Last updated: 18 September 2023 & medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Langdon
Crack cocaine is a central nervous stimulant that is derived from combining pure cocaine powder with other chemicals. The euphoric rush, or “high”, felt from the crack form of cocaine is often short-lived, though traces of the substance can stay in the body for a long time.
Crack will often show in urine toxicology between three and six hours after ingesting and can be detected for up to four days.
Hair tests can detect crack in hair follicles for a long period of time, up to 90 days after the last dose in a single hair sample.
Someone with a long history of crack abuse or heavy users will have detectable cocaine metabolites in their system for longer than someone who hasn’t.
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How long does crack stay in your system?
As crack is made by combining pure cocaine (sometimes called fish scale cocaine) with various chemicals such as baking soda it can be hard to determine the exact half-life. Crack is sometimes mixed with other drugs such as methamphetamine which further complicates the detection process.
Cocaine itself has a short half-life (the length of time it takes the body to process half a dose), most commonly around an hour. As it is processed by the body so rapidly, most drug tests look for cocaine metabolites such as benzoylecgonine which linger in the system for longer.
How long does crack stay in urine?
Urine tests are the most common type of drug test used in the United States owing to their ease of use, cost, and rapid results. Crack will often show in urine toxicology between three and six hours after ingesting and can be detected for up to four days. How crack is made can affect its purity, meaning more or less metabolites may be detectable.
How long does crack stay in blood?
Blood testing is less common as the results can take longer to process. Crack cocaine is detectable in blood tests up to 24 hours after last use.
How long does crack stay in saliva?
Saliva toxicology testing is rarely used as substances tend to be hard to trace after a short amount of time, giving them a low detection window. The presence of cocaine in saliva lasts up to 24 hours after last use.
How long does crack stay in hair follicles?
Hair testing is one of the most precise and chronologically viable forms of drug testing, though the process can be long and expensive. Hair tests can detect crack cocaine in hair follicles for a long period of time, up to 90 days after the last dose in a single hair sample.
Read here to learn more about how long other drugs stay in your system.
Factors that affect crack cocaine detection times
There are many factors that can influence the detection rate in a toxicology test and these can vary from person to person. For instance, someone with a long history of crack abuse or heavy users will have detectable cocaine metabolites in their system for longer than someone who hasn’t. The same is also true if someone abuses multiple drugs or combines them with alcohol regularly. The purity and cost of crack can also affect how many cocaine metabolites will be detectable in the system.
Other factors that influence crack cocaine detection rates include:
Pre-existing medical conditions (especially those involving kidney or liver function)
Can you get a false-positive result for crack drug tests?
Some drug tests may indicate a false positive when looking for certain substances. For instance, certain antidepressants and painkillers can cause a false positive when looking for benzodiazepines, and poppy seeds can confuse opioid drug detection. This is due to certain materials containing similar or identical metabolites that drug tests look for.
Cocaine and crack cocaine have much more unique and detectable metabolites, meaning false positives are highly unlikely.
Crack addiction treatment
Being concerned that you may test positive for crack cocaine use in a drug test is a prime indicator that you have a substance use disorder. Crack cocaine use can and often does lead to dependence and addiction, which can have devastatingly negative consequences for the user and those around them.
Getting treatment from a rehab facility can help to get crack out of your system and regain control of your life. Visit our rehab directory to find a rehab center near you and explore your treatment options.