Thank you for allowing me an opportunity to answer your interesting
question. We have to be careful here since our Terms of Service
prohibit researchers from providing information that might enable
illegal activity (i.e., tampering with evidence or obstruction).
However, being in law enforcement myself for more than 20 years, and
having personally tested hundreds of people, I have a great deal of
insight into this issue so I'll try to be as politically correct and
still remain within the policy guidelines as I can here.
First, let?s discuss how long alcohol stays in the system to the
extent that it is detectable by a urine screen:
In the average person healthy male alcohol can be detected in the
urine anywhere from 1 to 12 hours after the last drink is consumed. A
person's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) normally decreases at a
rate of about 15 to 20 mg/dL per hour, or, in other words, it tends to
decrease at a rate of about one drink per hour. As a rule then, five
drinks takes about five hours to eliminate ? depending of course on
how much alcohol was in each drink and how rapidly the drinks were
consumed in succession (among other factors). Now this may seem like a
fairly wide estimate but there are too many factors involved in each
individual, each drink consumed, etc. to pin it down much closer.
Knowing what I know from two decades of enforcing the law however (and
I?m sure you will agree), I can tell you that people who drink
recreationally don?t normally drink for one hour. So, generally
speaking, it is safe to say that alcohol staying the system for about
12 hours following the last drink unless the person is on a chronic
alcoholic or on some kind of binge, in which case it may even be
longer. I must assume though, for the sake of your question, you are
talking about a regular guy with normal discretion and no alcohol
problems, who chooses to have a reasonable number of social drinks on
Now, about the ?individual?:
A number of factors determine the rate of decrease in an individual.
These (among others) include sex, body weight, physical condition and
the amount and kind of foods consumed in recent proximity to the
ingestion of alcohol. Unlike most foods and beverages, alcohol does
not need to be digested. It is absorbed directly into the bloodstream
basically in the manner in which is consumed. Because of this, the
body absorbes the alcohol much faster than it feels the need to
eliminate it so even at a rate of one drink per hour alcohol will
accumulate in the system to some degree. As a standard example, one
12-ounce can of beer, one mixed drink containing one shot of liquor
and one 5-ounce glass of wine all contain the roughly the same amount
of alcohol. Drinking at a rate of two drinks per hour increases the
alcohol retention rate by 1/2, three drinks by 2/3, four drinks by 3/4
and so forth. This will vary depending on body weight since heavier
people tend to have more blood and body fluids so their resulting
blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will be lower. Another way to look
at this is to pour equal amounts of whisky into a 3-ounce glass of
water and into a 6-ounce glass of water. The concentration of alcohol
found in one teaspoon of the alcohol tainted water from the three
ounce glass would be much greater than the concentration of alcohol in
one teaspoon of the alcohol tainted water taken from the six ounce
glass because the six ounce glass had more water in it to begin with.
So it is with heavier people. With this in mind, a healthy young man
who has 4 beers in a two hour period of time, can expect the alcohol
to be out of his system in 2-6 hours after consuming the last drink,
depending on his metabolism, diet and activity.
Here is a reasonably accurate chart depicting theoretical BAC?s of average people:
ALCOHOL IMPAIRMENT CHART
This article (excerpted from ?BREATH ALCOHOL TESTING BASICS?) will
probably also be of interest to you:
?Alcohol is eliminated by the body in three ways: metabolism,
excretion and evaporation. The rate at which these three occur varies
from person to person. Roughly 80% of alcohol is eliminated through
metabolism in which the liver breaks down the complex alcohol to its
basic components of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. These are then
eliminated by the body. Despite the popular belief that coffee will
"sober up" someone, it does not. Only time will remove alcohol from
the human body. A good rule of thumb is to allow one hour for each
drink?characterized as one 12-ounce beer, one glass of wine or one
"shot" of hard liquor?consumed.?
BREATH ALCOHOL TESTING BASICS
(Don?t let the name of this article fool you. There are some great
facts here about the absorption and dissipation rate of alcohol from
the body nevertheless)
Ok, let?s clear up some myths here:
There are literally thousands of mythological remedies out there that
claim to defeat or mask urinalysis tests but suffice it to say that
most ?under the counter? solutions to defeat an alcohol urine screen
merely contain compounds that serve as diuretics (they make you
urinate more). This method HELPS, to some degree, eliminate the
alcohol from your body faster, but does not mask it in any way. Beyond
this, there are no legal solutions to defeat a urine screen and
placing a substance in the sample is indeed illegal in most states,
and will immediately void the test sample in all states.
?Does Goldenseal work for alcohol??
