Cocaine is the second-highest leading cause of drug-related deaths in Texas. One of the ways we strive to help lower this number is by continuing to provide educational content about the different aspects of cocaine use.

There are many reasons why someone might want to know how long cocaine stays in their system. Whether they’re concerned about polysubstance use, or needing to pass a drug test,  it’s a common question we hear here at San Antonio Recovery Center. As a facility deeply connected to the community, both in our open alumni meetings and 65% Hispanic staff, we want to answer questions that will motivate people to live healthier lives. Today we’re looking specifically at cocaine, how long it stays in your system, and the different factors that can impact that.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Just like any substance or medication, cocaine isn’t in your system forever once you take it. How long exactly does it stay in your system, then?

One of the ways that this is measured is through a unit known as the “half-life” of a substance. The half-life refers to the length of time it takes for half of the substance to leave your system. With that in mind, let’s dive into some further details.

If You Stop Feeling the Effects of Cocaine - Is It Out of Your System?

Contrary to popular belief, even if you’re no longer experiencing the effects of a substance like cocaine, it doesn’t mean that it’s out of your system. In fact, the duration of the effects is much shorter than the amount of time it takes for your body to fully metabolize the substance.

This is where substance use can get more dangerous. Our bodies can only handle having so much of any substance or combination of substances in it at a time. Illicit drugs like cocaine are not healthy for the body to consume. If you continue to take more cocaine or other substances before it is fully out of your system, you increase your risk of experiencing a cocaine overdose.

How Exactly Is Cocaine Metabolized?

The liver is the primary center for most processing in the body. The same is true when it comes to processing cocaine. Once cocaine is in your bloodstream, it is filtered out through the liver. Your liver can only process so much at a time, so any substance not being processed lingers in the bloodstream and can start to impact other organs in the body such as your brain.

Once your liver fully metabolizes cocaine, it is then passed out of the body through urine and sweat.


Why You Should Know If Cocaine is Still in Your System

As we mentioned earlier, when you have too much of any substance or combination of substances in your system, you can overdose. How exactly does this happen, though?

Many times, when people stop experiencing the side effects they want from cocaine, they take more to continue feeling the effects. However, because the previous cocaine they took isn’t fully out of their body, this slowly increases the amount in your system at a given time.

What Is Polysubstance Use and Why Is It Dangerous?

Polysubstance use refers to the act of consuming more than one kind of substance at a given time. This can include medication, alcohol, and illicit substances. Not only can the combination of effects from substances be deadly, but this puts further strain on the body and greatly increases your risk of overdosing.

Polysubstance use can happen both intentionally and unintentionally. Unintentional polysubstance use often includes instances such as substances being laced in their cocaine, or taking drugs while on medications that stay in your body all day.

What Factors Can Impact How Long Cocaine Is In Your System?

No two people are alike, meaning that no two people will metabolize cocaine in the same amount of time. There are factors at play that you can be aware of, however, that directly affect the metabolizing process.

Common factors that impact the time it takes for cocaine to pass through your system include:

  • Metabolism
  • History of substance use
  • Other substances in your system
  • Your age and weight
  • What you ate that day

Does Method of Use Change How Long Cocaine Stays in Your System?

Yes, the method of use can impact how long cocaine is in your system, but not by a drastic amount.

Cocaine is processed through the body via your bloodstream. This means that injecting cocaine directly into your veins can cause the effects to appear and disappear at a faster rate. If you were to snort or smoke cocaine, it then has to pass through the lungs first before being absorbed into the bloodstream, adding an additional step to the process.

Remember, the difference between methods doesn’t change the overall half-life of cocaine.

Does Cocaine Stay in Your System Longer if Mixed With Alcohol or Other Substances?

If you have other substances in your body alongside cocaine, it can impact how long it takes to be processed through your body. Your liver has a maximum capacity. If it’s busy processing alcohol, it cannot process the cocaine that is also in your body. This means it will take longer to fully leave your system.

How Long Does Cocaine Use Show Up on a Drug Test?

There are four common types of drug tests for cocaine. These are hair tests, urine tests, saliva tests, and blood tests. Each type of test is utilized more commonly in different circumstances. Additionally, each test type has its time frame for cocaine detection.

The most common type of drug test overall is urine tests. Not only are they non-invasive, but they’re fairly easy to do. The downside is that they can be faked at times. Cocaine can be detected in urine for up to 3 days after last use. In some cases, those with a longer history of cocaine use might still test positive for cocaine up to 2 weeks after their last dosage.

Saliva tests have been increasing in popularity primarily due to their difficulty to fake while still being non-invasive. Cocaine can be detected in saliva up to 2 days after last use.

Blood tests, while they do happen at times, are less common as a drug screening method. This is because our blood is very effective at cycling things out of it. On top of that, blood tests are more invasive. Cocaine can only be detected in blood up to 12 hours after the last dosage.

Finally, hair tests are more common in the instance of legal cases. Our hair has a very long memory and holds proof of things like stress levels, nutrition, and drug use. No two strands are alike so results can vary, but cocaine has been detected in hair up to a month after last use. For those who have a longer history of cocaine use, however, you may see positive test results up to 90 days after last use.

Can Other Substances Cause You to Test Positive for Cocaine?

Instances of other substances causing a false positive for cocaine throughout various testing types are incredibly rare and unlikely. While there have been sparse incidents where specific antibodies read similarly to cocaine on a urine test, it’s still highly unlikely that this will occur.

Are There Any Ways to Get Cocaine Out of Your System Faster?

Despite many online myths and stories about ways to “flush” your system or “detox faster,” there is no proven way to make cocaine leave your system sooner than it naturally will.

Test providers are often aware of many of the common tactics like drinking large amounts of water. If they notice these tactics when checking your test results, it could even ping as a red flag.


Your Best Option - Seeking Cocaine Treatment in Texas

If you want to work on detoxing from cocaine and taking a step toward recovery, your best option is to seek cocaine addiction rehab. Finding a facility that offers everything from detox to inpatient and outpatient services can help set you up for success in long-term recovery.

Our team here at San Antonio Recovery Center is equipped and ready to help you on your healing journey. With the largest alumni program in the area, we’re dedicated to seeing you through your recovery, even after you leave our doors. Give us a call anytime at 866-957-7885 and we’ll be happy to get you started.

Strength. Acceptance. Recovery. Community.

Now is the time to focus on your recovery.


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