Does Alcohol Show Up in A Drug Test

Does Alcohol Show Up in a Drug Test?

Alcohol is not illegal so many people enjoy a drink every so often. People who fit into this category may worry about the repercussions of the alcohol showing up on their drug tests. Is this a myth? Does alcohol cause someone to test positive on a drug test? Ultimately, it depends on certain circumstances including the employer, the drug test, and the job you’re trying to get.

Within this guide, you’ll learn more about alcohol showing up on drug tests.

Does Alcohol Show Up in A Drug Test?

Does Alcohol Show Up in A Drug Test

You’re likely worried that alcohol is going to show up on your pre-employment drug test? Typically, alcohol is not going to show up on most drug tests. It usually doesn’t. Nevertheless, some employers indeed check for alcohol. For instance, individuals trying to get a very important job may have to take an alcohol drug test.

You may also be tested for alcohol if you’re going to be driving a vehicle. It depends on the circumstances, but most drug tests do not check for alcohol.

If you’re trying to get an entry-level job, you likely won’t need to worry about your alcohol use. It most likely won’t show up on the drug test.

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Do Drug Tests Test For Alcohol?

Some drug tests will indeed check for alcohol. However, you should realize that most drug tests do not. You likely won’t have to worry about the drug test checking for alcohol unless you’re trying to get a job driving.

You might also be checked for alcohol if you’re trying to get a job with a government agency. Most job seekers won’t be drug tested for alcohol.

Can Alcohol Be Detected In A Drug Test?

Can Alcohol Be Detected In A Drug Test

Certain drug tests will indeed check for alcohol. The most common drug tests will not check for alcohol, but some can. Again, you’re likely going to be tested for alcohol when you try to get a job with the federal government. If you’re going to be put in charge of money or driving a vehicle, you may be tested for alcohol.

Most ordinary drug tests will not check for alcohol in your system. Does alcohol show up on drug tests? Some drug tests will check for alcohol, but most do not.

Can An Employer Drug Test For Alcohol?

Although it depends on your state, most employers can indeed check for alcohol. For instance, Pennsylvania does not have any regulations regarding the testing of alcohol.

As a result, employers in Pennsylvania have the right to drug test their workers for alcohol. The laws may vary in some areas, but most employers have the right to check for alcohol.

If you’re trying to get a job, it is wise to refrain from alcohol and drug use to ensure that you can indeed pass the test.

How Can Employers Check For Alcohol?

When trying to check for alcohol, employers have numerous options at their disposal. First and foremost, they can use the ordinary urine test.

SAMHSA or the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends that all businesses test for five drugs, including THC, cocaine, phencyclidine, amphetamines, and opiates. Plus, the agency recommends testing for alcohol.

Most employers prefer not checking for alcohol although it is possible. In recent years, companies have started checking for ecstasy and synthetic opiates.

The DOT or Department of Transportation has an alcohol testing program. If you’re working a Dot-covered position, you will likely be tested for alcohol.

For instance, truck drivers fit into this group. They will be tested for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP, and amphetamines. Then, they will be tested for alcohol separately.

If the individual’s blood alcohol content level is 0.04 or higher, they will be removed from their position immediately. Then, they will be required to complete a DOT-approved substance abuse program.

After the program is finished, the driver can begin working again. Check your company’s employee handbook to find out whether you’ll be tested for alcohol.

Ways Employers Check For Alcohol

Some employers check for alcohol. They can do so using multiple drug testing methods. However, some methods are better for certain situations. In some cases, the employer may need to test the individual quickly.

They may suspect one of the workers was drinking and driving. One of the best ways to find out is by using a breath test or Breathalyzer.

The device works exceptionally well for this purpose. It can determine whether the individual was drinking alcohol. Plus, it will provide the individual’s blood-alcohol level.

In addition to this, employers can check for alcohol using a saliva test. A saliva alcohol test is going to detect ethanol which is a byproduct of alcoholic drinks. Saliva alcohol tests tend to be more expensive than ordinary urine tests.

Nevertheless, they’re eager to perform. They can detect alcohol that was consumed a day or two ago. Therefore, it might be wise for employers to rely on saliva drug tests in some circumstances.

You’ll also find that employers can detect alcohol by using blood tests and hair tests. There are several types of blood tests, and each is different.

On average, the tests that check for PEth tend to be most accurate. It is believed that these tests can detect alcohol for up to 28 days.

Another test is the hair test. It is best for detecting alcohol use from many months ago. It can find alcohol in a person’s system for 3 to 6 months.

Finally, there is the fingernail test. It can be used to check for alcohol and drugs. When using 6 to 12 toenail samples, the test can easily find alcohol for up to 6 months. Just remember that this test isn’t used commonly.

Can You Be Fired For Alcohol Abuse?

Will you be fired if you are caught with alcohol in your system? The good news is that it is unlawful for employers to fire people because the individual is an alcoholic. They cannot lawfully fire you solely for this reason. Nevertheless, employers can find other excuses.

If you behaved inappropriately due to your alcoholism, you can be fired for your behavior. For instance, you might’ve left the door unlocked when you left. Since you left the company exposed, you could be fired. It can also happen if you’ve violated any of the company’s regulations.

Still, you can’t be fired solely for being an alcoholic.

Employers That May Test For Alcohol

Remember that certain employers are more likely to check for alcohol than others. If you’re getting a job at a fast-food chain or convenience store, you likely won’t be tested for alcohol.

However, you might be getting a job with a trucking company. Trucking companies have to obey DOT guidelines.

Therefore, you’re likely going to have to get tested for alcohol. Since you’re going to be driving an automobile, you’ll need to prove that you aren’t a heavy drinker.

In addition to this, some government agencies will check for alcohol. The government can’t take many risks. Therefore, they’ll make sure that they don’t hire alcoholics.

Individuals working in important positions have to take alcohol tests. If you’re going to become a security guard, prison guard, or police officer, you might be tested for alcohol. Not all applicants have to take these tests, but some do.


If you’re trying to get a job, you should learn more about the position and the associated drug test. With certain drug tests, you’ll be checked for alcohol and drugs. However, this doesn’t happen frequently.

Instead, most drug tests only check for drugs. You’ll likely be tested for alcohol when you’re trying to get a job with a government agency or a driving position. Be sure to know what the drug tests check for before taking it.

FAQs on Does Alcohol Show on a Drug Test

Is Alcohol Tested In A Urine Drug Test?

When getting tested for alcohol, you will likely take a urine drug test. Some urine tests will detect alcohol.

Can You Fail A Drug Test For Alcohol?

In some situations, you can fail a drug test for drinking alcohol. Some employers require their workers to be clean. As a result, you cannot use alcohol or drugs. If your employer has a no-alcohol policy, you can fail the drug test for using alcohol. Most employers do not follow such protocols.

How Long Can Alcohol Show Up In A Urine Drug Test?

When dealing with a urine drug test, you have to remember that alcohol is going to show up for 12 to 48 hours. To be safe, it is best to wait two or three days before taking the drug test. If you’re dealing with a hair drug test, the alcohol is going to remain detectable much longer.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your System For A Probation Drug Test?

Remember that alcohol will remain in the user’s system for a few hours to a few days. Therefore, there is a good chance that it is going to show up on the drug test for 2 to 3 days. To guarantee that you will pass the test, stop using alcohol three or four days before the test.

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