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How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

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Cocaine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant that raises both heart rate and blood pressure. The drug also affects the brain’s chemical messengers or neurotransmitters. Cocaine is believed to primarily affect the levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for pleasure.

Circulatory systemCocaine is a fast-acting drug, so when the drug is used, the individual feels the drug’s effects almost immediately. How long the effects last and the intensity of the effects can depend on the method of drug use. For example, injecting or snorting cocaine gives the user a quick, short high that can last 5 to 10 minutes in length. When a user snorts cocaine, the high can last from 15 to 30 minutes.1

Here are a few quick facts for how long cocaine stays in the system with specific parts of the body.

  • Cocaine is detectable in a urine test for 2-30 days.
  • A saliva test will detect cocaine from 1-10 days.
  • A hair follicle drug test can show cocaine use for up to 90 days.2

Please note that these are estimates, and the amount of cocaine being used is also a factor. If you struggle with cocaine abuse, please seek professional help from a drug treatment facility like Michael’s House as soon as possible.

Detox Timeline

While the drug itself may move rather rapidly in and out of your system, cocaine has lasting physical and psychological effects. Cocaine detox is the process of purging the drug from your body.Drug withdrawal usually has three distinct phases. Phase one starts right away and is characterized by irritability, extreme fatigue, anxiety, lack of pleasure, and increased appetite, lasting from a few hours to about a week. The second phase brings about intense cravings, trouble concentrating, depression, trouble sleeping and lethargy, and can persist for several weeks. The last phase can last for a few months, and it is indicated by intermittent cravings and unhappy feelings.

While cocaine detox usually doesn’t have the same severe physical symptoms as those associated with withdrawal from other drugs, the detox process can still be dangerous and unpredictable. Physical symptoms may mimic flu symptoms such as aches, chills, tremors and pain. Perhaps the greatest concerns are the psychological symptoms and the rate of depression and suicide in cocaine abuse and addiction. When you go to a professional drug treatment center, the medical professionals at the facility will do their best to keep you as comfortable as possible during drug detox.

Additional Health Risks

Cocaine is a dangerous drug that poses many health risks in addition to dependence and addiction. Despite this fact, the National Institute of Drug Abuse estimates that 1.5 million people ages 12 and up used cocaine each month in 2014.3 Cocaine abuse is hard on the body and fatal overdose can occur via sudden cardiac death, seizures or stroke. Other side effects include:

  • Heart arrhythmia
  • Violent behavior
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Paranoia
  • Ulcers
  • Kidney failure
  • Inability to feel pleasure

If you, or your loved one, struggle with cocaine abuse, please know help is available. Michael’s House offers a safe and secure detox option, overseen by consulting doctors, which focuses on integrated care models, simultaneously treating the physical and mental components of substance abuse. Cocaine abuse often co-occurs with mental health disorders and requires comprehensive, specialized dual diagnosis care for a successful outcome.

Our compassionate staff members at Michael’s House use proven techniques to help you heal. Some of these approaches include behavioral therapy, group and individual counseling as well as support groups to encourage long-term psychiatric health. Michael’s House strives to promote the well-being of the entire person: mind, body and soul. Please call now for more information.

1What Is Cocaine?” National Institute on Drug Abuse. June 2016.

2 T., Buddy. “How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your System?” Very Well Mind. December 16, 2017.

3What Is The Scope Of Cocaine Use In The United States?” National Institute on Drug Abuse. May 2016.