Breaking Down Cocaine Metabolites
The liver is the primary organ that is responsible for breaking down cocaine and the metabolites that are found within the substance. Metabolism occurs when the enzymes in the body alter the cocaine and turn it into metabolites which can be further broken down and eliminated through the body. The metabolites, which are known as benzoylecgonine for cocaine, are easier for the human body to eliminate as waste through the kidneys. Drug tests actually look for this metabolite rather than for cocaine itself. Depending on the type of drug test this metabolite can show for a longer time frame than the actual drug would.
The half-life of cocaine’s metabolite is around 12 hours. This means that half of the cocaine is metabolized through your body in the first 12 hours after use. However, metabolites continue to break down in 50% increments over continued 12 hour periods. So 25% more of the cocaine is metabolized by 24 hours following use.
Most drug 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 in active addiction, it becomes harder to hide any cocaine use from a drug screen.
If you’re worried about passing a drug test, for work or for other purposes, treatment can help. You are not required to disclose your decision to seek addiction treatment to your employer & will not be punished for getting help. SJRP has the experience, highly trained staff, and full continuum of care that you need for a fighting chance at recovery. We are committed to helping you, or your loved one, find the support & care needed to walk away from addiction for a new chance at a life in recovery. To learn more about cocaine addiction and the help that is available, call us at 833-397-3422 We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions that you may have.
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 use. A blood sample will remain positive for up to 12 hours or more depending on frequency and amount of cocaine use. When it comes to the cocaine metabolites, these can be detected in the blood for generally up to 48 hours after final use. A urine sample will show as a positive cocaine drug test for about two or three days following the last use; however, if a person is a heavy drug user, then a urine drug screen can be positive for up to two weeks. A hair follicle test is the most reliable way to test for extended drug use. Hair follicle testing for cocaine can show usage from months or even years ago. Urine testing is the most frequently used form of drug screen followed by blood testing, saliva tests, or hair follicle testing.
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 and all metabolites. Metabolism and weight play a significant role here as both are factors in the body’s ability to eliminate toxins. 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? (other drug metabolites may take longer to be eliminated from the body)
- 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.
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. Mixing alcohol and cocaine causes the metabolite from cocaine to linger in the body for longer than normal periods. Further, the metabolite called cocaethylene is created by the liver when alcohol and cocaine are used simultaneously.
The plasma half-life of cocaethylene, or the amount of time that the metabolite can be detected in a blood test, is five times stronger than when you just use cocaine alone. Shockingly, mixing cocaine and alcohol is also linked to some scary statistics. Those who use both substances together are at an increased risk of having:
- An impaired immune system
- Liver damage
When cocaine is mixed 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 rates of cocaine. As a result, the user gets significantly more intoxicated. These synergistic properties are hazardous and can cause more adverse effects to you including a higher risk of cocaine overdose or death.
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 you are playing a treacherous game. Speedballing, the common practice of mixing heroin with cocaine, represents one of the extremely dangerous combinations of cocaine and other drugs. The danger in speedballing is that both cocaine and heroin have very different effects on the body. Cocaine causing stimulant effects for the user and heroin causing a depression of the respiratory system. Users that speedball, mixing cocaine and heroin, face a higher risk of an overdose that more than doubles when compared to using just one of these substances at a time.
When you mix any marijuana-based product with cocaine, the effects the body feels from the drugs are increased. No one thinks anything about smoking a cigarette before or after they use cocaine, but some studies show that mixing nicotine and cocaine leads to an increase in coronary artery disease. The nicotine causes the arteries to constrict, and together cocaine and nicotine will increase the chance of developing heart complications. Once the heart has become damaged from drug use, there is no way to reverse it. This is why it’s so important never to mix any substances.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a large amount of information that studies the elimination process when cocaine is used with other drugs besides alcohol. We know that the use of any drugs or toxic substances may cause damage to the liver. Cirrhosis of the liver is a serious medical condition, that will make someone very sick. While the liver tries to process what it’s given, it cannot handle all these foreign substances. Most people connect Cirrhosis and liver damage to alcohol use, but you don’t have to drink a drop of alcohol to develop cirrhosis; it can happen from damage caused by other drugs, including cocaine. The liver can repair itself in many situations, but once it has sustained severe, permanent damage, then you may need a liver transplant in order to survive. Unfortunately, your liver is an organ that 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 our drug and alcohol treatment center 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, and there will likely be difficult times ahead but recovery is possible. 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.