Cocaine is arguably the most abused drug in the United States, and perhaps even the world. With billions of pounds being trafficked all over, it’s infiltrated every drug market in the world. With its hard and heavy high, users love the quick rate at which they get high. Unfortunately, even one or two uses can quickly tumble the user into a dangerous addiction.
Testing for Cocaine
Urine tests are usually the go-to method for employee screening. The Drug and Poison Information Center is asked multiple times a day how long it takes for cocaine to clear out of urine, probably because they need to present a clean urine test to their parole officer, rehab center, or employer.
Cocaine is rapidly metabolized in the body. A high can last as briefly as 20 minutes or as long as 90 minutes. Because of this, it’s often run through the body’s systems too quickly to be measured for a routine screen. When a urine test is being run to screen for the presence of cocaine, the test is actually looking for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite product of cocaine. There’s no exact answer as to how long it takes for the metabolite to leave the urine. Some studies say that it can be found in the urine of chronic users that take regular high doses of cocaine for longer than it was originally thought. The screens that are required by employers use a cutoff level created by the National Institute of Drug Abuse to declare whether a person is positive or negative on their screen. The cutoff is at 300 nanograms per milliliter of benzoylecgonine to be considered positive. This level can be different in the same person depending upon when they had the test done. The first urine sample of the day will be higher, while testing at noon or dinnertime will produce a lower level.
These differences can wind up giving the same person both a positive and a negative test in the same day. Some people will try to decrease the levels in their urine by drinking a ton of water to dilute their urine. A 24 hour sample should be taken, but this isn’t possible in work settings. Random testing with no notice is the only way to guarantee an accurate sample.
The average time for benzoylecgonine to not appear in urine is anywhere from three to five days. High dose users can still test positive eight days after use. Heavy users can have a positive urine screen for up to two weeks. The longest a urine sample has tested positive for cocaine was 22 days from the last hit of cocaine.
Can Cocaine Damage the Bladder?
While there’s no concrete proof that cocaine in the urine will damage the bladder, cocaine can increase the user’s urge to urinate more frequently. The drug is more likely to damage the kidneys by causing them to shrink over time. Because the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, the output of urine will increase and the kidneys won’t filter the toxins necessary to keep the body healthy.
If you know someone is using cocaine and they’re somehow squeaking by with negative urine tests, it’s time to step in and get them motivated to seek treatment. If you need help staging an intervention or confronting them about their problem, call the hotline at 800-447-9081.