Alcohol Confirmatory Test: Why Is It Necessary?
07 November, 2023
Alcohol consumption is a common social activity. However, serious consequences can arise if not done responsibly. Thus, knowing individual limits is important when it comes to drinking alcohol. If a person ends up needing to undergo alcohol testing, the result may come back positive. Alcohol confirmatory testing is necessary to confirm this initial finding. Moreover, it provides accurate results to determine the amount of alcohol in the body. Professionals often utilise it in court cases.
Drink driving, impaired judgment, health risks, and job loss are some of the dangers that come with excessive alcohol intake. That is why many organisations and law enforcement agencies require individuals to go through an alcohol test in certain situations. Understanding the importance of testing can enhance safety and prevent potential harm. In this article, people can explore what an alcohol confirmation test is, the use of blood analysis, and what to expect after receiving the result.
What is an Alcohol Confirmatory Test
When an initial alcohol test result comes back positive, an alcohol confirmatory test is necessary to verify its presence in the body. Additionally, it measures the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC). The test is crucial in cases involving alcohol use disorders. It helps accurately identify the type of alcohol, such as primary, secondary, or tertiary alcohol.
The testing is done using laboratory procedures. Collectors take samples like urine or breath specimens. Then, they analyse them for alcohol or its metabolites. One common method is the ceric ammonium nitrate test. It produces yellow precipitates or coloured precipitates when alcohol is present. The test requires the use of specific chemicals and equipment. This includes anhydrous calcium sulphate, glass rods, and dry test tubes to ensure reliable results.
Confirmatory testing involves various criteria to determine alcohol use thoroughly. Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) is another type. This is a highly sensitive test that can measure concentrations as low as 0.1 g/100mL. Confirmation testing provides dependable results to use in a court of law. Hence, it is important in medical and legal settings.
Common Qualitative Tests to Detect Alcohol
- Ester – This test involves mixing the sample with excess water, acetic acid, and a few drops of sulfuric acid. A fruity smell indicates the presence of primary or secondary alcohol.
- Sodium Metal – A small amount of sodium metal is added to the specimen. If it turns cloudy or effervesces, there is alcohol.
- Iodoform – Professionals add a few drops of iodine solution and sodium hydroxide to the sample. A yellow precipitate confirms tertiary alcohol presence.
- Bromine – The sample is mixed with a few drops of bromine in an organic solvent like chloroform. If there is alcohol, the orange colour of the solution will disappear.
Using Blood Analysis as an Alcohol Confirmatory Test
Utilising blood analysis as an alcohol confirmatory test is a reliable method. It accurately determines the presence of alcohol in the body. Also, it measures BAC to evaluate alcohol use disorders, determine intoxication levels, and provide evidence in legal cases. A confirmation test involves laboratory analysis to meet the criteria for alcohol use and establish the grams of alcohol in the bloodstream. This helps distinguish between chronic alcohol consumption and incidental exposure.
Laboratory testing for alcohol can involve the collection of a blood sample via venipuncture. The sample is then subjected to various confirmatory tests to determine ethanol presence. Ethanol is a type of alcohol that is found in alcoholic beverages and is also produced naturally by the body. Its presence indicates the subject has consumed alcohol.
One method labs or professionals commonly use is the carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) test. It measures the levels of a specific biomarker in the blood indicating excessive alcohol use. Highly specialized laboratory testing services employ complex compounds and organic chemical reactions to accurately confirm if there is alcohol in the body.
Accuracy of Blood Test
The reliability of blood testing for alcohol detection is crucial. It can determine BAC and confirm alcohol use disorders. These tests are highly trustworthy. By directly measuring the concentration of alcohol in the blood sample, these tests provide accurate and objective results. They are particularly valuable in legal proceedings, workplace testing, and medical evaluations.
Blood tests measure the grams of alcohol per deciliter of blood. They can differentiate between primary alcohols, such as ethanol, and secondary or tertiary alcohols, which are less commonly associated with alcohol consumption. This specific identification ensures that it accurately assesses the effects resulting from chronic alcohol consumption.
What to Expect After an Alcohol Confirmatory Test is Positive
After conducting an alcohol confirmatory test, one can expect a further evaluation if they acquire a non-negative result. This is to gather more evidence and to make a definitive diagnosis. Professionals perform various chemical reactions and complex compound analyses to ensure accurate results. The confirmatory tests provide detailed information, aiding in additional investigations. Once they confirm the use of alcohol, they can use it in court cases and create a timeline of events.
After receiving a positive alcohol confirmation test, individuals may be advised to seek professional help for alcohol-related problems. It is important to remember that a non-negative test result does not necessarily indicate illicit use. To better understand the alcohol consumption patterns, providers may recommend further collection procedures and additional tests.
The confirmation tests enable medical practitioners to evaluate the patients. Moreover, they can guide individuals towards appropriate treatment options to address their alcohol-related concerns. Some examples of the recovery strategies they suggest are counselling, cognitive-behavioural therapy, pharmacological treatments, and residential treatment.
Legal Implications of Non-Negative Result
A positive result can have significant legal implications. If a person has alcohol that is beyond the legal limit, it can lead to various consequences. There can be charges and potential penalties. Moreover, it can impact professional reputations and result in disciplinary actions in certain industries, like transportation, healthcare, and law enforcement.
In many jurisdictions, driving under the influence (DUI) is a serious offence. A non-negative result can serve as key evidence in a case. Legal implications may include fines, suspension of license, mandatory treatment programs, and imprisonment in severe cases. Individuals must understand these implications to avoid inconveniences.
An alcohol confirmatory test is a laboratory analysis. It verifies the presence of alcohol in a sample. The test typically follows an initial screening, such as a breathalyser test. This type of test utilises various methods, such as GCMS, to detect and measure the exact alcohol amount. It is typically used in medical and legal settings, such as to determine whether a driver has been drinking or not. Following proper collection procedures and using the necessary equipment ensures reliable results.
The confirmation tests help diagnose alcohol use disorders, ensure accurate testing, meet specific criteria for alcohol use, and promote public safety. Moreover, authorities can use it as evidence in court. Individuals need to be aware of the potential consequences. In addition, they should seek appropriate legal guidance when they face such a situation. Otherwise, they may have to deal with various repercussions, such as paying hefty fines and losing their licences.