You may have heard that urine drug tests look for benzoylecgonine in urine, but what is it? Why is it such a problem if you test positive for it? It can have some really bad consequences, and we'll explain why shortly, as well as how to avoid testing positive for benzoylecgonine
Benzoylecgonine in urine
Benzoylecgonine is actually a metabolite of cocaine. When someone takes coke in some form, the body breaks it down and produces benzoylecgonine in its place.
So why do they test for this instead of cocaine? Well, there's a very simple reason: cocaine doesn't stay in the body that long. Given a high enough dose, drug tests could maybe detect it for 72 hours afterwards. With a more moderate dose, however, someone could pass a drug test as little as 12 hours afterwards. With these detection times, there's little point testing people at all unless an employer is only concerned with workplace substance abuse.
This is where benzoylecgonine comes in, because unlike cocaine, it stays in the body much longer, even if you didn't use that much coke. It therefore makes much more sense to test for benzoylecgonine rather than cocaine itself. Even if you just did a bit of coke, you could fail a drug test up to 5 days later. If you're a heavy user of coke, or if you have a kidney disorder, you could fail a drug test up to 10 days after last using.
Can benzoylecgonine come from anything else?
Testing for benzoylecgonine is only useful if it can be attributed to cocaine use. Perhaps the only other thing that might cause you to fail a drug test is Esterom, a topical analgesic that contains benzoylecgonine. Unfortunately, this is not FDA approved, nor is it legal in the United States, so it would never be a reasonable explanation for testing positive for benzoylecgonine.
False positives happen all the time, of course, such as from using amoxicillin. These are usually limited to the immunoassay devices used in drug screenings, however, and can be cleared up with a more accurate GC-MS analysis.
How to avoid testing positive for benzoylecgonine
If you test positive for benzoylecgonine, it will be assumed that you've used cocaine recently. This can have various consequences depending on the nature of the test. If it's a pre-employment drug test, for example, the job offer will certainly be withdrawn.
The simplest way to prepare for a urine drug test is to use a detox drink an hour or two before your expected testing time. This will get to work in flushing benzoylecgonine out of your urinary system, so that when you finally submit your actual sample, the level of benzoylecgonine in it will be below the detectable threshold. If you feel a detox drink alone might not be enough, you can go for a two-stage cocaine detox kit instead. In addition to a detox drink, this also has a testing device and a further round of detox supplements. If you test positive with the included device, you can use the chewable supplements to clean your urine further.