Why Test for Alcohol?


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Alcohol Tests. Learn about alcohol testing, why employers test for alcohol, which alcohol test is the most effective, and why testing for alcohol is so vital.

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Why Test for Alcohol?

  1. 1. ==== ====Please call this number 24/7 if you have questions about a drug or alcohol problem or if you wantsome information about drug or alcohol treatment. (888) 565-2282http://www.alcohol-test-info.com==== ====Why Are U.S. Companies Testing For Alcohol? What alcohol information can an alcohol testshow? According to alcohol abuse statistics, there is more substantial evidence that conditionssuch as fetal alcohol syndrome are preventable.Alcohol abuse statistics also show that increasing pressure is being exerted on drunk drivinglegislators by organizations such as MADD. More confirmation exists that most, if not all, alcohol-related highway fatalities can be prevented.Furthermore, alcohol abuse statistics and alcohol info reveal that junior high, high school, andcollege administrators are cracking down harder on student alcohol abuse. And finally, there areincreasing efforts to reduce preventable alcohol-related accidents, sexual harassment, crime, andinjuries in the workplace.All of these alcohol abuse statistics, facts, and information cannot be ignored. Indeed, thisaforementioned information quite logically points to some of the key reasons why employers inU.S. companies and organizations see the need to test for alcohol. In a word, the alcohol relatedproblems in the workplace simply cannot be ignored and need to be addressed.Due to all of these influences, moreover, alcohol tests and alcohol testing will certainly becomeeven more important and implemented in our society.Indeed, alcohol testing in the workplace via various alcohol tests may become as common asannual employee evaluations and will more likely than not become part of the drug and alcoholtesting movement that is becoming an essential part of the policies and procedures that guideseveral companies, organizations, and institutions throughout the U.S.From a different perspective, why cant problem drinkers look at an alcohol test as a signal thatidentifies the alcoholism or alcohol abuse problems in their lives?In other words, when alcohol abusers or alcoholics receive a breath alcohol test or a urine alcoholtest at work or a field sobriety test on the highway, why cant they consider such an "alcoholismtest" or an "alcohol abuse test" as a wake-up call that tells them to address their alcohol problemsbefore they get totally out of control?Testing For Alcohol: Five Different Kinds of Alcohol TestsRelevant alcohol info and statistics reveal that for employers, alcohol abuse and alcoholismproblems account for approximately 67% of total number of substance abuse complaints. In theUnited States, alcohol abuse or alcoholism is associated with half the automobile fatalities andalmost half of all industrial accidents.
  2. 2. Consequently, there is a growing demand for more effective alcohol testing, screening, anddetection methods in the American workplace. Indeed, more and more companies are employingalcohol screening tests and random alcohol tests as part of their workplace drug and alcoholtesting program or alcohol testing policy.Testing For Alcohol. When considering implementing an alcohol testing program, employers donot have too many valid options. In fact, there are basically five different types of alcohol tests:urine tests for alcohol, blood alcohol tests, alcohol breathalyzer tests, saliva alcohol tests, and hairalcohol tests.Interestingly, hair alcohol testing is relatively recent. Indeed, until 2008, hair tests could not detectalcohol and were therefore used only for testing for drugs other than alcohol.Now that hair tests can accurately and reliably identify an individuals blood alcohol level, however,it would appear that hair test will become more widely used in American companies and will be akey component of the drug and alcohol testing programs that will be implemented in the future.Testing For Alcohol: Urine Alcohol TestingUrine alcohol tests have the following characteristics:* They are the least expensive of the alcohol testing methods.* They can be used at home, for instance, by parents, though lab verification is required foraccurate results.* They are considered an intrusive method of alcohol testing.* They can be affected by abstaining from drinking for a period of time before the test.* They detect alcohol ingestion mainly within the past week, or longer with regular drinking.* They are often temperature tested to assure sample integrity.* They indicate the presence of alcohol in a persons system, but it takes up to 2 hours for thealcohol to show up in the persons urine.Urine Alcohol Testing Pros and ConsThe following represents some of the key positives and negatives regarding urine alcohol testing.Urine Alcohol Testing Pros* They have a high assurance of reliable results.* They are relatively inexpensive.
