Cocaine, also known as coke, is a highly addictive, fast-acting central nervous system stimulant.
It is an illegal drug that is used recreationally. Coke is made from the leaves of a plant that is native to South America, called the coca plant. In its purest form, it looks like a fine white powder, resembling flour or talcum powder. There are several ways in which people can ingest cocaine. A person can snort cocaine powder, rub cocaine powder onto his or her gums, or dissolve cocaine powder into water and inject it directly into his or her bloodstream. Individuals can also smoke cocaine after it has been processed into crack cocaine, which is the crystal form of cocaine.
The way the substance works in one’s body is by sending increased levels of dopamine (a neurotransmitter that carries signals between brain cells) to areas of the brain that reign pleasure and the excess buildup of dopamine elicits feelings of energy, alertness, and euphoria. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies cocaine as a Schedule II Substance, which is defined as a drug “with a high potential for abuse with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.” Because cocaine is an illicit substance, the exact ingredients included in each batch are left solely to the discretion of the manufacturer. This means that the consumers have no way of truly knowing the precise potency of the substance they are ingesting, which can be incredibly dangerous. The effects of cocaine are typically felt within minutes after it has been ingested and its effects can last anywhere from five minutes to an hour-long, depending on the method of ingestion. The average half-life, meaning the length of time the substance will remain in one’s system until the concentration in one’s blood has been reduced by half, of coke is approximately one hour.
The amount of time a drug remains in one’s system, versus the presence of drugs that may show up depending on the method of drug testing used, can yield different results. Depending on the method of testing, the window for cocaine detection is as follows:
- Blood Test: actual cocaine may be detected up to twelve hours after one’s last dose, but benzoylecgonine (the metabolite of cocaine that remains in one’s body longer) may be detected up to forty-eight hours after use.
- Urine Test: cocaine may be detected up to three days after use. It has, however, been reported that in people who use cocaine heavily, detection can present as long as two weeks after use.
- Hair Follicle Test: depending on where the hair sample is taken from, cocaine can be detected in hair follicles up to three months after use.
- Saliva Test: cocaine can be detected through one’s saliva for up to two days after use.
According to some studies, the more cocaine an individual uses per session, the longer the benzoylecgonine metabolite remains, increasing the length of time it may be detected. The method of ingestion can also influence the detection time. The most common type of drug test when testing for cocaine use is a urine test.
Further Information and Support
Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At Upwell Advisors, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process.
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