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Crack cocaine is a highly addictive and dangerous drug. It can cause serious health problems, sometimes with fatal consequences. How long does crack stay in your system? The answer varies depending on a number of factors, but the damage it causes does not take long to take effect.

What is Crack?

Crack cocaine is a form of the drug that is derived from powdered cocaine through a simple conversion process. It is made by dissolving the powdered form of the drug in a mixture of water and ammonia or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Then the mixture is boiled. When a solid substance forms, it is removed from the liquid, dried, and broken into chunks or rocks.


The drug is highly addictive, cheap to make, and a powerful stimulant. It emerged as a drug of abuse in the 1980s. Crack is usually smoked, which delivers large quantities to the lungs and produces an immediate and intense “high.”


Crack Use a Serious Problem

Reports indicate that over 6 million people in the US over the age of 12 have used crack at least once in their lifetime. One survey revealed that 150,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 17 and over a million young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 have used the drug at least once. Almost 4% of high school seniors in the US have used the drug at least once and over 1% had used the drug in the past month.


The Effects of Abusing Crack

Cocaine is powerfully addictive, regardless of the form it takes. Addiction develops more quickly when the drug is smoked in the form of crack, than when it is snorted as a powder. Cocaine use poses a number of health risks, including increased heart rate, increased temperature, higher blood pressure, constricted blood vessels, and a risk of cardiac arrest and seizure.


In addition to these serious health effects, an individual who smokes crack cocaine can also experience acute respiratory problems, including shortness of breath, coughing, and lung trauma and bleeding. Smoking crack can also cause paranoid and aggressive behavior.


How Long Does Crack Stay in Your System?

How long crack stays in your system depends on a number of factors. Cocaine usually remains in the system for one to four days, but it can be detected for up to two weeks in some people. Factors that can affect the duration of cocaine include:

  • How much crack you use
  • How often you use the drug
  • How you consume it
  • The purity level
  • The amount of body fat you have
  • Your alcohol consumption.

When you drink alcohol while consuming cocaine, it can cause the drug to stay in your system longer. The alcohol will bind to the cocaine and interfere with its excretion.


How soon you will feel its effects also depends on different factors. When you smoke crack, it can hit you in a matter of seconds. When snorting or gumming the cocaine, the effects can take up to three minutes to be felt. The difference is in the speed at which it enters your bloodstream. Smoking crack bypasses the mucus, skin, and tissues that are in the way when snorting, so the drug enters your bloodstream almost instantly.


You might feel the effects for about 5 to 15 minutes when smoking crack. Some people continue to feel the effects for up to an hour. How much you use and the use of other substances can make the difference in how long the crack stays in your system.


Testing for Crack in Your System

How long crack stays in your system for testing purposes varies by the type of test. Typical detection times are:

  • Up to 2 days: blood and saliva tests
  • Up to 4 days: urine test
  • Up to 3 months: hair test.

The long-term effects of using and abusing crack cocaine are psychological and physical dependence, which can impact your mental and physical health for much longer, unless you seek professional treatment for your addiction.


Help for Addiction

At Hope by the Sea, a southern California addiction treatment center, we focus on helping you begin your journey of recovery from drug abuse. We specialize in treating each person as a whole individual, to embrace recovery with as much support and momentum as possible.

Our team continues to follow federal, state, and local public health guidelines regarding COVID-19 to ensure our clients’ safety. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services. Hope Starts Here!