Shoreline Sober Living, San Diego, CA
Does alcohol show up on a drug test?

Understanding how long alcohol will remain within your body is vital to avoid dangerous situations that impair your mental and physical reactions. According to the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey, in 2018, more than half of the US adult population drank alcohol in the past 30 days. About 16% of the adult population reported binge drinking, and 7% reported heavy drinking.

So how long can alcohol stay within your system? It is ultimately dependant on how much you drink throughout the night and how healthy your overall body is. If you have a typical working, healthy liver, it will process roughly one drink per hour. Generally speaking, if you finish one drink by 9 pm, you should be in the clear by 10 pm. However, if you have a second drink after 9 pm, you will have to wait an additional half an hour before, thus being intoxicated until 11 pm.

Several factors, however, do need to be taken into consideration, such as:

  • Weight
  • Gender
  • Age
  • How much you have eaten
  • Metabolism
  • Strength of alcohol
  • Whether an individual has taken any medication

What is considered one drink?

There are thousands of alcoholic beverages to choose from; however, each beer, gin, whiskey, wine, etc., will have a different amount of alcohol. When you go to a bar, alcoholic beverages are generally a standard of 0.6 ounces of liquor.

One shot of gin, whiskey, vodka, etc., is considered roughly the same as having a glass of wine (5 fluid ounces). Your liver, if fully functioning, will be able to metabolize the beverage within an hour of finishing.

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC)

When it comes to alcohol consumption, there are science-based methods to understand the rate at which an individual can become intoxicated based on your body type.

The BAC (blood alcohol concentration) scale will show how much pure alcohol is within your bloodstream. For example, if you have a BAC of .04, you will feel relatively relaxed within the social situation. The BAC scale goes as follows:

 .04 – the majority of people will feel comfortable.

.08 – is the legal limit within the majority of states. However, depending on the body type, whether an individual has eaten and further factors can impair individuals’ driving response by a BAC as low as .02.

.12 – The majority of individuals will either feel incredibly sick or vomit.

.30 – Several individuals will lose consciousness at this BAC level.

.40 the majority of individuals will have lost consciousness.

.45 this is a BAC level that can be fatal.

What are the types of drug tests?

There are several ways for an individual to be tested for whether alcohol is in someone’s system. Some types of tests are specifically designed to identify drugs, some are to detect alcohol, and most tests can pick up both. Below we have listed the top 6 drug and alcohol tests:

Urine test

A urine test is the most commonly used test that can identify both alcohol and drugs.

Mouth swab

Individuals will be asked for a sample of saliva that will detect both drugs and alcohol.

Blood test

Medical professionals will extract a sample of blood that will identify both drugs and alcohol within the system.

Breath test

A breath test, known as a breathalyzer, tests only the contents of alcohol on an individuals breath.

Sweat test

Medical professionals will capture a sample of sweat to examine if any drug particles are present.

Hair test

Hair tests can detect up to 1-2 years of using drugs.

Alcohol is perfectly legal, and many will want to have a glass or two to calm their nerves before events such as a new job. However, it would not be wise to avoid any form of alcoholic substance if you believe you will be subjected to a drug test the next day. Alcohol can stay in your body from 12-48 hours; therefore, the best way to completely pass a drugs test is to not consume any alcohol for at least 2-3 days before taking the test.

How is alcohol metabolized within the body?

Alcohol passes through the digestive system; however, it does not undergo extensive digestions within the digestive tract as food does. When the alcohol enters the upper gastrointestinal tract, at least a large portion of the alcoholic beverage will be absorbed immediately into the bloodstream. This is done through the tissue lining of the small intestines and the stomach. Once the alcohol is within the bloodstream, it will be further carried throughout the body and travels to the brain. Food can absorb the toxic substance, which will inhibit the liquid from coming into contact with the stomach lining.

How to know why you are intoxicated?

The longer and more frequently you consume alcoholic beverages within one sitting, the more likely you will begin to show signs that you are becoming intoxicated. These signs can include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Confusions
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Speaking loudly
  • Becoming rowdy
  • Trouble remembering things
  • Stumbling

Individuals who are intoxicated are at significant risk of injuring themselves or individuals around them. This can include:

  • Violent behavior either towards themselves or others
  • Motor accident if behind the wheel
  • Contracting an STD
  • Suicide and homicide

How much is too much?

If you find yourself beginning to drink more often than not, it is crucial to monitor your alcohol intake. It is essential to never get into a car with the intention of driving the vehicle; we would advise even if you don’t feel drunk but feel slightly ‘buzzed,’ you do not under any circumstance operate a car.

The reality of alcohol is that the toxic substance does stay in your system longer than you think. Even the smallest particle is enough to trigger a positive test on a drugs test. Always be sure to understand how long alcohol stays within your body if you believe you will have to undergo a drugs test.

Final words

There is an extremely fine line between excessive alcohol consumption and alcoholism; it can be hard to identify the difference within yourself. If you believe your loved one has become addicted to alcohol, give Shoreline Sober Living a call.

We have a structured living program here at Shoreline that has been shown to increase the chances of recovery. The structured day-to-day plan enables individuals to reintegrate with daily life, provides help and support with job seeking, amongst more. It helps to build relationships with peers and re-establish relationships with loved ones while abstaining from alcohol. It enables the individual to repeat healthy daily behaviors that over the 90-day program become second nature, reducing the risk of relapsing. Shoreline can provide a solid foundation on your road to recovery.

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