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I just had a c-section and i tested positive for benzoylecgonine and i had an epidural and was giving hydrocodone. Is that possible? I haven’t used drugs especially while i was pregnant.

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  • sanjos March 17, 2011

    Hi Erica,

    The ‘positive’ hair test for benzoylecgonine does not necessarily mean you have used cocaine recently. Hair tests are usually meant to screen for intake drugs in the last 90 days. It can become positive within 4-5 days of intake and continues to be positive for long time.

    Usually the labs do not report for cocaine or benzoylecgonine alone. Cocaine and its metabolites (including benzoylecgonine) are reported. If there is only cocaine and benzoylecgonine, then it is reported with the quantity of benzoylecgonine or with ratio of benzoylecgonine to cocaine to rule out external cocaine exposure and non-enzymatic conversion to benzoylecgonine. Externally exposed hair samples have significantly less quantity of cocaine or benzoylecgonine than a user. A positive urine test for benzoylecgonine is more significant for a recent use of cocaine.

    A mistake of sampling of hair, like using wrong part of the hair may give wrong results. The 4 inches of hair close to the scalp is the standard part used to get information for 90 days. If sample was taken wrongly and hair taken was further away from scalp, it could be positive if you had used cocaine further in past beyond 3 months.

    If there is absolutely no chance that you have taken cocaine in the past, then environmental exposure is most likely possibility. May be if any of your household is using it, chances are more likely.

    Other remote possibilities include drinking of coca leaf tea in recent past, which contains some amount of cocaine or visiting an ENT surgeon in recent past for any procedure (there is a chance that he could have used cocaine as a local anesthetic). Artificial spiking of hair samples with cocaine (such samples contain very high quantity of the drug in the sample wash solution than in a regular user).

    A urine test for benzoylecgonine or tests for other metabolites of cocaine like cocaethylene and norcocaine can be used to confirm it.

    There is no possibility of hydrocodone giving positive benzoylecgonine positive test.


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