way to pass a drug test for cocaine is to stop using immediately and let your body flush out the toxins naturally. This should happen within 3-5 days. DO NOT DRINK ALCOHOL under any circumstance; mixing cocaine with alcohol causes your body to produce a metabolite called cocaethylene, which takes even longer to get out of your system.

You should also abstain from drinking alcohol altogether as mixing alcohol with cocaine in the liver causes the creation of cocaethylene, a substance that takes up to 50% longer to metabolize than benzoylecgonine and will also be detected by a cocaine drug test.

It was also reported that eating fruit and drinking fruit juice as well as abstaining from cigarettes and caffeinated drinks for a period of time has helped in speeding up the cleansing process.

Final Thoughts

While cleaning the body from cocaine and its metabolites takes a relatively short amount of time and is a very important process after using this drug, it is equally as important to stop using cocaine altogether after it is done. The initial rush and feeling of alertness may cause temporary happiness, but it is important to note that cocaine is very neurotoxic and harmful to the liver, which usually causes big health problems after a period of consistent use. And being as hard to come by as it is, it usually gets diluted with different substances that are equally as toxic or even worse, further increasing heath risks to the user.

View Sources
  1. Huestis M. A., Darwin W. D., Shimomura E., et al. Cocaine and metabolites urinary excretion after controlled smoked administration. Journal of Analytical Toxicology. 2007; 31(8): 462–468. doi:10.1093/jat/31.8.462. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3128807/.
  2. University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester. Cocaine Screen. 2019. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=cocaine_screen.

Comments

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  • Drew
    I’ve never heard of a drug testing lab testing for cocaethylene. In fact, Quest only tests for that in a blood sample.
  • Lindsay L Daily
    It’s been 8 days today since my last use of cocaine which I was using intravenously I’m not sure if I am clean from the substance which I hope and pray to God that I am for I was not an extreme heavy user I was using probably less than half a gram a day and some days less I just don’t know for sure how long it takes to get out of my urine because I have drug tests I have to take on a regular basis and I’m afraid. I have taken the initial steps in the right steps as far as abstinence from the drug and I will not be picking it back up if anybody has any feedback I would surely appreciate it I know in my past I tested positive up to 3 weeks after my last use but I was using so much that I could have drowned a battleship so if anybody has any feedback for me I would greatly greatly appreciate it thank you so much everybody and God bless
    • Queen
      How did you do? Since no one replied?
  • J White
    B’day had some not a regular user ,this is first time in 5 years. When it clear my system??
  • Lee Johnson
    It’s been six days since I last ingested cocaine and I have a drug test today will I pass
    • P
      I used cocaine on Saturday and got drug test Tuesday will I be ok
      • Elidavies
        Did u pass
      • Tommy
        Did you pass your drug test
  • Michael Gibson
    I did cocaine Saturday morning like 4am, and my drig test js Tuesday , I been on niacin pills for a week and half and drinking alot of water will I be good for my test ?
    • J
      If you didn’t drink with it you’ll be fine just be sure not to have any alcohol and drink a ton of water before your test
      • R
        If I did cocaine today and have a drug test on Wednesday will I be ok
    • Ramone
      Did you pasd
  • LP
    I used crack very early Sunday morning/late Saturday night. I’m have urine test on Thursday. Help, what should I do?? Can i get some help me!! Suggestions??!!
  • Dona
    In Jan I had a urine/blood drug screen at my pain Dr’s. There were 4 WRONG results. 1st FENTANYL it said negative-should have been positive. 2nd KLONAPIN it said negative-should have been positive. 3rd ALCHOHOL it said positive-should have been negative and 4th COCAINE it said positive-should have been negative. Its the cocaine that is giving me the problem…Any advise you can give me would be appreciated. T Y
    • Laney Fields
      I had a positive for cocaine at my pain doc., problem is, I dont do cocaine….why is it showing up positive? I’m really angry and worried cuz I can get ki ckicked off the pain management drugs I takr….
  • Kev
    I used coke 8 days ago first time in 12 months I’ve done a drug piss strip and passed I have a drug test at docs tomorrow 9 days after using it will any thing show up ???
  • Amanda Iles
    Will suregell work on a drug test for crack cocaine
  • Denise
    If i done cocaine today will it b in my blood stream tomorrow
  • Jennifee
    I used cocaine Tuesday night and have a drug test Friday tomorrow been drinking lots of water will I pass
    • Joseph
      I used cocaine Saturday I have a ur test Monday I have been drinking lots of water will I be clean
      • Yvonne loving
        This may sound nasty but if u have a spouse who doesn’t use or a child put their salava in a sandwich bag or something put in ur mouth insert swab inside bag and wala! I’m trying it on Wednesday
      • Alex
        Did u pass ???
    • David
      Did you pass?
  • Maria
    I used crack cocaine on Tuesday got drug test on Thursday .will I come out positive?
    • David
      Used cocaine March 2 times It’s now June can you safely Say I would pass a drugs test
  • Diane
    I used about forty dollars in crack Friday if I drink lots of water and take niacin will I be clean for probation Monday
  • Samatha Floor
    How long after you use cocaine will it show up in a urine test?
  • Anon1
    Chronic coke user(1/2 gram daily) kinda cut back lately to half gram a wk. Did a few times last wk. Have drug screening in 2 wks. Will I be ok?
    • Wally
      That’s not really chronic. I used probably a quarter ounce a day for a long time and it took me 16 days to clear my system. I didn’t drink alcohol at all so that probably helped but half a gram usually clears in like 48 hours, do the math, probably would take less than a week for you to be clean due to the build up of daily usage
  • Joe
    I did couple of lines on feb3 (super bowl) And drank alcohol. I’m not a chronic user. Today is August 14 and I had a a random test , should I be worried ?