How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System if Mixed With Other Substances?
In most cases, cocaine does not remain in one’s system very long, especially when it is the only drug taken. Read on to learn more about the general timeline for cocaine detection and how this timeline may be affected if a person mixes cocaine with other drugs or alcohol.
How the Body Rids Itself of Cocaine
The half-life of the drug represents the amount of time it takes for levels of the drug to be reduced by half of their original concentration. The half-life of cocaine is very short. According to one study, the average half-life of cocaine is about 1.5 hours in blood, 1.2 hours in saliva, and 4.1 hours in urine.
The primary organ responsible for breaking down cocaine in the body is the liver. This process is known as metabolism, where enzymes transform the substance into other compounds called metabolites that are easier to eliminate from the body.
The major metabolite for cocaine is called benzoylecgonine, and it is often measured in urine drug testing since it is detectable for a longer period of time after cocaine use than cocaine itself is.
Benzoylecgonine has a half-life of about 12 hours and is typically detectable in urine for 2–3 days (or longer for heavy users) after the most recent use.
How Long Is Cocaine Detectable in the Body?
General timelines for the detection of cocaine and/or its metabolites in the body can be estimated as:
- Saliva: Cocaine or its metabolites can be detected in saliva for about 1–2 days after last use.
- Blood: Cocaine can be detected in blood samples for about 12 hours after last use. Benzoylecgonine can be detected in blood for about 48 hours after last cocaine use.
- Urine: Cocaine metabolites can usually be detected in urine samples for 2–3 days after last use. However, urine drug tests might be positive for up to 2 weeks after last use for heavy cocaine users.
- Hair: Drugs may be detected in hair for a long time.
All of the above figures are estimates. The length of time that cocaine will remain in a person’s system depends on a number of factors.
Factors That Impact the Cocaine Detection Timeline
There are several elements that can influence the amount of time it will take a person’s body to eliminate cocaine. These include:
- The amount of cocaine used and how long it has been used for: As mentioned above, individuals who use cocaine chronically and in greater amounts may have traces of cocaine and/or its metabolites in their systems for longer periods of time.
- The purity of the cocaine: If there are significant differences in the purity of the cocaine, it could result in different elimination times from the body, since it could contain drastically different amounts of actual cocaine.
- Individual differences in metabolism: Genetics, age, gender, and some physical health issues may also influence the metabolism of cocaine and thus the amount of time that cocaine and/or its metabolites remain in the body.
- Other substances consumed: Medications, alcohol, and other chemicals consumed may speed up, slow down, or otherwise alter the body’s processing of cocaine, which could impact how long cocaine and/or its metabolites remain in the body.
For more information, you can use our drug effects calculator to estimate the length of time it takes for many of the acute, intoxicating drug effects to wear off.*
Mixing Cocaine and Alcohol
Using cocaine and alcohol at the same time is a dangerous practice that can result in potentially fatal consequences. When cocaine and alcohol are used together, the combination results in a cocaine metabolite that remains in the body for a lengthier period of time.
What Is Cocaethylene?
When cocaine and alcohol are used together, a new metabolite called cocaethylene is formed in the liver and circulates in the body. Cocaethylene has a plasma half-life that is 3–5 times longer than cocaine and is linked to liver damage, seizures, and impaired immune system functioning.
Cocaethylene has an 18- to 25-fold higher risk of immediate death than cocaine alone.
Alcohol may also increase the peak concentration of cocaine by about 20%, and cocaethylene presence is linked to higher blood alcohol concentrations. These synergistic effects are dangerous and can cause more adverse effects.
Mixing Other Drugs With Cocaine
There is little research on how the elimination process of cocaine is affected by the presence of other recreational drugs in the system (besides alcohol).
However, several drugs of abuse can cause liver damage over time, which may impede the liver’s ability to metabolize other drugs, such as cocaine.
In addition, certain medications, supplements, and foods may speed up or slow down the body’s metabolism of cocaine through their effects on the enzymes CYP3A4 and CYP3A5, which are involved in the metabolism of cocaine. Examples include erythromycin, grapefruit juice, and St. John’s Wort.
Combining other drugs with cocaine may be more dangerous than either alone.
Getting Help for Cocaine Addiction
Addiction is a serious and chronic disease—but it is treatable. If you or a loved one has developed an addiction to cocaine or any other substance, you may need professional treatment to stop using.
At Laguna Treatment Hospital, we provide hospital-based medical detox and inpatient drug rehab facility in orange county in a beautiful, serene environment staffed with doctors, nurses, and licensed clinicians.
To learn more about how we can help you address your cocaine use and other issues you may be struggling with, call us at . Our admissions navigators can answer any questions about the rehab admissions process and how to pay for rehab or how to use insurance to pay for rehab.
You can also find out whether we accept your health insurance by filling out this quick and confidential .
Don’t wait to build a better future. Take the first step toward recovery and contact us today.