Crack cocaine is a powerful stimulant that produces a brief high, with a half-life of only around 15 minutes. There are, however, several factors that can affect how long crack cocaine can be identified in a person’s system using the following drug tests:
Crack can be detected in the blood up to two to 12 hours after use. This is the drug screening method least likely to detect crack use unless blood is tested within a few hours of use.
Crack can be identified in hair follicles for up to three months after use, sometimes longer. Because hair grows slowly, crack and its metabolites can be detected in follicles for a prolonged period after the use.
Crack cocaine can be detected in the urine between 1-4 days after use. In some cases, it may be detected several weeks after its use if a person has been using it for a prolonged period.
Crack can be identified in saliva for up to 24 hours after use. Like blood testing, saliva samples yield a relatively short window of time for detection.
Powdered cocaine is a very dangerous drug, but crack, a less pure form of cocaine, has the potential to pose even more problems for users. The drug induces a rapid and intense high but can cause addiction and remain traceable in the body for a prolonged period.
What Is Crack?
Crack is a form of cocaine in which the hydrochloride is removed, causing the drug to become more potent and take on a rock crystal form. Crack is also known as freebase cocaine, and it is typically smoked through a pipe. When heated, the rock produces a cracking sound, and this is the reason its name. As noted, crack is a stimulant, that, when used, increases activity in the central nervous system (CNS) and leads to heightened energy and euphoria.
Crack’s Effect on the Body
Like all addictive drugs, crack works by interfering with neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, which is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. Using crack causes dopamine to accumulate, which will result in the user experiencing pleasure rapidly.
Over time and with repeated use, the body will become dependent on crack. Once dependence develops, the person will experience highly unpleasant symptoms when they try to quit. For this reason, many users find it nearly impossible to quit and will relapse to avoid withdrawal.
This is why drug use tends to escalate and frequently becomes out of control. What’s more, the user will find that he or she needs to use the drug in increasing amounts to achieve the desired effect—a condition known as tolerance.
As a stimulant, crack causes body mechanisms to accelerate. People under the influence of crack tend to speak rapidly and appear to be animated, jumpy, and twitchy. The drug also affects the speed of a person’s heart rate, which can be dangerous. As the body begins to rid itself of crack, the user often experiences a “crash” or “come down” and becomes depressed, agitated, and tired.
Crack produces a number of acute effects, which also includes impaired judgment, hallucinations, and sleep disturbances. However, long-term crack use can also lead to many chronic health conditions, such as cognitive decline and damage to the CNS.
Since crack is usually smoked, it is rapidly absorbed into the lungs. The high that crack produces is sometimes only five to 10 minutes long, and its half-life (the time required for the body to eliminate half of the drug) is also brief. However, the duration that crack and its metabolites remain in the body is influenced by several factors, including the following:
- Liver function
- Duration of use
- Average amount of drug used
- Food and water consumption
- Use of other drugs or alcohol
- Overall health
- Height and weight
- Body fat percentage
Since each individual who uses crack has unique factors and differing histories of drug use, it is not possible to determine precisely how long the drug can remain detectable. For this reason, the above factors need to be taken into consideration.
Getting Help for Addiction
An addiction to cocaine or crack cocaine can be a very severe and life-threatening condition. It is very treatable, however, and many people have gotten help and gone on to lead healthy and productive lives. Our centers offer integrated, personalized programs, therapies, and activities clinically-proven to be indispensable for the recovery process.
Using approaches such as behavioral therapy and counseling, clients are able to uncover and examine the underlying issues that contribute to their addiction. They are also taught how to identify problematic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and replace them with new ones that elicit positive change.
If you are addicted to crack, please know you don’t have to suffer alone. Contact us today and find out how we can give you the tools and support you need to recover!