top of page
Scientist on Computer


What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is an intense, euphoria-producing stimulant drug with strong addictive potential.

What is its origin?
Cocaine is derived from coca leaves grown in Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia. The cocaine manufacturing process takes place in remote jungle labs where the raw product undergoes a series of chemical transformations. Colombia produces about 90 percent of the cocaine powder reaching the United States. Most of the cocaine entering the United States comes through Mexico.

What are common street names?
Common street names include: Blow, Coca, Coke, Crack, Flake, Snow, and Soda Cot.

What does it look like?
Cocaine is usually distributed as a white, crystalline powder. Cocaine is often diluted (“cut”) with a variety of substances, the most common of which are sugars and local anesthetics. It is “cut” to stretch the amount of the product and increase profits for dealers. In contrast, cocaine base (crack) looks like small, irregularly shaped chunks (or “rocks”) of a whitish solid. Cocaine powder.

How is it abused?
Powdered cocaine can be snorted or injected into the veins after dissolving in water. Cocaine base (crack) is smoked, either alone or on marijuana or tobacco. Cocaine is also used in combination with an opiate, like heroin, a practice known as “speedballing.” Although injecting into veins or muscles, snorting, and smoking are the common ways of using cocaine, all mucous membranes readily absorb cocaine. Cocaine users often binge on the drug until they are exhausted or run out of cocaine.

What is its effect on the mind?
The intensity of cocaine’s euphoric effects depends on how quickly the drug reaches the brain, which depends on the dose and method of abuse. Following smoking or intravenous injection, cocaine reaches the brain in seconds, with a rapid buildup in levels. This results in a rapid-onset, intense euphoric effect known as a “rush.” By contrast, the euphoria caused by snorting cocaine is less intense and does not happen as quickly due to the slower build-up of the drug in the brain. Other effects include increased alertness and excitation, as well as restlessness, irritability, and anxiety. Tolerance to cocaine’s effects develops rapidly, causing users to take higher and higher doses. Taking high doses of cocaine or prolonged use, such as binging, usually causes paranoia. The crash that follows euphoria is characterized by mental and physical exhaustion, sleep, and depression lasting several days. Following the crash, users experience a craving to use cocaine again.

What is its effect on the body?
Physiological effects of cocaine include increased blood pressure and heart rate, dilated pupils, insomnia, and loss of appetite. The widespread abuse of highly pure street cocaine has led to many severe adverse health consequences such as: Irregular heartbeat, ischemic heart conditions, sudden cardiac arrest, convulsions, strokes, and death In some users, the long-term use of inhaled cocaine has led to a unique respiratory syndrome, and chronic snorting of cocaine has led to the erosion of the upper nasal cavity.

Which drugs cause similar effects?
Other stimulants, such as amphetamine and methamphetamine, cause effects similar to cocaine that vary mainly in degree.

What is its legal status in the United States? Cocaine is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and has an accepted medical use for treatment in the United States. Cocaine hydrochloride solution (4 percent and 10 percent) is used primarily as a topical local anesthetic for the upper respiratory tract. It also is used to reduce bleeding of the mucous membranes in the mouth, throat, and nasal cavities. However, more effective products have been developed for these purposes, and cocaine is now rarely used medically in the United States.

Testing for Cocaine

A cocaine drug test has always been included in the standard 5-panel drug test primarily used by employers and for probation. This five-panel drug test includes marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine / methamphetamine, opiates, and PCP. Typically, every drug test panel includes a test for cocaine. 

Cocaine is included in just about every drug test available using urine and hair samples. With urine drug testing, cocaine breaks down to the metabolite, and this is detected in the drug screen. Benzoylecgonine is detectable in urine within two to three hours and for a period of two to three days after a single use. A cocaine drug test should be performed by a professional service using a laboratory certified by the Federal government. Initial screening and confirmation testing should be included. Beware of an instant rapid cocaine drug test that may show a false positive result for cocaine.

How long cocaine stays in the system is not the same for each user. There are determining factors such as frequency of use, the amount ingested, body weight, metabolism, and the type of cocaine drug test. A single use can be detected with urine for 2 – 5 days with a urine drug test for cocaine whereas this single use might not be detected with a hair cocaine drug test.

Cocaine drug testing can be with urine, hair, oral fluid or blood. Each shows a different look back period with oral fluid the shortest and hair the longest. Premier Drug and DNA Testing, LLC can perform a hair test for cocaine or a urine test for cocaine. Urine and hair drug testing are the most common screening tests for cocaine. A blood test is invasive and very expensive so not used very often. The hair drug test for cocaine is used to show use going back up to 90 days. If you want to know how to pass a cocaine drug test, it is best to stop using cocaine. You can then always get a cocaine drug test to make sure you are now clean.

bottom of page