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How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

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How long does cocaine stay in your system? The question is simple, but the answer isn’t. The amount of time cocaine remains in your body can vary depending on a host of personal factors. And even after it has been eliminated from your system, you may still test positive on a drug screen.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Ignoring drug screens for the moment, let’s first address the question of how long does cocaine stay in your system from a purely biological perspective.

Various studies have put the half-life of cocaine at one to four hours. A half-life is the length of time it takes for half of a given amount of a drug to be processed and eliminated from your system.

Most experts consider a substance to have fallen below a clinically significant level after four to five half-lives. Using this formula, we can estimate that it may take up to 20 hours for a single dose of cocaine to be eliminated from your system.

How Long Will Cocaine Show Up on a Drug Test?

Sometimes, when people ask how long does cocaine stay in your system, what they’re really asking is how long will cocaine show up on a drug screen. It may surprise you to learn that these questions don’t have the same answer. In fact, the drug screen question alone can has multiple responses.

The reason for this is that cocaine tests don’t only test for cocaine itself. They can also detect metabolites, which are created as byproducts as the body processes and eliminates a drug. For cocaine, two of the most common metabolites are benzoylecgonine (BE) and ecgonine methyl ester (EME). 

Here are time estimates for how long a drug screen may detect cocaine metabolites (which means that you will test positive for cocaine):

  • Saliva test: One to two days 
  • Blood test: Up to two days 
  • Urine test: Up to four days
  • Hair follicle test: As long as 90 days

It’s also important to note that these time estimates can be influenced by factors such as:

  • Your age and gender
  • Your body weight and metabolism
  • How much cocaine you ingested
  • How long you have been using cocaine
  • If you have been using any other substances

These factors can alter both how long cocaine remains in your system and how long you might test positive on a drug screen.

What Are the Signs of Cocaine Addiction?

The best way to avoid testing positive for cocaine is to not use the drug. But if you have developed cocaine use disorder (which is the clinical term for cocaine addiction), it can be extremely difficult to stop.

If you suspect that you’ve become addicted to cocaine, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you spend large amounts of time seeking, using, and recovering from the effects of cocaine?
  • When you can’t use cocaine, do you become agitated or irritated?
  • Have you begun to develop tolerance, which means you need to ingest more cocaine than you used to in order to experience the effects you’re seeking?
  • Have you continued to use cocaine even after incurring harm as a result of prior use?
  • Have you missed work or school, or failed to meet other obligations, because of your cocaine use?
  • If you’ve ever tried to stop using cocaine, did you develop withdrawal symptoms?
  • Has your cocaine use caused you to reduce or end your participation in hobbies or other activities that you used to enjoy?
  • Have any friends, family members, or colleagues ever suggested to you that you might have a cocaine problem?
  • Do you think you might be addicted to cocaine?

These questions aren’t a replacement for being assessed by a qualified healthcare provider. So if you have answered yes to any (or all) of them, it may be time to schedule an assessment.

Being examined by an expert and receiving an accurate diagnosis can be important steps on your path to a cocaine-free future. As destructive as cocaine addiction can be, it is a treatable disorder. When you get the care you need, you can start living the healthier life you deserve.

What Is the Best Type of Treatment for Cocaine Addiction?

The best type of treatment for cocaine addiction is the type that aligns with your needs, goals, and expectations.

Please note that we’re not trying to be coy or cute with that answer. There is no single medication, therapy, program, or level of care that is ideal for everyone who has struggled with an addiction to cocaine. 

So don’t waste your time trying to find the “perfect program,” because – spoiler alert – it doesn’t exist. Instead, focus your efforts on finding a provider who will assess the full scope of your needs, help you set meaningful goals, and then develop a customized plan just for you.

Depending on the information that’s gathered during your assessment, you may be best served by receiving care at one or more of the following levels:

  • Detoxification
  • Residential treatment
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Outpatient treatment 

The services you receive while you’re in treatment for cocaine addiction will vary according to your needs as well as which level of care you’re in. Given these caveats, the following elements may be incorporated into your treatment:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Group therapy sessions
  • Family therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Relapse prevention education
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy

You should also receive a discharge plan prior to transitioning out of treatment. This plan may identify professional resources and peer support services that can help you maintain your recovery and build on the progress you made while you were in treatment.

Find Cocaine Addiction Treatment in Nashville

Nashville Treatment Solutions is a trusted provider of personalized outpatient programming for adults who have become addicted to cocaine and other substances. If you need help getting through cocaine withdrawal before you enter one of our outpatient programs, we can also refer you to a reputable detox center in the area.

Our cocaine addiction treatment center in Nashville, Tennessee, is a safe and supportive place where you can receive customized care from a team of compassionate professionals. Though the time you spend with us will be relatively brief, the services you receive here and the lessons you learn are designed to yield lifelong benefits.

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.