Updated on June 12, 2024
5 min read

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Key Takeaways

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Cocaine typically stays in your system for one to four days. But, it can be detected for up to a couple of weeks for heavy users.

How long it hangs around and how long it can be detected by a drug test depends on several factors. This includes the type of test, the amount of cocaine used, and the frequency of abuse.

Snorted cocaine stays in your system longer than smoked or injected cocaine.

Here’s a breakdown of how long cocaine can stay in your system:

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your Urine?

After its last use, cocaine metabolites show in urine tests for up to three to four days. Heavy users can test positive on a urine drug test for up to two weeks.

Urine testing is the most common drug testing method used to detect cocaine. It’s affordable, easy to access, and relatively accurate.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your Blood?

Cocaine and its metabolites usually show in a blood test for up to two days after the last use.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your Hair?

Hair testing can demonstrate cocaine abuse from months up to years after the last use, depending on the factors listed above.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your Saliva?

A saliva test will show traces of cocaine for up to two days following the last use.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System

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Factors Affecting How Long Cocaine Stays in Your Body

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:

  • Metabolism
  • Weight
  • Dose
  • Frequency of use
  • Urine pH
  • Concentration of urine
  • Kidney or liver impairment

Drinking while taking cocaine may also slow cocaine from leaving the body.

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Effects of Cocaine Use

Cocaine use gives users both short-term and long-term effects.

Short-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:

  • Snorting cocaine: produces effects within three to five minutes. These feelings usually persist for up to 30 minutes.
  • Smoking cocaine: produces effects within five to ten seconds. They continue for up to 10 minutes. 
  • Injecting cocaine: leads to effects experienced within five to ten seconds. These last for up to 20 minutes. 
  • Oral ingestion: results in a high felt within ten to 30 minutes, persisting for longer periods of up to 90 minutes.

Injecting or smoking cocaine gives users a rush, 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.

Long-Term Effects

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:

  • Increased risk of stroke and seizures
  • Inflammation of the heart muscle
  • The reduced capability of the heart to contract
  • Aortic ruptures
  • Increased risk of Parkinson’s disease
  • Malnourishment 
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Nosebleeds
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Chronic inflamed and runny nose
  • Increased risk of HIV and hepatitis
  • Worsening of asthma

In 2020, around 657,000 people in the United States aged 12 or older have used cocaine in the past year.

National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2020

Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options

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:

  • Cocaine detox
  • Mental health therapy
  • Equine counseling 
  • Art therapy
  • Holistic therapies
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Support groups
  • Relapse prevention
  • Aftercare planning

Support Groups

Once former cocaine users leave therapy, they can have a support system 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 experienced 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 to recover cocaine users achieve long-term sobriety.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a treatment for cocaine abusers that can be taken at rehabilitation or separately. 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.

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Updated on June 12, 2024
6 sources cited
Updated on June 12, 2024
  1. NSDUH Annual National Report, National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2020.

  2. NIDA. “How is cocaine addiction treated?.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020.

  3. Roque B., et al. “Cocaine: An Updated Overview on Chemistry, Detection, Biokinetics, and Pharmacotoxicological Aspects including Abuse Pattern.” Toxins, 2022.

  4. NIDA. “What are the long-term effects of cocaine use?” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020.

  5. American College of Medical Toxicology. “Interpretation of urine analysis for cocaine metabolites.” Journal of medical toxicology : official journal of the American College of Medical Toxicology, 2015.

  6. Cocaine Drug Facts.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2020. 

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