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After last use, cocaine metabolites show in urine tests for up to three days. Heavy users can test positive on a urine drug test for up to two weeks.
Cocaine and its metabolites show up in urine tests between three to six hours after the last use.
After last use, cocaine and metabolites usually show in a blood test for up to two days.
Hair testing can demonstrate cocaine abuse from months up to years after the last use, depending on the factors listed above.
A saliva test will show traces of cocaine for up to two days following last use.
Urine testing is the most common drug testing method used to detect cocaine, due to it's affordability, ease of access, and relative accuracy.
The half life of cocaine is approximately one hour. This means that after an hour, approximately half of the cocaine in the body's bloodstream has been eliminated. However, heavy or long term use can cause longer elimination times.
The method of cocaine use affects how quickly the substance reaches the brain. However, it doesn’t affect how long cocaine remains in a person’s system.
Various other factors can influence the amount of time cocaine stays in someone’s body. These include:
Drinking while taking cocaine may also slow cocaine from leaving the body.
Cocaine use gives users both short-term and long-term effects.
Cocaine is a quick-acting central nervous system stimulant drug. It gives users an intense yet short euphoric high that lasts between a few minutes to an hour, depending on how it’s taken.
The speed of onset of cocaine’s effects, along with the duration of the high, depends on the method of use:
Injecting or smoking cocaine gives users a rush, which is followed by a high. Other methods of taking cocaine just provide a high.
It’s common for cocaine users to use the stimulant drug repeatedly in short timeframes to maintain the high. This is known as a binge, which often concludes with an unpleasant crash. In some cases, users may seek more cocaine to counter the crash.
Repeated cocaine substance use can lead to various health conditions and long-term effects. These include an increased tolerance to the drug and addiction.
Other long-term side effects include:
In 2017, around 966,000 people in the United States aged 12 or older experienced cocaine addiction.National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2017
Deciding to seek treatment for cocaine addiction is the first and most crucial step toward recovery. Once someone admits to struggling with cocaine substance abuse, the only way to go is forward.
If you or a loved one are experiencing cocaine addiction, there are several treatment options to overcome the disorder. Cocaine addiction is a complex disease. Therefore, treatment must address the illness alongside other co-occurring mental health disorders.
Rehabilitation for cocaine addiction usually involves detox and therapy at an inpatient program. These schemes offer a supportive environment where people experiencing cocaine addiction can recover and won’t be tempted to use it. Such programs help a recovering cocaine user learn how to live a healthy and fulfilled life without relying on the substance.
Most rehabilitation treatments last between 30 to 90 days. However, they can last longer, depending on the patient’s needs. A typical rehab program may include a combination of:
Once former cocaine users leave therapy, they can have a support system in place to avoid relapse. Consistent participation in support groups helps recovering cocaine users connect with other people who face similar challenges and share experiences.
Support groups also allow those recovering to receive help from former cocaine abusers who have experience overcoming the disease and understand its difficulties.
Some support groups are designed for recovering cocaine users. These include Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous. These organizations are located throughout the United States and offer 12-step schemes to help recovering cocaine users to achieve long-term sobriety.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a treatment for cocaine abusers that can be taken at rehabilitation or separately. The therapy is a common way to support people with various addictions.
Therapists teach patients how to recognize and understand harmful thoughts about themselves that may lead to a relapse. Patients also learn how to resist using cocaine again.
2017 NSDUH Annual National Report, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2017, https://www.samhsa.gov/data/report/2017-nsduh-annual-national-report
How is cocaine addiction treated?, National Institute on Drug Use, June 2017, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-treatments-are-effective-cocaine-abusers
Pharmacology, The University of Arizona, https://methoide.fcm.arizona.edu/infocenter/index.cfm?stid=170
What are the long-term effects of cocaine use?, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 6 Jun. 2020, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-long-term-effects-cocaine-use
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Treatment for Stimulant Use Disorders. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 1999, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64333/
Cocaine DrugFacts, National Institute on Drug Abuse, 16 Jun. 2020, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/cocaine