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How Does A Cocaine Drug Test Work?

Testing for illegal drugs has become a common practice among many businesses, companies and government agencies. Athletes of all levels are also routinely drug tested for both prescription and illegal drugs that may enhance or alter performance. In addition many parents now use home drug kits to test for the presence of drugs if they suspect children are using. Understanding how a cocaine drug test actually works can help anyone wanting to test individuals answer questions as to the effectiveness and accuracy of the test. Typically a urine test, either through the form of a cassette, cup or dip test, is the fastest and easiest method to determine if someone has used cocaine.


Cocaine, like all other types of drugs, is broken down in the body into smaller units that are then absorbed or activate within different areas of the body and brain. During this process a by-product or a waste product is produced which is known as a metabolite. These metabolites, which are the waste products of the breakdown of the drug, are stored in the fat tissues of the body, just like all other metabolites. As the body burns fat for fuel, some of the fat molecules will be used up, releasing the metabolites or waste from the cocaine use into the blood during the production of cellular energy. These metabolites then go through the kidneys and liver with the blood. These two organs act as the filtering system for the body, removing all the metabolites and by-products. From the kidneys these metabolites are eliminated from the body with the urine. Testing the urine for the presence of the metabolites specifically formed with the breakdown of cocaine in the system allows for a highly accurate test to determine if cocaine has been used.


Cocaine drug test kits are very accurate as they can also test for the presence of any chemicals or compounds that individuals may take to try to fool or trick the test. These products are often sold in different forms including pills or liquids that contain chemicals that mask the presence of metabolites for cocaine in the urine. Fortunately cocaine drug test kits also test for adulteration of the urine sample, giving testers the heads up if the sample has been altered in any way.


Using a cocaine drug test is very simple and requires no special training or clinical procedures. Basically all types of urine tests including the cassette, cup or dip require a sample of urine to be provided, then either the urine is added to a specific plastic well, in the case of a cup or cassette, or a panel is inserted into the urine sample in the case of a dip test. Within two to ten minutes bars, signs or colors will appear on the panels in the sample testing device, showing clearly the presence or absence of cocaine within the sample.


It is important to note that cocaine, or rather the presence of metabolites from the use of cocaine, do not stay in the body indefinitely. For the average person that is not a chronic user cocaine is generally eliminated from the body within 2 to 3 days after use and will not show on a test from 1 to 4 hours after use, depending on the individual. Although there are single tests for cocaine it is typically combined with at least a four substance drug kit to ensure the most comprehensive drug testing results.


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