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Cocaine Detection Window

Cocaine is a powerful and addictive stimulant drug.

The effects of cocaine wear off quickly, causing users to continue using more in a short period of time. Detection of cocaine is a concern for proving and identifying cocaine use or abuse.

Cocaine can be found in the body by standard testing methods for 2-4 days depending on the individual. The factors that affect cocaine detection vary from person to person.

Cocaine Detection Timeline

Most people across the United States snort cocaine. It is the most common means of using the drug. As soon as someone snorts cocaine, it is detectable in their system in a matter of minutes. 

Those who smoke cocaine or inject the drug also experience similar effects. Intravenous users of cocaine can test positive for cocaine instantly. Those who smoke it have about one hour before they will test positive for cocaine. 

The general detection window for cocaine testing is 6 hours to 4 days. The hair follicle test can detect cocaine use much further back than this with a detection window of up to 90 days. Unfortunately, these tests are much more expensive and not used as frequently.

When is Cocaine Tested for?

According to the DEA, cocaine is a schedule 2 illegal drug. It’s effects cause users to be impaired. More and more employers are testing for cocaine use upon hiring an employee to ensure a drug free workplace. This is done for the safety of employees. 

People in treatment programs and those on probation from legal issues are also tested for cocaine frequently to ensure they are adhering to sobriety. 

Drug testing in the workplace is especially important for those who work with heavy machinery. The effects of mind altering substances like cocaine can cause accidents. Ensuring a drug free workplace also prevents legal ramifications and workman’s compensation or health insurance claims. 

Many people who have faced legal challenges in the past are tested multiple times a week for drug use to ensure they are following the guidelines of their probation or drug court.

For these reasons, cocaine testing is important. It is also a great way for parents to find out if their children are using illicit substances. 

How Cocaine Tests Work

Cocaine testing methods include the testing of urine, saliva, blood, and hair. Urine, blood, and hair are the most common in their perspective orders.


The majority of drug tests for employment or probation utilize a urine screening to detect the drug cocaine and others.

Hair follicle tests are more accurate but only used in specific scenarios like employment in law enforcement or if more long term tests are needed.

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Cocaine Detection Window

You may be wondering how long cocaine stays in the system of people who use it. Cocaine has a short half life of six hours. This means that half of the amount used will leave the body in six hours. 

This means that the window for testing for cocaine is relatively short, but this can depend on what test is administered, and the individual.

Benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine is one of the main chemicals looked for when identifying cocaine use. 

Cocaine in the Urine

As stated previously, cocaine is most frequently tested by urinary analysis. Cocaine is usually only found in urine for 3 days after use. However, if the individual has a very high metabolism and drinks large amounts of water, cocaine metabolites can leave the body in a much shorter time frame.

Urine tests for cocaine are usually very effective and affordable. This is why they are the most common form of testing for cocaine abuse.

Cocaine in the Blood

Cocaine can be found in the blood almost instantly after use, especially for intravenous users. For those that smoke crack cocaine, it can be found in the blood in less than one hour after use.

Many hospitals will use blood tests because they offer extremely accurate levels of the drug in the body. Blood tests also look for a wide array of drugs and chemicals besides cocaine. 

Unfortunately, blood tests are only accurate for cocaine for around 24 hours after use. The cocaine in the blood is processed by the body fairly quickly. 

Cocaine in the Hair

Hair follicle tests offer the longest term of detection available. Benzoylecgonine can be detected using a hair follicle test for up to 90 days after use. The hair follicle test is extremely difficult to beat, though some people will even shave their heads to prevent a test.

Cocaine in Saliva

Saliva tests for cocaine are not used very frequently. Due to the affordability and effectiveness or urine tests, they are preferred to saliva tests. Saliva tests are usually accurate in detecting cocaine for a similar time frame to urine tests of 48 hours.

Individual Factors that Affect Cocaine Detection

While the numbers above are generally accurate time windows for cocaine detection, it can vary depending on the person. Knowing the detection times and windows can be extremely beneficial in understanding cocaine testing. People with a high metabolism are likely to flush cocaine from their system faster than others.

Other factors that impact the detection of cocaine in the body are age, height, weight, age, and diet. Cocaine tests are the most accurate within 12 hours of use.

Those who use cocaine for a longer period of time will also have a larger detection window than those who only use cocaine short term.

Ways Cocaine Users Beat Drug Tests

Many people using cocaine and other drugs try to beat drug tests. They do this so they can continue using it without suffering as many consequences. Covering up their use is a staple of addict behavior and very common.

It is common for people trying to beat a drug test to dilute their urine, or add chemicals like bleach to the test to corrupt the results. Others try to beat saliva tests with mouthwashes. Hair follicle test results are far more difficult to beat, though some hair washes have been advertised to help people beat these tests as well.

Attempting to beat a drug test can be a sign of cocaine addiction. Combining this with changes in behavior and mood swings are tell tale signs of substance abuse.

However, most cocaine tests are accurate and can detect if the urine has been altered by other chemicals.

Beating a Drug Rehab Test is Not a Solution

The best solution for those struggling with cocaine use and addiction is to seek addiction treatment. Cocaine treatment has been proven to be most effective in gaining freedom from the grips of cocaine addiction. Many people who use cocaine are also at risk of mental health concerns.

We can work with you or your loved one to determine an individual treatment plan or walk you through the process of getting help.

While many addicts and users of cocaine try to beat drug tests so they can continue using with impunity, they are only compounding their problem. If you or a loved one is attempting to beat a drug test, there are better options. Freedom from the cravings and addiction to cocaine is within reach.

We are here to help with drug rehab. We can be reached 24/7 at (800) 817-1247. Call us today for more information.