What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a stimulant that is derived from coca leaf extracts, a plant found in Peru, Colombia, and Bolivia and acts as an addictive substance that affects the Central Nervous System. It has been in use since the time of the Inca Civilization.
Picture 1 - Coca leaves
Source – c1.ecolocalizer
Scientifically it is known as Benzoylmetylecgonine that is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that acts as a tropical anesthetic that has the ability to numb the vagina, mouth, eye and the rectum and also as an appetite suppressant. It is usually available as a fine white powder that is actually a salt scientifically known as cocaine hydrochloride snorted and absorbed by the nasal membranes. Cocaine can be smoked or injected as well as dabbed on the gum and teeth.
Picture 2 – Structure of cocaine
Source – erowid
Due to its highly addictive qualities and the strong repercussions that its intake has on the body system, its cultivation and distribution is strictly prohibited all over the world. Its possession and usage of any kind is forbidden except for purposes of medicinal research.
Cocaine Addiction & Effects
Similar to heroin and nicotine Cocaine has the ability to reach the dopamine pathways of the brain and bind with the brain proteins that help in the transport of the dopamine. This results in the buildup of dopamine in the synapse creating a euphoric sense for the addict. Cocaine has such attractive power that once smoked, injected or taken in in any other form, makes the person feel pleasant, ecstatic, and confident in an abnormal way. However such an experience lasts for a few minutes and withers away soon but its addictive power reinforces the need to take in more cocaine. It makes the user feel high and above the mundane activities of day to day experiences.
Picture 3 – Cocaine Addiction
Source – img.dailymail
However, the after effects of cocaine intake results in the diminishing of the euphoric experiences and its replacement with feelings of anxiety, irritability and depression. It may also cause the user to lose energy and feel tired and weary, thereby causing anesthesia. With the passage of time one’s feelings may turn odd and unenthusiastic and one may be compelled to take in more cocaine in order to feel good this may get the user permanently addicted to it. This may trigger the need for greater amount of cocaine addiction in order to get the same pleasurable and ecstatic feeling eventually leading to an overdose. In such extreme cases, one may suffer from Cocaine Psychosis in which conditions of restlessness, mood swings, paranoia, insomnia, craving, lack of sexual feelings, and loss of weight prevails. This is because of the rise in dopamine levels of the brain artificially through the intake of cocaine. The Cocaine side effects are also noteworthy which include asthma, chest pain, lung trauma, hemoptysis, fever, sore throat, brochospasm, hoarse voice and pruritus, etc.
Picture 4 – Effects of Cocaine
Source - upload.wikimedia.org
Once started off, one may find it quite impossible to extricate oneself from cocaine addiction.
How long does Cocaine stay in your system?
The presence of cocaine can be detected in the urine, blood and hair follicles through different drug testing methods such as urine drug test, blood drug test, saliva drug test, saliva cocaine test, sweat patch test that is conducted with the help of advanced scientific methods technological methods. The various cocaine drug testing methods are:-
Cocaine Urine Drug Test
In order to know as for how long does cocaine stay in the urine one must undergo a urine test for cocaine which detects the slightest presence of cocaine in the urine. In fact the urine drug test detection times depends on the mode of intake of the drug. In case of snorting cocaine, it can be detected within 4-10 hours. In other cases such as cocaine injection, one can detect cocaine compounds in the urine even after 20 hours of intake. The metabolites of cocaine that can be detected in urine even after 60 hours of cocaine intake or its intake for a prolonged period of time are Benzoylecgonine, coca ethylene (in case of cocaine intake with alcohol) and ecgonine methyl ester.
The procedure of a urine drug test commences from the point when a person ready to undergo the test is instructed to move to a collection site. Then the person’s urine is collected in a secure cup which is exclusively meant for the collection of urine. It is sealed with a tape that is tamper resistant and sent to a testing lab for a drug screening. Using advanced scientific methods such as GC-MS methodology, one detects the presence of cocaine in the urine sample. However it is not possible to locate the exact time of & the amount of cocaine intake through this method. Yet this test is relied on for the accuracy of the results that can be sought with the help of standard testing kits in the labs. It is also relatively cheaper than the other drug testing methods.
Cocaine Blood Test
Although this kind of a test is a bit expensive yet it is recommended by doctors on several cases so as to derive the knowledge of the effect of cocaine on the body through circulation by blood. Here the blood sample of the person is taken and is subjected to medical tests in order to detect cocaine metabolites in the blood. Cocaine can be detected in the blood within minutes of its intake to as long as 5-6 hours after its single dose. The results of this test are the most sought after and is considered to be the most accurate of all.
Cocaine Hair Follicle Test
The hair drug tests for cocaine come in with a number of benefits. First of all it is least expensive and can be afforded by all. Secondly, hair drug testing is a non-invasive method. And thirdly, the sample for the drug test can be collected in bulk for the detection of drug toxification. The detection periods for cocaine through this method extends for over a month if the hair remains uncut for long. But normally, the drug can be detected within 8 hours of the intake of cocaine which may extend for a week or more. Although washing the hairs may remove some amount of cocaine deposition yet the drug cannot absolutely wither away from the hairs.
Saliva Drug Test for Cocaine
The detection time of cocaine in case of saliva testing is the shortest. One needs to be taken for a saliva test immediately after snorting, smoking or injecting cocaine. Cocaine can be detected only within only 1-2 days of its intake.
Sweat Patch Drug Test
Cocaine can also be detected in the body through the Sweat patch test conducted within 1-4 hours after the intake of the drug. Although it is not recommended by the physicians due to the lack of unanimity among medical experts over the efficiency and reliability of such a test, yet people undergo the same owing to the low expense involved in it.
Picture 5 – Cocaine
Source – topnews.in
All the methods mentioned above have been developed in order to help detect individuals the harm that they have already caused to their body system by being addicted to cocaine. The effects of cocaine addiction (especially crack cocaine) are so very harmful that their constant use may cause heart problems, bowel gangrene, nose disorders and even immunodeficiency syndromes such as AIDS. So one who realizes the harmful implications of the intake of cocaine in any form may go through the tests at the initial stages and try and refrain oneself from such addictions with the help of anti drugs.
Written by akshay
on November 1st, 2010. The article was last updated on November 1st, 2010