Cocaine typically stays in your system for 1 to 4 days, but it can be detected for up to a couple of weeks in some people.

How long it hangs around and how long it can be detected by a drug test depends on several factors.

Here’s a look at typical detection times by test type:

  • Urine: up to 4 days
  • Blood: up to 2 days
  • Saliva: up to 2 days
  • Hair: up to 3 months
illustration showing timeline of cocaine in systemShare on Pinterest
Illustration by Cristie Wilson

Coke is one of those drugs that hits you hard and fast, but the exact onset time depends on how you consume it.

If you snort or gum cocaine, you feel the effects within 1 to 3 minutes. If you smoke cocaine or inject it, you’ll feel effects in a matter of seconds.

The time difference comes from the speed at which it enters your bloodstream.

When snorted or gummed, the drug has to get through mucus, skin, and other tissues first. Smoking and injecting it bypasses all that and gets it into your bloodstream almost instantly.

How you consume it determines how long the effects last, too.

The high from snorting or gumming coke generally lasts from 15 to 30 minutes. If you smoke or inject it, the high lasts roughly 10 to 20 minutes.

Keep in mind that the duration and intensity of the effects aren’t the same for everyone.

Some people can feel the effects for as long as an hour. How much you use and whether you’re also using other substances can make a difference, too.

According to the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA), cocaine can usually be detected for 2 to 10 days.

Keep in mind that’s a general window. Detection times can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Test type. Drug tests work by detecting metabolites, which are byproducts your body produces as it breaks down substances. Some metabolites stay in your system longer than others, so the detection window will depend on which metabolites are being tested.
  • How much you use. As with any substance, the more cocaine you use, the longer it’ll stay in your system.
  • How often you use it. The more often you consume cocaine, the longer the detection window.
  • How you use it. Cocaine that’s snorted or gummed will remain in your system longer than if you smoked or injected it.
  • The purity level. Cocaine often contains contaminants or other substances, which can affect how long it stays in your system.
  • Your body composition. Benzoylecgonine, cocaine’s main metabolite and the one that’s most often tested for in drug screening, can be stored in fatty tissue. The higher your body fat, the more cocaine metabolites can accumulate in your body.
  • Drinking alcohol. Combining alcohol and cocaine can cause certain cocaine metabolites to stick around in your system longer.

Are there any ways to get cocaine out of my system faster?

The internet is full of claims that you can get cocaine out of your system faster using various products and home remedies. None of them have been scientifically proven.

Staying hydrated may slightly speed up the rate at which your body excretes cocaine metabolites from your system, but chugging water isn’t guaranteed to help you pass a drug test by any stretch (plus, it could lead to water intoxication).

First, don’t panic: This situation is more common than you may think.

Research suggests that substance use during pregnancy tends to be underreported due to stigma and fears around legal consequences.

Effect on pregnancy

Cocaine does cross into the placenta, meaning it reaches the fetus. When used in the early months of pregnancy, cocaine can increase the chance of miscarriage and placental abruption.

Cocaine use during pregnancy may also cause premature birth. Some evidence also links maternal cocaine use to:

  • low birth weight
  • smaller body length and head circumference
  • cognitive and behavioral issues later in life

Most of the available research, however, focuses on prolonged cocaine use. If you used it once or twice before finding out you were pregnant, these risks might be lower.

Keep in mind that much of the research around prenatal cocaine exposure in the United States has focused on people living in low socioeconomic classes, which comes with its own set of environmental factors that can impact a fetus.

That’s not to say fetal cocaine exposure isn’t harmful, but it’s hard to identify risks that are specific to cocaine exposure alone.

Effect on breastfeeding

Cocaine does quickly enter breast milk. If you recently used cocaine on a single occasion, some research suggests waiting at least 24 hours before breastfeeding again.

Getting professional advice

It’s best to follow up with a healthcare professional if you’ve recently used cocaine and are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can also reach out to InfantRisk Center, run by Texas Tech University Center.

They also offer a forum where you can ask questions (or search previously answered questions) about how different substances affect pregnancy and breastfeeding, and receive a response from a registered nurse or doctor.

If you’re concerned about cocaine being in your system for whatever reason, it’s best to stop using cocaine immediately. Depending on your pattern of use, however, this might cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • trouble sleeping
  • irritability
  • symptoms of depression
  • symptoms of anxiety
  • concentration issues
  • appetite changes
  • restlessness
  • vivid dreams
  • lethargy

These can show up anywhere from a few hours to a few days after your last use. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms often resolve within several days, but some people might experience lingering symptoms for a few weeks.

While cocaine withdrawal can be uncomfortable, it’s usually something you can manage at home.

The following can help you feel a bit better as you go through the process:

  • Eat regularly. Even if you don’t feel like eating, it’s important to make sure your body gets some nutrients. When possible, aim for nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, fruits, and veggies.
  • Stay hydrated. Keep in mind that water isn’t your only choice here. Sports drinks, juices, soups, and other liquids count, too.
  • Take it easy. Try to clear your schedule as much as you can to give yourself plenty of time to rest.
  • Get some air. If you feel up for it, try going for a walk outside, even if it’s just around the block, or finding a sunny place to sit outside.
  • Keep yourself entertained. If you’re feeling restless but not up for doing much, having some go-to mindless activities can help. Queue up some reruns of your favorite TV show, do an easy puzzle, or call a friend.

Cocaine withdrawal might not require medical attention, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach out for help.

If you feel comfortable doing so, you can reach out to your primary healthcare professional and ask if they can prescribe anything to help you manage your symptoms.

If you’re going to use cocaine, it’s important to know how to recognize an overdose.

Signs of a cocaine overdose include:

While overdoses involving cocaine alone aren’t common, contaminants, including synthetic opioids like fentanyl, are increasingly showing up in cocaine and other substances.

Consuming cocaine that contains synthetic opioids greatly increases your risk of experiencing a potentially life threatening overdose.

Make sure you and those around you know to call 911 or your local emergency number right away if someone experiences any of the following signs of an opioid-induced overdose:

  • trouble breathing
  • noisy breathing
  • loss of consciousness
  • pinned pupils
  • pale, clammy skin (people with darker skin may looked ashen or washed out)

If you plan on using cocaine, you may also want to consider carrying naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose if someone ingests contaminated cocaine.

Make sure the people you’re with know when and how to use it. You can get naloxone — and fentanyl test strips — from NEXT Distro or your local syringe access program.

If you’re not sure whether someone’s experiencing a cocaine or opioid overdose, you can still safely administer naloxone. While it won’t reverse a cocaine-only overdose, it won’t cause any harm to the person, either.

Cocaine is metabolized faster than a lot of other drugs, but it’s hard to say exactly how long it stays in your system because there are so many factors at play.

If you’re concerned about your drug use, help is available. If you feel comfortable, you can bring it up with a healthcare professional. Keep in mind that patient confidentiality laws will prevent them from reporting this information to law enforcement.

You can also reach out to one of the following free and confidential resources:

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