The Inconsistencies of Screening for Cocaine In your Urine

It’s commonly misunderstood that cocaine can be traced in the urine. While drug tests can evaluate for the presence of a byproduct of cocaine, there isn’t a surefire urine test to guarantee an accurate result either way. Just how long is cocaine in your urine? The answer will vary.

The Facts About Cocaine Detection

Cocaine is a rapidly metabolized drug, meaning it usually clears the body within hours. When people say they tested positive for cocaine, that doesn’t mean the drug was actually found in their urine. Instead, the urine is being screened for benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine. Asking “How long is cocaine in your urine?” is actually a misnomer.

The next question is, “How long will it take for cocaine to be eliminated from the urine?” The present answer on this varies, as it’s been found it may actually take longer than once thought. Some studies are leaning towards the detection period lasting longer in long-term, chronic users. The urine screening tests that are usually ordered by employers only use the minimum cutoff that’s been set by the National Institute of Drug Abuse. A urine level of 300 nanograms per milliliter is the minimum level for a positive cocaine screen.

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It’s important to know that these levels can change depending on the time of day. A first void of the day will have the highest concentrations of the drug metabolites, but it’s hard to guarantee that the person taking the test is actually providing the first sample of the day. A screen that’s positive in first morning urine could be negative when it’s taken after lunch because the urine concentration has changed. This also means that a positive can occur after a person has tested negative even if the individual hasn’t taken any additional cocaine since the negative test.

Some addicts will try to get a negative test result by drinking a large amount of fluid to dilute the urine. Experts say that to get the most accurate results, especially in the case of a recovering addict, a 24-hour sample should be obtained. This of course is impossible in a work setting; but in the case of recovery, this is possible and effective. Random sampling is the only way to get a true representation of a person’s drug use.

How Long Is Cocaine In Your Urine?

The most accepted time period for benzoylecgonine to be removed from the urine is anywhere from three to five days. Other studies have shown that people who take high dosages (at 0.5 gram or more for each use) can show positive results after eight days. Other heavy users have thrown a positive test for 10 to 14 days. The longest period of a positive urine screen in a heavy user was 22 days, proving again that knowing how long cocaine is in your urine isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.

Cocaine’s Effects On the Body

Cocaine can have permanent damage on the body with only a few uses. The scariest is the damage caused to the organs. The liver, kidney and lungs can all be irreparably harmed. The blood vessels to the heart and brain can be damaged, leading to an increased risk of cardiac arrest or stroke. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder and combined with blood vessel damage, the addict’s risk for a cardiac event is greatly increased. Smoking cocaine can lead to respiratory failure because it destroys healthy lung tissue.

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If you or your loved one is battling a cocaine addiction, don’t hesitate to get help by calling the hotline number at 800-447-9081.

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