How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System for Drug Test

Alcohol is a type of sedative and it usually does not stay long in the body. However, if you want to know how Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System for Drug Test then you need to know that the moment alcohol enters into the blood stream, it starts to dissolve in the body.

The alcohol metabolizes into the system at the rate of 20 milligrams per deciliter in an hour. This means that if you have 40 mg/dl of alcohol in your body then it would need 2 hours to metabolize alcohol.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System

Body starts metabolizing the alcohol at constant rate however some people might feel the alcohol effect for longer time. This would be because blood alcohol concentration varies with people as well as with situations.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System for Drug Test

Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is the amount of alcohol in the blood as compared to the amount of water in the blood. For example, if you have alcohol level of 20 mg/dl then it will mean that body will metabolize it in an hour. However, the BAC depends on the following factors

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Having Alcohol on an Empty Stomach
  • Medications
  • Liver Disease
  • Drinking too much in short period of time

To know how long does alcohol stay in your system you need to know how much alcohol have you drunk. This can determine how long it will take to metabolize the alcohol. For example, there are some beers that have high alcohol content, this affect how much alcohol you are consuming in one drink.

There are general estimations that can tell you how long does alcohol stay in your system. Although the results can vary but here are the rough estimations [1].

Type of Alcoholic Drinks Average Time for metabolism
Small Short 1 Hour
Pint of beer 2 Hours
Glass of Wine 3 Hours
Few Drinks Several Hours

There are certain steps that can help you to reduce the effect of alcohol intake. Here are few of them

  • Food may help to Absorb the Alcohol
  • Water might also help to reduce the BAC, it will take almost one hour to metabolize 20 mg/dl of alcohol.
  • You can also avoid caffeine and it is just a myth that coffee, energy drinks or other beverages removes intoxication quickly.

How Alcohol Metabolize in the Body

When you have the alcohol, it enters into the digestive system and alcohol does not digest just like food and other drinks. 20 percent of the alcohol from the drink can move directly to the blood vessels. From the blood vessels it is carried to the brain.

The 80 percent might go to the small intestine. Then it will go to the blood stream. Finally the alcohol is removed through the body by the liver. If you have any issue with the liver then it might be difficult for it to pressure and it will slow down the removing of the alcohol.

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How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System Breathalyzer as Well as Urine Test

Urine tests can even be able to detect the alcohol long after you had the drink. The test is there to look for the traces of alcohol. The average urine test can detect the alcohol 12 and 48 hours after drinking. In advanced testing techniques, the test will be able to detect the alcohol even after 80 hours.

Breath test for alcohol can also detect the alcohol but it is just for shorter period of time. The breath tests can know about the alcohol in 24 hours on average. The breathalyzer is a small machine that measures the BAC.

Any number above 0.02 is considered unsafe for driving or doing other tasks. Alcohol can stay in the hair for 90 days and it is also temporarily detected in the saliva, sweat and blood.

Test How Long Alcohol Can be detectable
Urine 12 to 48 hours
Breath 24 hours
Hair 90 Days

Breastfeeding and Alcohol

If you are breastfeeding then you need to know that no amount of alcohol is safe to drink if you are breastfeeding. There is also a misconception that you can have little amount of alcohol and you can breastfeed when the effect of the alcohol is over.

Babies whose mothers were using alcohol might be at the risk of decreased motor skills and other development delays as well as other issues. Alcohol takes a few hours to clear breast milk on average but the process varies in the same way as it does for the women who are not breastfeeding.

If you are not controlling your drinking while you are breastfeeding then you need to consider the following ways.

  • Breastfeed before you drink
  • Pump extra milk before the time so that you can feed your baby with milk free from alcohol
  • You can wait 2 to 3 hours after you have a short of alcohol.

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol Poisoning is an emergency condition and it occurs when large amount of alcohol is consumed by the body and your body is unable to break it down quickly. When you drink too much alcohol you would have alcohol poisoning.

There are many symptoms of alcohol poisoning some of them are

  • Vomiting
  • Reduced Blood Temperate
  • Slower breathing
  • Passing Out

There are times when the person having alcohol poisoning passes out before even realizing what has happened. If you think that you are having alcohol poisoning or you think that your friend or someone is going to suffer from it then you can call the local emergency service immediately.

To prevent choking or vomiting, you should never leave the friend who is suffering from alcohol poisoning. The quicker you have the help the more chance to have to minimize the fetal complication such as

  • Brain damage
  • Seizure
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Asphyxiation
  • Extremely Low Blood Pressure
  • Vomiting


The amount of time that alcohol takes to stay in your system depends on the various factors. You need to keep in mind the safety of the drink that you can have in the drink. You need to be sure that you do not cross the safe alcohol limit.

You also need to know that whether or not you are drinking from home or away from the home, you should never drive while having the alcohol even if you think you have tiny amount of it.

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