Can Alcohol Affect Drug Test? And Vice Versa

Can alcohol affect drug tests and vice versa? Alcohol and drugs are the leading causes of accidents or injuries in the workplace. In addition, the prevailing use of alcohol and illegal drugs have detrimental consequences on health, relationships, and community. Mainly, they are substances that impair or reduce the ability of the nervous system to function normally. As a result, many workplaces prohibit alcohol and drug use because of the harm they cause. In particular, high-risk workplaces implement alcohol and drug testing to reduce risks and maintain safety. While alcohol is not an illegal substance, an excessive amount can compromise the working environment. 

Alcohol (ethanol) is a depressant that impairs or slows the activity of the brain and nervous system. In low to moderate amounts, alcohol produces mild relaxing effects. In addition, people consume alcohol to make themselves feel at ease. However, large doses can affect a person’s senses, cognition, and motor skills. Alcohol intoxication is a significant problem in many industries. Companies lose billions of dollars every year due to substance-related accidents. In line with this, alcohol and drug tests can identify workers with substance abuse. A workplace policy can significantly reduce accidents and deter alcohol use. Because alcohol is a depressant, many ask if alcohol affect a drug test. 

Alcohol Affect in Drug Test: Alcohol affects in the Body

Alcohol and drugs can stay in the system long after their initial exposure. In particular, the body rapidly absorbs alcohol and distributes it in different parts through the blood. As a result, you can feel the effects of alcohol within minutes after consumption. However, eliminating alcohol from the system is a different matter. Portions of alcohol exit the body through sweat, urine, or breath. A breathalyser device like BACtrack can detect alcohol through the breath sample. Breathalysers use sensors to analyse alcohol and measure the blood alcohol content (BAC). Similarly, alcohol appears in blood, saliva, or oral fluid test. Therefore, it is essential to know how long does alcohol stay in the system and if alcohol affect a drug test. 

Can alcohol affect drug test if you drank the night before the test? Alcohol stays in the body for up to 24 hours or longer, depending on the consumed amount. Also, many factors influence the BAC, such as weight, age, gender, body mass, water content, medications, and metabolism rate. So, the more you consume alcohol, the higher your BAC. Also, the body can break down at an average rate of one standard drink per hour. Therefore, refrain from consuming alcohol if you know you will be taking an alcohol or drug test. In general, alcohol can show in different tests within the following duration:

  • Breath – 12 to 24 hours
  • Blood – Up to 6 hours
  • Urine – 12 to 24 hours
  • Hair follicle – Up to 90 days
  • Saliva – 12 to 24 hours


Alcohol Affect Drug Test: Tracing Alcohol 

The standard drug test involves laboratory examinations to identify whether the person has recently used illegal substances. The test covers screening the blood, oral fluids, or urine to detect the presence of illicit drugs. Generally, blood, urine or saliva tests are for screening drugs while a breath test for alcohol. However, alcohol affects drug test if you aim to detect alcohol use or abstinence. For example, the EtG test detects ethyl glucuronide, a breakdown product of ethanol in the urine. On the other hand, a breath test through a breathalyser is the most cost-efficient way to screen for alcohol. In particular, the BACtrack breathalyser only takes 10 to 15 seconds to process and deliver the BAC results. 

Alcohol Affect Drug Test: Factors affecting a Drug Test

A drug test targets specific drugs or drug classes only above a cut-off level or threshold. It does not cover all kinds of substances. So what can make alcohol affect drug test? Several factors may affect the validity of drug tests or give false positives. For example, some household products contain alcohol that might appear in drug test results. Also, taking prescription medications can yield false-positive results. Therefore, it is critical to abstain from alcohol consumption for a few days before taking a test. Additionally, inform the laboratory if you take medications that may affect your results. Testing centres follow the Australian Standards for conducting breath, urine or oral fluid tests. The standards involve the proper collection, handling, and storing of the specimens for analysis. Some of the factors that can affect a drug test are:

  • Antidepressants
  • Alcohol-based products like mouthwash
  • Second-hand marijuana smoke
  • Antibiotics
  • Antihistamines


When to Conduct Tests

Can alcohol affect drug test in a roadside screening? Alcohol or drug tests are common in roadside inspections. For example, police can ask you to take a breath or saliva test if they suspect you of impaired driving. In particular, if your BAC is 0.05% (legal limit) or higher, you are subject to criminal charges and penalties. Similarly, you can face a criminal offence if you drive with illegal drugs in your system. A police officer can require a driver to undergo drug screening after a breath test. If the saliva test indicates a positive result, the sample will be taken to a laboratory for analysis. After that, if the laboratory results confirm a positive result, you can face a criminal offence. 

Other instances where an alcohol or drug test is required are sporting events and workplaces. In particular, testing in sports is essential to find out if an athlete uses performance-enhancing drugs. In addition, it prevents cheating in competitions and discovers athletes with substance abuse problems. Likewise, some workplaces have policies that prohibit alcohol and drug use. For example, an alcohol and drug test is critical to maintain safety and reduce workplace hazards. Can alcohol affect drug test in the workplace? A blood or urine test usually screens for specific types of drugs. However, the employer may request to include alcohol in the tests. Therefore, it is best to refrain from consuming alcohol to avoid a positive result. 

Alcohol Breath Test

Can alcohol affect drug test or do drugs affect breath tests? The most efficient way to check alcohol content is through a breath test. The BACtrack breathalysers use fuel cell sensors to measure the BAC accurately. In addition, operating a breathalyser is quick and easy, even without the aid of a licensed professional. The BACtrack breathalysers have a one-touch operation making the breath test convenient. In particular, the fuel cell sensors is specific to ethanol and do not react with other substances in the breath. Therefore, acetone or other substances is unlikely to produce a false-positive result. In line with this, Breathalysers Australia has a wide range of BACtrack breathalysers ideal for personal or professional use. The BACtrack breathalysers undergo rigorous testing methods to ensure accuracy and reliability with each breath test.