What is an Alcohol Urine Test?

An alcohol urine test, otherwise known as a screening, is a medical breakdown of a urine sample to detect whether or not the person in question has alcohol in their system. This test also shows roughly how long it has been since the person last consumed alcohol. There are many reasons that somebody could be asked to take an alcohol test, the vast majority of which are work-related, for example somebody is assumed to have taken alcohol on work premises, they must be tested, or somebody who has a court-ordered test to ensure they are remaining alcohol free as part of their parole.

The standard alcohol urine test will find alcohol in the urine for up to 24 hours after alcohol has been consumed. The person who is under review must have a urine specimen into a small, sterilised container. After the test, the container will have a chemical detecting card inserted into the sample, and the card will then flag up if there is any alcohol in the system. The test must be sent away to a lab, to verify the result.

There are a number of factors behind alcohol urine tests, be it the usage or the detection. The duration between consuming alcohol last and receiving the test will make a big difference to the quality of the result, and is probably the deciding factor. It can take up to two hours for alcohol to be detected in urine. However, once in the urine, it is very hard to predict just how long it will stay in your system for.

There is a test that is usually done hand-in-hand with the urine test, and this test finds Ethyl Glucoronide in the urine, which is left in the urine after the alcohol has metabolised into the body itself. This allows them to see alcohol usage for up to five days past the last consumption. However, the cost of the equipment is so high that only a few places use this, and it is a less popular method for testing due to the financial cost, plus this would only really need to be used in the parolee environment.

There is also the breathalyser test. It offers much quicker results, and is much cheaper than the Ethyl Glucoronide test. There are also hair samples, blood tests, saliva tests, and various other forms of testing that can be used. However, the urine test is known to be the most favourable, due to the cost, reliability and ease of access to the required results.

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This post has been updated since its original publication in 2016.

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