Alcoholism Drug Testing

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited :FEBRUARY  29, 
2021 
| 3 Sources


Alcoholism drug testing is becoming more prevalent both at the workplace, in individual homes, and in some higher learning institutions. There are several types of alcohol testing kits available on the market now.

The alcohol test kits range from ones that utilize saliva or urine to screen for toxins to the more traditional breath analyzer or a blood test. Generally all these methods are considered simple, fairly accurate (95-98% percent accuracy), and offer easily read results.

These self-tests are commonly used for either on-the-spot workforce alcohol tests, random workplace testing, prehiring screening, or even in an attempt to stop someone from drinking while driving.

The most common type of test is the urine test. This form of testing is estimated to be between 70 and 90% accurate and can detect alcohol levels as low as 0.02 for men and 0.05 for women (national institute of health).

It's extremely important to remember that these numbers may vary depending on a wide array of factors such as;

  • sex, 
  • age,
  •  body weight, 
  • amount of daily fluid intake (this includes water), 
  • time since your last drink (generally 8 hours before urinating will not contain any traces of alcohol), and your 
  • specific metabolism.

Most people do not consider this type of test very invasive since it only requires you to provide a urine sample; however, many individuals are unaware that there are products currently on the market which can help mask or hide any toxin levels in your body.

Alcoholism Drug Testing at Home

Having an alcohol testing kit in the privacy of the home offers many advantages, particularly to parents trying to curb underage drinking. By using the kit, a parent can either substantiate their concerns about hidden drinking, or discover that their worries were unfounded.

However, buyers should be aware that alcoholism testing kits used at home may not work consistently, and not all kits are created equal.

Because parents may not know which testing kits are best, or how to collect samples properly, it’s possible to get a “false positive.” With this in mind, it’s worth considering having a professional perform an alcohol test in a controlled setting.

Additionally pressuring a child into home testing can cause serious family tension if not handled with great sensitivity. The websites asserting that random alcohol testing help prevent alcoholism seem to have no studies on which to base that claim.

Nonetheless, if you choose to get a testing kit, make sure that the product has:

  • Good consumer feedback (check the BBB or online review sites),
  • Clear, step-by-step instructions,
  • A telephone number for help/questions that may come up during testing, and
  • FDA approval.

Saliva or breathalyzer testing are probably the best suited to home use, being less intrusive than blood tests or urine tests.

Workplace Screening

Alcoholism drug testing kits are one of the tools employers use to try and deter on-the-job drinking. Particularly in companies utilizing heavy equipment alcohol testing helps keep the job site safe, and co-workers out of the line of danger from an impaired operator.

Many companies now perform surprise alcoholism drug screens, and include this requirement in their policy and procedure manual. Employers know that on-the-job drinking leads to:

  • accidents,
  •  poor output, 
  • increased insurance claims and 
  • increased absenteeism. 

By including this information as policy, workers can then give informed consent to undergo the alcohol test whenever the company dictates.

It’s important to remember that the government and various regulatory agencies often have directives for alcohol testing as a mandated, standard practice. One example is that many school boards require on-going testing for school bus drivers. Similarly, anyone working for the department of transportation must be tested regularly.

Most companies consider the saliva test to be the most time and cost effective of the two options. Breathalyzers require 20 minutes and a second testing if the first proves positive. Saliva testing takes only 2 minutes.

drug testingPhoto by Annie Spratt

School Testing

Some learning institutions have begun screening new students for alcoholism. The University of California at Santa Barbara required that 2007 freshmen take an alcohol test and health assessment by a certain date.

This was a requirement to continue with their studies. Cornell University took a different approach, requiring all incoming students to take an online course in the dangers of drinking.

The goal is to make the university a safer place by teaching students about making smart drinking decisions.

Drunk Driving

The new trend in alcoholism drug testing is the breathalyzer type. Police departments across the country are making it standard practice to perform DUI screening on anyone they suspect of driving under the influence.

If you already have a device at home, this is convenient for everyone involved. It can save time and money by allowing police to instantly test drivers for evidence of alcohol consumption, and helps deter drunk driving crimes.

Because saliva and breathalyzer tests take only minutes to complete and very little equipment (the breathalyzers cost about $50), many police departments find that this is their most effective tool in reducing DUI incidents.

Conclusion:

Alcohol testing is a very important part of substance abuse treatment, and better yet the prevention thereof. With so many options to choose from it can be tough to figure out which type of alcohol test best suits your needs.

And if you're looking for help finding an addiction treatment center that offers alcohol testing as well as other tools for recovery, there are many dedicated treatment providers available to help you. Reach out to them today.

Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LPC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More


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