  3. 3. * They provide the most flexibility in testing different drugs, including alcohol and nicotine.* They are the most likely of all drug-testing methods to withstand legal challenge.Urine Alcohol Testing Cons* The specimen can be adulterated, substituted, or diluted.* They have a limited window of detection (typically 1 to 5 days).* They are considered as invasive or embarrassing form of alcohol testing.* They present a biological hazard when the specimens are handled and shipped to the lab.* They indicate the presence of alcohol in a persons system, but it takes up to 2 hours for thealcohol to show up in urine.Testing For Alcohol: Blood Alcohol TestingThe blood alcohol testing research literature reveals that a blood alcohol test measures theamount of alcohol that is in the blood at the time a blood sample is taken.As a result, a blood alcohol test does not reveal how long an individual has been drinking and itdoes not necessarily show whether or not the person has a drinking problem.Due to the fact that quite a few medicines can alter the blood alcohol test results, people who areundergoing an alcohol blood test need to inform the lab, doctor, or person administrating the testabout all the prescription and nonprescription medications they are taking.In addition, if a person is currently taking a blood-thinning medicine or has clotting or bleedingproblems, he or she needs to inform the agency or individual administering the blood alcohol testbefore a blood sample is taken or before the blood alcohol testing procedure is started.Blood Alcohol Tests have the following characteristics:* Blood alcohol testing is one of the most accurate methods for testing a persons blood alcoholcontent (BAC).* Blood alcohol tests are one of the most expensive methods for testing a persons blood alcoholcontent.* Blood alcohol testing is the most intrusive method currently in use for testing blood alcoholcontent.* Due mainly to their high cost and to their intrusiveness, blood alcohol tests are typically the leastcommon method when testing for alcohol.Testing For Alcohol: Saliva Alcohol Tests
  4. 4. A saliva alcohol test detects the presence of alcohol in the saliva, and are a relatively goodapproximation of blood alcohol content (BAC).Due to the fact that the concentration of alcohol in saliva is very likely to be similar to the bloodalcohol content that is in the blood, saliva is a preferred method of testing for alcohol whencompared with blood alcohol testing.Saliva tests have the following characteristics:* They are slightly more expensive than urine testing, but less than hair or blood testing.* They are a relatively non-intrusive method of drug testing.* They are becoming more common compared to the other methods of testing.* They are easy to administer but require lab processing for accuracy.* They detect use primarily within the past day or so* They can detect more recent drug use than other testing methods.* They have no nationally accepted cutoff concentrations or standards for detection.* They are more reliable for the detection of methamphetamine and opiates and less reliable forTHC or cannabinoids.Saliva Alcohol Tests ProsThe following list represents the positive aspects of saliva drug tests:* They provide samples that are acquired under direct observation.* They present a minimal risk of tampering.* They spare patients the discomfort of repeated vein punctures.* They are non-invasive.* They present no risk of infection, thrombosis, or anemia.* They present lower total testing costs since no special staff training is required for collection.* They provide for samples that can be collected easily in almost any environment.* They can detect alcohol use.* They reflect recent drug use.
  5. 5. *They provide a relatively short window of detection, approximately 10 to 24 hours.Saliva Alcohol Tests ConsThe following list represents the negative aspects of saliva drug tests:* They present some detection limitation since drugs and drug metabolites do not remain in thesaliva as long as they do in the urine.* They are less efficient than other testing methods in detecting marijuana use.Testing For Alcohol: Breath Alcohol TestingWhile a breath alcohol test can be administered a number of ways, breathalyzer tests are the mostcommon form of breath alcohol testing and have the following characteristics:* They do not directly measure blood alcohol concentration or content (BAC).* They estimate blood alcohol concentration or content indirectly by measuring the amount ofalcohol in ones breath.* They not only detect the ethyl alcohol found in alcohol beverages, but also in other substancesthat have a similar molecular structure.* They can result in false BAC readings caused from cell phones, police radios, electricalinterference, moisture, dirt, and tobacco smoke.* They can result in false BAC readings from substances or compounds found in gasoline, paintremovers, cleaning fluids, celluloid, and lacquers.* They can lead to false BAC results from blood, vomit, or alcohol present in the persons mouth.* They can result in false BAC readings due to a persons breathing rate caused by vigorousexercise, hyperventilation, or a person holding ones breath.* They can result in false BAC readings if law enforcement personnel fail to use the breathalyzersproperly or fail to properly maintain and re-calibrate the units.Testing For Alcohol: Hair Alcohol TestsThe Hair Alcohol Test. As the hair grows, it absorbs special markers called ethyl glucuronide (EtG)and fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEEs). The EtG and FAEE markers remain in the hair indefinitely aslong as a person doesnt shave or cut his or her hair.Due to the fact that the FAEE and EtG markers are only produced when there is alcohol in thebloodstream, the more markers that exist, the more alcohol the individual has consumed.
