Agencies, companies and many others use urine alcohol tests. How long after the drinking can urine alcohol tests detect it? Depends.
Two Kinds of Urine Alcohol Tests
There are two kinds of urine alcohols tests. The first identifies the presence of alcohols in urine. After a person drinks alcohols, some breaks down in the body. Some leaves through the breath, perspiration, feces, and urine. But the test has a weakness. It can’t identify alcohols in the urine for very long after all alcohols has left the body.And alcohols leaves the body rather quickly. To estimate that speed. A yeast, Candida Albicans, causes another weakness of this type of urine alcohols test. The body commonly contains this yeast. Unfortunately, it can change sugar in the urine into alcohols. And it can do this while urine is in the bladder or in the sample vial. This is an especially serious problem for diabetics
A second type of alcohols urine test doesn’t look for alcohols. It looks for one of the by-products caused as it breaks down in the body. That substance is Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG). An EtG test advantage is that EtG remains in the body long after all the alcohols is gone. The exact length of time is unclear. It probably depends on a number of factors. Claims vary. Some say that EtG can last “up to 70 to 80 hours.” Others say “approximately 80 hours.” Or “up to 80 hours,” “3 to four days,” etc. Such claims usually come from those who sell the tests. Independent researchers tend to report much shorter times, such as 24 hours.
Because they can test for longer periods of time than traditional urine alcohols tests, they have wider uses. They are appropriate when a person must be totally abstinent for a certain length of time. It could be either temporarily or permanently. Here are examples.
- People under the legal drinking age. Also members of the military services in combat zones where they may not drink.
- People on probation for alcohol-related crimes.
- People who have previous alcohol problems but have visitation with, or custody of, children. This on condition that they drink no alcohol.
- Drivers guilty of alcohol-related traffic offenses who must abstain. This is needed for keeping their licenses.
- Professionals who, because of alcohol problems, agree to abstain. This is a condition for continued licensure or employment. Such professionals include airline pilots, medical personnel, and lawyers,
In addition, clinicians can use EtG urine alcohol tests to motivate clients to be abstinent. Researchers can use the tests to assess the effectiveness of alcohol intervention programs. Parents can use them to discourage underage drinking. Sellers of test kits promote the latter use. However, it is highly controversial. The American Association of Pediatrics discourages the practice. The same is true other leading professional organizations. The many problems associated with such testing may far outweigh any assumed benefits.