How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Generally, cocaine is not a drug that stays in your system for an extended period. This is especially true if you are not taking any other illegal or prescription drugs. The medical community uses the term half-life to describe the time frame for when half of the drug or the concentration of the drug reduces and leaves the body. Since the half-life of cocaine is very short, it’s not even detectable a day after use.

Breaking Down Metabolites

The liver is the primary organ that is responsible for breaking down this substance. Metabolism occurs when the enzymes in the body alter the cocaine and turn it into metabolites. The metabolites, which is known as benzoylecgonine for cocaine, is easier for the body to eliminate as waste through the kidneys. A drug test can show this metabolite for a longer time frame than it can the actual drug.

The half-life of cocaine’s metabolite is around 12 hours. Most tests will be able to detect its presence for about two or three days after using the drug. However, those who have used cocaine chronically will have higher than average drug levels, and the metabolites stay in the body for longer than normal periods. This is due in part to the overwhelming accumulation of amounts of cocaine throughout their system. For heavy users, a standard drug test can pick up both the cocaine use and the metabolites for up to two weeks. So it becomes harder to hide any use from a drug screen.

The General Timelines For Cocaine Leaving The Body

Cocaine and its metabolites are usually able to be detected in a user’s saliva for about two days after their last usage. However, a blood sample will remain positive for up to 12 hours or more. When it comes to the metabolite, it can be detected in the blood up to 48 hours afterward. A urine sample will show positive for about two or three days; however, if a person is a heavy drug user, then it can be positive for up to two weeks. A hair follicle test is the most reliable way to test for extended drug use. It can show usage from months or even years ago.

Many factors determine how long cocaine will stay in your system. Remember, the figures are all estimates as things can influence how long it takes a body to eliminate the drug. Some things that affect how long cocaine will remain in your system include:

  • The amount of cocaine used.
  • How long a person has been using the drug.
  • The purity of the substance – was it laced with other drugs?
  • Metabolism differences – age, weight, gender, and physical health can affect this.
  • Were there any other drugs consumed? Mixing alcohol or other drugs can alter how long it will remain in the body.

The Effects of Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol

Though it’s quite a dangerous practice, many people use cocaine and alcohol at the same time. This can not only cause serious side effects, but it can be fatal. When you mix alcohol and cocaine, it causes the metabolite to linger in the body for longer than normal periods. The metabolite, cocaethylene, is created by the liver when alcohol and cocaine are used simultaneously.

The plasma half-life of cocaethylene is five times stronger than when you just use cocaine alone. Shockingly, it’s also linked to some scary statistics. Those who use both substances together are at an increased risk of an impaired immune system, seizures, liver damage, and eventually death. When cocaine is used along with alcohol, death as a result of the substance abuse is 25 times more likely than when someone uses cocaine alone.

Additionally, having alcohol in your system with cocaine may intensify the highest concentrations of this metabolite by up to 20 percent. Studies have shown that having a cocaethylene presence means that there are always higher blood alcohol absorption. These synergistic properties are hazardous and can cause more adversarial things to happen to you.

The Effects of Mixing Cocaine With Other Drugs

The dangers of using cocaine and other drugs together have been well documented. When you mix cannabis, nicotine, opioids, and other substances with this dangerous drug, then you are playing a treacherous game. Speedballing is a common practice of mixing heroin with cocaine. The danger in doing this is that it causes a depression of the respiratory system, and the risk of an overdose more than doubles.

When you mix any marijuana-based product with cocaine, it also increases the effects the body feels from the drug. No one thinks anything about smoking a cigarette before or after they use cocaine, but some studies show this leads to an increase in coronary artery disease. The nicotine causes the arteries to constrict, and together they will increase the chance of developing heart complications. Once the heart has become damaged from use, there is no way to reverse it, which is why it’s so important never to mix substances.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a large amount of information that studies the elimination process when cocaine is used with other drugs besides alcohol. Consequently, the use of any drugs can cause damage to the liver. Cirrhosis of the liver is a serious medical condition, and it will make someone very sick. While the liver tries to process what it’s given, it cannot handle all these foreign substances. You don’t have to drink a drop of alcohol to develop cirrhosis; it can happen from damage caused by these drugs. The liver can repair itself in many situations, but once it has sustained severe damage, then you need a transplant. It’s not an organ you can live without.

Turning Your Life Around

St John’s Recovery Place has helped many people end their cocaine addiction and start a new chapter in their life. There’s no better place to recover than on the beautiful campus of St. John’s Recovery Place in Crescent City, Florida. Our staff cares about you and your success, and we will be with you every step of the way. Cocaine addiction is not that easy to overcome, there will be difficult times ahead. Call our admissions specialists today to see how you can start the road to recovery using our therapies and state of the art facility. We can be reached anytime at (833) 397-3422.


We treat a wide range addiction and behavioral health conditions including dual diagnosis, drug addiction and alcoholism. We are here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.