How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Urine?
Cocaine is a highly potent stimulant drug that can lead to a substance use disorder if it is abused. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 4.8 million people reported abusing cocaine in 2021.
When people use cocaine, it only causes a brief high, so most people binge on it, taking large amounts of cocaine in a short period. This can be incredibly dangerous, increasing your risk of addiction and fatal overdoses.
As a short-acting drug, cocaine doesn’t stay in your system for very long. A standard drug test will detect cocaine in your urine for about three days. However, heavy cocaine users may test positive for up to two weeks.
How Long Do the Effects of Cocaine Last?
People who abuse cocaine usually snort it. When you snort cocaine, it reaches your brain and bloodstream faster, causing the effects to begin quickly. While the onset of cocaine is fast, the effects only last about 20 to 30 minutes.
The short-term effects of cocaine use include:
- Increased energy levels and focus
- Decreased appetite
- Lessened need for sleep
- Agitation and restlessness
- Overconfidence and inflated sense of self
- High body temperature
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Excessive sweating
- Dilated pupils
- Seizures and strokes when taken in high doses
After you use cocaine and the effects wear off, you will experience something known as a “crash”. This can cause symptoms of fatigue, depression, anxiety, irritability, and even thoughts of self-harm. Many people continuously consume cocaine to avoid experiencing a crash, beginning the cycle of addiction.
How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your Body?
Cocaine has a half-life of one hour, meaning your body eliminates half of the substance in that time. However, it takes about 4 to 5 half-lives for a drug to be ridden from your system so it can take up to 5 hours for your body to eliminate cocaine.
However, if you are wondering how long cocaine stays in your urine, the answer is a bit more complicated. Cocaine leaves behind metabolites in your system that urine drug tests can detect for longer than 5 hours. Additionally, each type of drug test can detect cocaine for varying amounts of time.
Urine tests are the most commonly used drug tests because they are minimally invasive and relatively cheap. With that being said, cocaine usually stays in your urine for 3 days after you last used it. However, people who have been abusing the substance regularly and for a long time can test positive for up to 2 weeks.
While blood tests are less common than urine tests, sometimes they are used in hospital settings. A blood test can detect cocaine in your system for up to 2 days after your last dose.
Because they are not as accurate as urine tests, saliva tests are not commonly used to detect cocaine. With that being said, they can tell if you have used cocaine for up to 2 days after your last dose.
Hair tests provide the longest window of detection for any type of substance. Because these tests look for traces of substances in your hair follicles, they can detect any drug (including cocaine) for up to 3 months after you last used it.
Factors that Affect How Long Cocaine Stays in Your System
While most people follow the general timelines mentioned above, some factors can influence how long cocaine stays in your system. For example, people who abuse large amounts of cocaine frequently will test positive for it longer than a person who only used it once.
The factors that influence how long cocaine stays in your system include:
- The dosage of cocaine you consumed
- How often you were abusing cocaine
- The method you used to abuse cocaine
- Whether you abused other substances
- Your weight and metabolism
- Your age
- Overall health, including liver and kidney functioning
In the same way that some people metabolize food faster than others, you might eliminate cocaine from your system at a different rate than some people. Additionally, if you mix cocaine with other substances it might take your liver longer to eliminate them.
Find Help for Cocaine Abuse and Addiction
If you or a loved one suffers from a cocaine use disorder, it’s time to seek help. Cocaine addiction is best treated with the assistance of a drug rehab center that can provide medical detox, evidence-based behavioral therapy, and aftercare planning.
Contact PAX Memphis today to be connected with a top-rated cocaine addiction treatment center.
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States, Retrieved October 2023 From https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-scope-cocaine-use-in-united-states
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What are the short-term effects of cocaine use, Retrieved October 2023 From https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-are-short-term-effects-cocaine-use
- The National Library of Medicine (NLM): Elimination of cocaine and metabolites in plasma, saliva, and urine following repeated oral administration to human volunteers, Retrieved October 2023 From https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11043648/
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.