How Long Does Cocaine Stay in Your System?

Updated: May 12




THE PRIORY IS A REHAB CENTRE in London that has operated since the 1980’s. Not everyone mind.


It treats people with drink and drug addictions.

It’s the sort of place that famous celebrities go to, like Ant McParland, Lilly Allen, Paul Gascoigne, Amy Winehouse and Kate Moss.


It presumably knows its stuff.


Like how long substances stay in your system.

Unlike alcohol, cocaine stays in your system for stubbornly long periods of time.

While alcohol will generally pass out of your system within 12-24 hours of consuming it, cocaine will not.


What does this mean?
It means that if you encounter a checkpoint
24 hours after consuming alcohol you will
likely not be over the limit.
But if you’ve been consuming cocaine,
you will.


The danger with cocaine -besides the obvious health concerns- is its longevity in your system.


According to The Priory cocaine stays in your blood for up to 2 days after consuming it. It’s the same for saliva. Its about 4 days for urine and about 90 days in a hair sample.


OF COURSE FOR EMPLOYEES who are routinely subjected to urine tests at work the 4-day period will generate most interest.


But we’re only interested in the blood results here, because if the Gardai detect it in your saliva they take a blood sample from you afterwards.


And they take that blood sample in the Garda station, after they’ve arrested you.






Like alcohol there’s a number of factors that affect how long cocaine will stay in your system. But unlike alcohol, these factors are unique to drug-taking.


These include how much cocaine you have taken (the more you take, the longer it lasts), how often you take it (the more frequent you take it the longer it lasts), the method of taking it (snorted cocaine stays longer than cocaine that’s smoked) and whether you had consumed alcohol at the same time (taking cocaine with alcohol causes cocaine to stay longer)


WHAT DOES ALL this mean?


It means that if you encounter a checkpoint 24 hours after consuming alcohol you will likely not be over the limit.


But if you’ve been consuming cocaine, you will.


I have represented clients who consumed cocaine on a Thursday night and been stopped by the Gardai for speeding on a Saturday afternoon.


They’ve provided a saliva sample which has tested positive for cocaine.

They’ve been arrested, provided a blood sample and later been prosecuted for drug driving.


And remember: a conviction for drug driving carries a mandatory disqualification from driving of at least 12 months.


That’s mandatory.

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