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Drug Testing for Cocaine Use
Drug testing for cocaine and crack cocaine use is often used as part of cocaine prevention and treatment programs. The effectiveness of drug testing for cocaine use is widely debated, so parents and others should learn some of the facts about cocaine drug testing.
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Drug testing for cocaine and crack cocaine is meant to tell parents, school administrators, work supervisors, doctors, or drug rehab counselors if a person is using cocaine or crack. A positive result on a drug test for cocaine can help identify a person who needs help with a cocaine problem, but drug testing for cocaine is not always accurate and is controversial.
Testing for cocaine use is done by taking a specimen from a person and then sending it to a lab for results. Some drug tests also provide quick results similar to a home pregnancy test, though positive results should be confirmed by a doctor. The cost of cocaine drug tests vary from a few dollars each to nearly 100 dollars, depending on the type of test and how many drugs it tests for. The specimens that can be used for cocaine drug testing include:
With most of these drug testing methods, cocaine can only be detected for 2 to 4 days after it has been used. In heavy cocaine users the drug may be detectable for up to several weeks. Drug testing hair is supposed to test for cocaine use in the past several months, but many experts question the accuracy of this method.
There are many situations where drug testing for cocaine may be done, such as:
There are many arguments for and against random drug testing for cocaine. Though most agree that drug testing in the workplace, especially in certain industries, is important for safety, and that drug testing can be an effective part of rehab, drug testing in other setting is controversial. Those who argue for random drug testing say it helps to spot someone with a problem so they can get help, and that it gives people, especially teens, an excuse not to use cocaine or other drugs or to come clean if they are using cocaine.
The arguments against random testing for cocaine and other drugs focus on several aspects of random drug testing:
Drug testing for cocaine use will continue to be a controversial topic, with individuals and groups left to decide if they think it is appropriate for their situation. For those that choose to use drug testing as part of a cocaine prevention or treatment program, there are a few tips that most experts agree on:
Sources:U. S. Department of Education, Student Drug-Testing Institute, "Frequently Asked Questions About Student Drug Testing" [online]
U. S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, "Toxicology Screen" [online]
Sharon Levy et.al, Pediatrics journal, PubMed.gov abstracts, "A review of Internet-based home drug-testing products for parents" [online]
National Institute on Drug Abuse, Publications, "Drug Counseling for Cocaine Addiction" [online]
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, "Testimony on Federal Workplace Drug-Testing by Edward J. Cone, PhD" [online]
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