General Question

ouwa's avatar

How long can ethanol be detected?

Asked by ouwa (19points) September 20th, 2010

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say that my thin friend is getting tested for ethanol (alcohol), among other drugs, in a standard urine test. The urine is sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Generally speaking, how long can alcohol be detected in urine? (I know that the answer varies, but I am trying to get a realistic idea)

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6 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

6–24 hours.

faye's avatar

Wouldn’t it depend how much was drunk? If it takes 1–11/2 hours for 1 oz to be metabolized, you can figure it out.

cazzie's avatar

It REALLY depends on the units of alcohol drunk in how long a time period. No way of knowing with the data you’ve given.

ouwa's avatar

well let’s say 6 drinks consumed in a 2 hr period

cazzie's avatar

6 drinks might take a minimum of 6 hours…. the basic rule of thumb is 1 drink=1 hour….

ItsAHabit's avatar

After alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream it leaves the body in two ways. A total of about ten percent leaves through the breath, perspiration, and urine. The remainder is broken down through the process known as metabolism.

The rate at which alcohol is metabolized is the same for virtually everyone regardless of their height, weight, sex, race or other such characteristics.

Alcohol is metabolized at the rate of .015 of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) every hour. Thus a person with a very high BAC of .15 will have no measurable alcohol in the bloodstream after ten hours (.15 divided by .015 = 10). Here are some other examples:

BAC Level Metabolism Time in Hours
.10 6.66
.08 5.33
.05 3.33
.02 1.33

It’s important to remember that BAC can continue to rise for a period of time after the last drink is consumed. For useful information about the biphasic curve and our reactions to alcohol How Alcohol Affects Us: the Biphasic Curve.

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