Widespread availability and low price points have resulted in cocaine usage increasing in Europe over the last decade. So much so that a record-breaking 213 tonnes were seized by EU State Members in 2020 alone.
The growing prevalence of the drug in the UK means that 1 in 11 adults between the ages of 16 to 59 now admit to taking cocaine at some point during their lifetime, which prompts businesses to consider what the impact could be on their operations – i.e., how and why they should test for cocaine.
Cocaine usage could result in a greater risk of workplace accidents and illnesses, and substance misuse could bring with it legal troubles and considerations for employers. However, businesses can take steps to protect themselves. Deploying a workplace drug testing program and educating employees on how to handle substance misuse in the workforce could help provide legal coverage, while also supporting the employees most affected by this highly addictive substance.

What Is Cocaine Made From?

So, how is cocaine produced? Cocoa plants, the primary source of cocaine, originate from Central and South America and have been used as stimulant for around 3500 years. The raw material is often processed and cut with mundane household items like flour and baking soda, or harmful drugs like anaesthetics and amphetamines to increase profits for the sellers.

When Was Cocaine Invented?

The process of isolating cocaine from the coca leaf was first performed by German chemist Albert Niemen in 1860 and developed by German student Albert Niemann, who improved the extraction process and coined the name ‘cocaine’ as known today.
Unlike elsewhere, the rollout of cocaine restrictions was historically slow in the UK due to greater concerns over alcohol consumption on the eve of World War One. Nevertheless, the growth of war-time xenophobia over its perceived connection to the Chinese and increased media attention on its effects encouraged the formalisation of restrictions in the Dangerous Drug Act of 1920 – which forced cocaine use to become an underground activity across the UK.

Seizure of Cocaine

The substance is now the second most commonly used drug in the EU thanks to its wider availability and higher purity rating at a lower price, as demonstrated by the unprecedented 91,000 use/possession offences reported across the continent in 2020.

What Class Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is classed as a Class A drug under the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act and could result in an unlimited fine and/or a prison sentence of up to seven years if found in possession.

Cocaine Overdose

Physical risks of cocaine usage include panic attacks, stroke and/or heart attacks. The drug can also negatively impact mental health; causing the user anxiety and depression – especially when consumed frequently or in large doses. Altogether, its recent prevalence has increased cocaine-related deaths by 9.7% in the UK, rising yearly reported deaths from 708 in 2019 to 777 in 2020.

Cocaine Drug Testing

Cocaine abuse can also affect workplace activity by impairing cognitive function, reducing performance, and increasing confidence in tasks otherwise performed with care. This ultimately increases the risk of property damage and injury to themselves and others if left unrecognised at work.
Consequently, business owners and HR representatives would be wise to use workplace drug testing if an employee is suspected to be using at work, or outside of work in a way that impacts their ability to perform duties properly and safely.

Cocaine FAQs

How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your System?

The amount of time cocaine stays in the system varies between users and dependent on various factors including diet, liquid consumption, and metabolism.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Urine?

Up to four days after consumption.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your Blood?

Up to two days after consumption.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your Hair?

Cocaine remains in your hair indefinitely, however hair grows at roughly one centimetre per month – so it’s detectable via a hair test until old, contaminated hairs are replaced with new ones.

How Long Does Cocaine Stay In Your Saliva?

Up to two days after consumption.

Reliable Drug Testing From ITS

So how can we help? At ITS, we provide reliable, quick, and easy-to-use Drug and Alcohol Testing Kits that help businesses to test for substance misuse in the workplace. Testing not just for cocaine misuse but up to 13 different substances, as well as drug test adulteration too, our test makes checking for substance misuse fast and effective.
What’s more, we can support you with your drug and alcohol policy, too. Whether you don’t have one currently in place or want to improve your existing one, we can provide bespoke support to create a policy that meets your business requirements.
Read more detail about how businesses can manage cocaine misuse in the workplace and test for the drug, or get in touch with our experts for a no-strings-attached consultation.