How Long After Use Can Cocaine Be Detected in a Drug Screen?

Published: May 12, 2017
Dear TeenHealthFX,

How long after taking a small amount of cocain can it be detected in a urine test ?

Signed: How Long After Use Can Cocaine Be Detected in a Drug Screen?

Dear How Long After Use Can Cocaine Be Detected in a Drug Screen?,

The amount of time that cocaine can be detected in a urine test depends on the amount and the frequency of use. In general, a small, one-time use of cocaine would be detectable in a urine test for 2-4 days.

According to the American Addiction Centers:

Cocaine’s half-life is nearly just as short at only an hour. This means that it takes about an hour for half of the cocaine consumed to leave the body. However, heavy, long-term use will cause the drug to start to accumulate in body tissues, allowing certain tests to detect the drug in the system for an extended period of time.

For example, after a single use of cocaine, agents created by the metabolization of the drug can be detected in a person’s urine for 2-4 days. However, for chronic users, or if it follows a heavy binge, cocaine can be detected in urine for up to 12 days. The length that urine tests are effective also depend on the size of the dose and the purity of the substance. Extremely high doses can cause cocaine metabolites to be detectable for up to 3 weeks.

TeenHealthFX does not know the exact reason why you are asking this question. But if you are asking because you are considering trying cocaine, then we recommend that you read the information provided about cocaine by NIDA for Teens so you have a better understanding of why this would be a really unhealthy decision. Cocaine is a highly addictive drug that can negatively affect your brain and your body in many different ways.

Risks associated with teen cocaine use/abuse can include:

  • Cocaine addiction
  • Accidental death
  • Disease transmission (such as Hep C or HIV)
  • Problems with family and friends
  • Academic difficulties


Cocaine use in teens can also cause problems with the:

  • Limbic system: Over time cocaine makes it harder to experience pleasure without the drug.
  • Immune system: Damage to the immune system which impairs the ability to fight infection.
  • Reproductive system: Severely impairs the development of reproductive organs.
  • Mental health: The mood swings related to cocaine use can negatively impact emotions and trigger underlying mental health issues.


If you or someone you know has a drug problem, seek out help right away. You could start by talking to a parent, the parent of a friend, a school counselor, your school nurse or your doctor. Any of these people can help connect you with substance abuse treatment professionals.

If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.

Signed: TeenHealthFX