Generally, drug tests are administered when someone is starting a new job or has another commitment that requires drug-free behavior. All of us know what these tests are, but not all of us are familiar with their specifics. The most frequently asked question about drug tests is will alcohol show up on drug test? The answer is that it depends.

The purpose of this blog post is to explain how alcohol drug screenings work, how long alcohol stays in your system, how to prepare for an alcohol drug screening, and whether drinking the night before a drug test is a good idea.

Types of Drug Tests

There are at least six different ways to test for the presence of drugs and alcohol in the system. Some types of tests are designed to detect alcohol, some detect drugs, and a majority can pick up on both. Provided below are details about the different types of drug and alcohol tests.

  • Blood Tests: A blood sample is taken to test for the presence of both drugs and alcohol
  • Mouth Swabs: A sample of saliva is taken to test for the presence of both drugs and alcohol
  • Hair Tests: A strand of hair is taken to detect the use of drugs; this test can show the use of drugs for up to 1-2 years
  • Urine Tests: Urine tests are the most common type of drug test, which takes a sample of urine and analyzes it for the presence of both alcohol and drugs
  • Breath Tests: Also known as a breathalyzer, this test analyzes alcohol content
  • Sweat Tests: A sweat sample is taken to detect any present drug particles

Why You May Need to Take A Drug Test

Provided below are some reasons someone may need to take a drug test:

  • To start a new job
  • To fulfill a random protocol at work
  • Because of a work-related injury
  • Suspicion of being under the influence at work
  • Court-mandated testing
  • Some athletes and government workers are tested regularly

Does Alcohol Show Up In A Drug Test?

Since drug tests are a common practice, someone may have to take one before starting a new job. A question that frequently comes up regarding drug testing is “is drinking the night before a drug test ok?”

Alcohol consumption is perfectly legal, and an individual may want a drink or two the night before a drug test. But how do you know if the alcohol will show up as a type of drug in your system? Here’s how long alcohol stays in your body compared to drugs commonly identified and examined on test:

  • Alcohol: 12-48 hours
  • Cocaine: 2-3 days
  • Marujuana: 1-3 weeks

How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your Urine?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, alcohol can be detected in urine from 12 up to 130 hours if someone has been drinking excessively. The maximum amount of time that a urine test can detect alcohol after you consume it is five days.

Factors That Affect Alcohol Detection

Also, according to the Cleveland Clinic, there’s not a set timeframe for how long alcohol stays in your system. The speed that your body metabolizes alcohol depends on several factors, including:

  • Medications
  • Sex
  • Age
  • Body size
  • Health conditions

How to Pass A Drug Test

Since alcohol can stay in your body anywhere from several hours to a few days, the best way to guarantee you’ll pass a drug test is to avoid alcohol consumption for about two to three days before taking a test. Especially if the type of test your taking looks for intake of both drugs and alcohol, it’s best to avoid alcohol consumption a couple of days before the test.

A few other ways to increase your chances of passing a drug test is to drink a lot of water, but not too much to the point where your urine might be too diluted for a urine-based test. Also, don’t use alcohol-based mouthwash if you’re taking a test that detects alcohol use as it can be mistaken for the other type of alcohol.

Preparing For Your Test

Most people are told they’re getting drug tested before the event occurs, unless they work somewhere that explicitly administers random drug tests. If you know about a drug test in advance, you can ask the person administering the test whether it will test for alcohol. The substance is legal, so check beforehand.

Drinking the Night Before A Drug Test: Yes or No?

The short answer to the question of will “alcohol show up on drug test?” is that it depends. Alcohol may or may not be allowed the night before your test, depending on the type of test and the reason for the test. Alcohol can show up on a drug test if consumed close enough to the test. When drinking the night before a drug test, it’s important to drink responsibly.

Get Treatment for Alcohol Addiction Today At Steps to Recovery

If you’re struggling with an alcohol addiction, we’re here for you. At our alcohol detox rehab, we provide individualized, person-centered care to help each client uncover the “why” behind their addiction and help them build foundational relationships that help answer the “how” in moving forward. Steps to Recovery’s addiction therapy programs include:

To learn more about drug testing or if you need help with an addiction, contact the Steps to Recovery team today at 267.209.7312.