No, not directly. Goldenseal (and the like) can get you busted! While
it is a natural diuretic, it is no more effective than other more
readily available (and cheaper) solutions. In addition, goldenseal has
no direct effect whatsoever on the alcohol itself in terms of reducing
concentration. To top it off some urine screens now test for traces of
goldenseal in the urine samples they collect because, even though it
is not effective for alcohol, it is one of the most widely practiced
methods of ?trying? to defeat a test because people have been led to
believe that it does work in this way. (A word of warning - Diuretics
can be harmful to people with kidney problems, pregnant women, and
?Can alcohol be detected in a ?hair follicle test??
?I heard that you can drink vinegar and defeat a urine test. Is that true??
No, but it ?will? make you puke and reek of vinegar. If you walk into
a test site smelling like pickles I doubt they?ll say anything about
it but they will probably have a private laugh at your expense knowing
that you most likely puked your guts out to avoid the inevitable.
?Does puking help??
Good question. The answer is YES and NO.
(keep in mind here that causing yourself to vomit can harm you, cause
you to choke, cause you to dehydrate and lost of other bad stuff)
Regurgitating alcohol in YOUR STOMACH will keep you from absorbing all
of it. So, if you have a belly full and you don?t want it onboard, you
can (bearing in mind that this is neither healthy nor safe) throw it
up. This will reduce the amount of UNABSORBED alcohol your body
retains. ?If? however, you are going to be taking a breath test too,
flooding the mouth will alcohol-laden vomit in close proximity to a
Breathalyzer test will cause the device to indicate a higher reading
than it otherwise would record. Bottom line: if it isn?t in you, you
won?t absorb it. The best, healthiest, and most foolproof method of
insuring this is of course to refrain from drinking it in the first
And now for the facts:
?What?s the deal with coffee??
Ever wonder why people who drink too much are often given coffee?
Sure, coffee has caffeine and tends to make a person a bit more alert,
but an alert drunk is still drunk. Coffee is a diuretic and prompts
your body to eliminate water at a more rapid rate. As we discussed
above, the only way to eliminate alcohol is to void it, metabolize it
or evaporate it. By drinking a diuretic such as coffee, the alcohol
concentration level is diluted and also eliminated thereby reducing
the body?s overall blood alcohol concentration. Other good
non-pharmaceutical diuretics are grapes, cranberry juice, iced tea,
herbal tea, and Pepsi.
?When is the best time to submit to a urine test??
The best time to take a test, assuming you drink regularly, is
following at least 24 hours of abstinence. If a period of abstinence
is not possible, wait as long as you can before submitting your
sample. If its 8AM for example and you have until 7PM to do it, wait
until 6:30PM or as long as you can. NEVER give the first urination of
the day as a sample. Alcohol in your system has had all night to
accumulate there and you should drink plenty of water and urinate
several times before taking the test.
?What proven method will help me remove alcohol from my system??
Abstinence. Don?t drink, or at the very least, abstain from drinking a
day or two before a urine test.
Hyper saturating your body with fluids like water, and diuretics like
coffee and cranberry juice can speed up the process.
Exercise and deep breathing: Sweat it out in a gym, hot tub, or sauna.
You should use caution not to dehydrate yourself so drink large
amounts of water while doing it. Alcohol is also eliminated through
evaporation in the breath. Exercise can promote deep breathing and
aid, to some degree, in the removal of retained alcohol.
Eat. One or two big, high fiber meals several hours before a test can
prompt your body to void thereby releasing some amounts of alcohol
retained in your system.
Having been in my line of work for a lifetime I can accurately say
that I have seen and heard just about everything when it comes to
alcohol use. Rest assured that if there were a foolproof ?under the
counter? method of defeating one of these tests, the jail (and the
employment line) would be less occupied than they are and my job would
be a lot more boring that it currently is.
Below you will find that I have carefully defined my search strategy
for you in the event that you need to search for more information. By
following the same type of searches that I did you may be able to
enhance the research I have provided even further. I hope you find
that that my research exceeds your expectations. If you have any
questions about my research please post a clarification request prior
to rating the answer. Otherwise, I welcome your rating and your final
comments and I look forward to working with you again in the near
future. Thank you for bringing your question to us.
Tutuzdad ? Google Answers Researcher
OHS HEALTH AND SAFETY SERVICES, INCORPORATED
BENDINER & SCHLESINGER, INC.
BEING IN SHAPE TO RIDE
FACTS ABOUT ALCOHOL - ADDICTION RESEARCH FOUNDATION
ALCOHOL IMPAIRMENT CHART
BREATH ALCOHOL TESTING BASICS
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ALCOHOL "DETECTED UP TO"
ALCOHOL "RETENTION TIME?
ALCOHOL URINE TEST
DEFEAT ALCOHOL TEST