The simple answer is yes if a particular drug testing panel contains alcohol as a marker. If that is the case then it is possible you may fail a drug test for alcohol. At times, employers and individual’s think of drugs and alcohol as one in the same. In fact, both substances could cause impairment of a person’s mental, physical abilities, cause long-term health issues, and can foster unsafe situations. For this reason, and due to the abuse of alcohol and its long-term impact on public safety, society, addiction and health problems, it is common for employers to establish a drug-free workplace testing program that includes both drug and alcohol testing.

Concerns regarding substance abuse and addiction is sweeping the nation and various companies may choose to implement alcohol testing as a deterrent to promote safe and healthy working environments. For this reason, one common question many employers and employees have regarding workplace alcohol and drug tests is, “Does alcohol show up in a drug test?” Let’s find out…

Does Alcohol Show Up in a Drug Test?

As we continue to explore if alcohol will show up in a drug test, it is important to note that a standard urine or hair drug test does not test for alcohol. However, alcohol can be included in a urine or hair drug test if it specifically requested. Therefore if you’re interested in testing employees or individuals for both drugs and alcohol, simply consult with your drug testing provider to determine what type of program best meets your needs.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends testing at the very minimum of the 5 most commonly abused drugs: (amphetamines, THC, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine (PCP) as well as alcohol. As stated previously, a standard drug test does not evaluate the presence of alcohol in a person’s system, but many companies elect to include alcohol in their written drugfree workplace policy. The most common form of workplace alcohol testing is a breath alcohol test. However, urine, saliva or hair alcohol testing options are available as well. Additionally, with the current climate of the opioid epidemic, many companies are requesting their drug test panels to include additional drugs beyond the standard five mentioned above (e.g., adding synthetic opioids and ecstasy).

Which Alcohol Test Is Right For Me?

If you plan to test employees or individuals for alcohol, it is important to understand the different testing methods available and the amount of time that alcohol is detectable in the human body.

In a hair drug test, alcohol is present for up to 90 days. In blood or oral fluid, it is present for 12-24 hours and finally, in urine alcohol can be present for 6-80 hours (depending on the method used for testing).

The two most common ways an employer can test for the presence of alcohol are through breath and saliva tests:

Breath: This method is the most common method for alcohol testing. Breathalyzer is the brand name of the original device and is the one of testing methods that provides a real time result and will measure impairment.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has established strict requirements for the devices used to perform breath alcohol tests. All devices used for DOT alcohol testing must be on the Conforming Products List (CPL)of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We recommend that employers or individuals only utilize devices that meet these high standards.

Saliva: This detection method detects the presence of ethanol, a byproduct of beer, wine, and spirits. Although slightly more expensive than urine tests, saliva tests are easy to perform and can also detect alcohol ingested within the past day or two.

Finally, blood, hair and urine tests are most often used in forensic, legal and civil testing but infrequently in the workplace.

For more information call (800)828-7086 or schedule your test online