Drug tests: they’re a standard procedure, typically administered when someone is getting a job or has another commitment that requires them to be drug free. While we all know what they are, we don’t all know the specifics.
One of the most commonly-asked questions about drug tests is whether you can drink alcohol the night before taking one. Long answer short — it depends.
Below, we’ll break down the different kinds of drug tests, discuss how long it takes for alcohol to leave your system, and help you prepare for the day.
Types of Drug Tests
There are at least 6 different ways to test for drugs and alcohol in the system. Some types of tests are designed to detect alcohol, some detect drugs, and a majority can pick up on both.
- Blood Tests – extract a portion of your blood (both alcohol & drug testing)
- Mouth Swab – get a sample of saliva (both alcohol & drug testing)
- Hair Tests – take out a strand of hair,detect use from up to 1-2 years ago (drug testing)
- Urine Test – most commonly used test, examines urine (both alcohol & drug testing)
- Breath Test – known as a breathalizer, tests alcohol content on breath (alcohol testing)
- Sweat Test – captures sweat to examine any drug particles (drug testing)
Why You May Need to Take A Drug Test
Drug tests might sometimes get a bad reputation, but they’re extremely common. Here are some reasons people might need to take a drug test:
- To get a new job
- To fulfill a random protocol at work
- Because of a work-related injury
- Suspicion of being under the influence at work
- Court-mandated testing
- Type of career — athletes and government workers get tested regularly
When Alcohol Will Show Up On A Test?
Since drug tests are such a common practice, someone who doesn’t have any history of drug use may have to take one before starting a new career. So a perfectly valid question that frequently comes up is: can I drink the night before a test?
Alcohol is perfectly legal, and it’s completely normal to want a drink or two one night when you have a drug test the next day. But how do you know if the alcohol will show up as a type of drug in your system?
Here’s how long alcohol takes to leave your body compared to drugs commonly identified and examined on tests:
- Alcohol – 12-48 hours
- Cocaine – 2-3 days
- Marujuana – 1-3 weeks
How to Pass A Drug Test
Since alcohol can stay in your body anywhere from several hours to a few days, the best way to guarantee you’ll pass a drug test is to not use alcohol for about 2 or 3 days before taking a test. Especially if the type of test your taking looks for intake of both drugs and alcohol, it’s better to stay safe than sorry.
A few other ways to increase your chances of passing a drug test is to drink a lot of water, but not too much to the point where urine might be diluted for a urine-based test. Try to urinate a few times throughout the day before taking a urine test. Also, don’t use alcohol-based mouthwash if taking a test that detects alcohol use. It can be mistaken for alcoholic drink consumption.
Preparing For Your Test
Most people are told they’re getting drug tested before the event occurs, unless they work somewhere that explicitly administers random drug tests. If you know about a drug test in advance, you are perfectly able to ask the person who is giving you the test whether or not it will test for alcohol. The substance is legal, so there should be no harm in checking beforehand.
Drinking the Night Before A Drug Test: Yes or No?
As we said when we gave our short answer, it depends. Depending on the reason for your test & its type, you may or may not be cleared to drink alcohol the night before taking it. If you consume alcohol closely enough to the time you take a drug test, it could show up as an illegal substance and land you in trouble. If deciding to drink the night before a drug test, please drink responsibly.
To learn more about drug testing, contact our team of professionals by calling 866-488-8684.