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What does it mean to Drug Tests Test for Alcohol

Alcohol is a widely consumed beverage globally by people of different ages and status. In addition, it is a psychoactive substance that impairs the senses and motor functions at high doses. When alcohol enters the system, the body does not digest it like food. It passes quickly from the stomach to the small intestines and the bloodstream. Then, the blood distributes alcohol to different body parts such as the heart, lungs, and brain. Depending on the alcohol concentration, it has impairing effects such as decreased vision and hearing, slurred speech, and reduced coordination. It also slows down the reaction time, and causes poor balance, temporary memory loss and confusion. Since alcohol is a depressant, is there a drug tests test for alcohol?

The blood alcohol content (BAC) is the alcohol concentration in the body or blood. It directly indicates the level of intoxication or impairment. For example, the more you consume, the higher your BAC is. Although alcohol consumption is widely acceptable, excessive amount puts you at risks, especially in health and safety. There are various methods to detect alcohol use. Detection of impairment or intoxication can be done through a drug tests test for alcohol. You can screen alcohol through the blood, sweat, saliva, urine or breath. However, the most practical way in determining the BAC level is through a breathalyser. A breathalyser is portable alcohol tester that estimates the BAC through the sample breath. Breathalysers Australia provides reliable alcohol breath tests through the BACtrack breathalysers. 

Drug Tests Test for Alcohol: Types of Tests

The body absorbs alcohol rapidly but can only metabolise a certain amount every hour. In addition, many factors affect the BAC such as weight, age, gender, body type, food intake, medication, and metabolism rate. These individual factors impacts the increase of the alcohol level. On average, it takes one hour to metabolise one standard drink. The body burns off alcohol at a constant rate of 0.016 BAC per hour. As a result, alcohol stays in the body for 12 hours or longer depending on the amount consumed. A drug tests test for alcohol can effectively detect substance use. For instance, a urine analysis can detect Ethyl Glucuronide (EtG), a metabolite found in alcoholic beverages. It shows ingestion within 3 to 4 days of consumption. Different test types can identify alcohol for certain durations:

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

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When to Conduct Drug Tests Test for Alcohol

The high cases of alcohol-related injuries has encourage many employers to integrate drug and alcohol policy into their safety program. In addition, employers must ensure that all measures are applied to minimise safety risks in the worksite. A comprehensive policy outlines the conditions or provisions of conducting drug tests test for alcohol and illicit substances. The employer may require drug and alcohol testing services as a proactive approach managing workplace hazards. Workplace testing includes on-site testing, pre-employment, post-incident, and reasonable suspicion test.

An on-site drug tests test for alcohol can be random or mandatory for all employees. It identifies alcohol intake within the last 12 to 24 hours. A pre-employment tests is to determine the alcohol behaviour of a job applicant. It is essential to choose the right people for the job, especially if it will directly impact the well-being of the entire organisation. Next, a post-incident test is crucial in identifying if drugs or alcohol contributed to the workplace accident. Finally, a reasonable suspicion test is done if the employee shows symptoms of impairment.  Alternatively, you can also determine the BAC level through alcohol breath tests. Testing facilities use breathlaysers to screen the breath for alcohol presence. Breathalysers Australia has pro-grade BACtrack breathalysers suitable for high-volume testing applications. The BACtrack breathalysers use fuel cell sensors to measure the BAC accurately.

The Importance of Drug Tests Test for Alcohol

Alcohol intoxication leads to reduced ability to function properly. In high-risk industries, sobriety is vital to maintain a safe and healthy working environment. Industries like mining, construction, transportation, and manufacturing rely on safe practices to minimise hazards. For instance, when a worker is impaired, the security of the whole place is compromised. A minimal alcohol concentration pose maximum safety risks. Therefore, workplaces implement an alcohol and drug policy to manage occupational hazards effectively. A workplace drug tests includes screening for commonly used illegal substances like cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, and  hallucinogens. Testing centres or laboratories collects specimen samples for examination. Drug tests test for alcohol (ethanol) through the blood or urine can identify substance use history.

Substance-related accidents cost the economy billions of dollars every year in high hospitalisation expenses and losses. Alcohol intoxication can result in low output, increased absenteeism, high turnover rate, and risky behaviours. Drug tests test for alcohol can monitor the employees’ alcohol level to ensure that the working environment is safe and healthy at all times. Additionally, consistent workplace testing promotes healthier practices and deter alcohol or substance use. It can significantly improve overall performance by minimising risks and legal liabilities. As a result, there are fewer accidents or injuries, lower healthcare and compensation costs, reduced absenteeism, and  lesser downtime.

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Workplace Drug and Alcohol Policy

Once the employer decides that a workplace policy is essential, implementing it needs thorough planning and consideration. Setting the program requires clear communication, collaboration, and consent between the management and employees. A workplace testing policy in Australia helps carry out drug tests test for alcohol and other substances. The policy should outline the following criteria:

  • Purpose & Objectives – Gives an overview of the program and state the goals and functions of workplace alcohol and drug tests
  • What types of test used – the policy outlines the procedures for the test such as urine, blood, saliva, or breath test. 
  • Kinds of substances being tested for – the policy should clearly list the substances included in the tests
  • Implementation – the policy states the frequency or conditions of the tests. For example, it can include random, mandatory, pre-employment, or post-incident, or post-treatment tests. It also states the
  • Provisions for Disciplinary Actions – the policy outlines what will happen if an employee returns with a positive test or is unfit for duty. Employers should include the circumstances that can lead to employee dismissal under reasonable grounds. 
  • Provisions for Employee Assistance – workplace tests can identify employees with substance abuse. Through Employee Assistance Program (EAP), they can refer the affected employee for treatment or rehabilitation.

Breathalysers Australia: BACtrack Breathalysers

A drug tests test for alcohol may not always be accessible. You can monitor the alcohol level through workplace breathalysers. The BACtrack testers at Breathalysers Australia have professional-grade accuracy, same technology used in hospitals, clinics, or roadside screenings. You can check the wide array of BACtrack including keychain alcohol testers, smartphone breathalysers, and the award-winning Pro series like the BACtrack S80 Pro or Mobile Pro.