  6. 6. Extensive research studies on EtG and FAEE testing have helped researchers establish a reliablebase line for FAEEs and EtGs regarding the drinking patterns of different groups of people such asheavy drinkers, social drinkers, and non-drinkers.Since the concentration of blood to the body hair fails to elicit reliable results, only scalp hair leadsto an accurate alcohol assessment.Although bleach, hair dye, perms, and other hair processes cannot alter the results of the test, itshould be pointed out that the test will not work if the person has extremely short hair (less than )of if the person shaves his or her headOne of the notable positives of hair alcohol tests is that they are non-invasive and can provide anaccurate history of alcohol consumption that goes back in time many months, if not years.It can be noted that hair tests were not used for alcohol testing until 2008. Up until this time, theywere used mainly for drug testing. Now that hair tests have become a valid way to identify bothdrugs and alcohol, however, they will probably become more common as an increasing number oforganizations, companies, and institutions upgrade and implement their drug and alcohol testingpolicies and procedures.Hair Alcohol Tests have the following characteristics:* Hair alcohol testing is currently many times more costly than urine tests.* They are a relatively non-intrusive method of alcohol testing.* Until the past year or so, since they could not detect alcohol, hair tests were used almostexclusively for the detection of drugs other than alcohol.* Hair alcohol tests detect alcohol use over a longer period of time than any other type of alcoholtesting protocol.* They require a sample of hair approximately the diameter of a pencil and about 1.5 inches long.* Hair tests can accurately detect alcohol, drugs, and combinations of both.* No adulterants have been found that can beat hair tests for alcohol.* They provide accurate results for non-drinkers, social drinkers, and heavy drinkers.* Hair alcohol testing reduces the need for recurring random alcohol testing.Alcohol Testing: Alcohol Hair Tests Pros* Hair alcohol tests have a relatively long window of detection.* They offer greater stability (that is, they do not deteriorate).
  7. 7. * Hair alcohol testing provides accurate results for non-drinkers, social drinkers, and heavydrinkers.* Hair alcohol tests are a non-intrusive form of alcohol testing.* They provide convenient shipping and storage, since they do not require refrigeration.* Hair alcohol tests offer a collection procedure that is not invasive or embarrassing.* They are almost impossible to adulterate.* Hair tests detect the combined use of alcohol and other drugs.Alcohol Testing: Alcohol Hair Tests Cons* Hair tests for alcohol are relatively expensive.* They are so recent that many, if not the vast majority of U.S. employers are unaware of theirexistence.* Hair alcohol tests will not work on hair that is less than 1/2" to 1" long.* They will not work if the person shaves his or her head.* Hair tests for alcohol will not work on body hair and therefore only work with scalp hair.* No matter how long the hair is, hair alcohol tests cannot be performed on a single hair.Drug and Alcohol Testing in the WorkplaceAlcohol abuse statistics and the alcoholism research literature on alcohol testing reveals that manyU.S. employers are developing and implementing workplace alcohol testing programs. Why arethey doing this? Why would employers initiate workplace alcohol testing and test for alcohol?American companies are initiating alcohol testing policies to increase employee safety; tosubstantially reduce their worker compensation premiums; to improve work performance; toreduce alcohol-related fatalities, accidents, and injuries; and to make progress in establishing analcohol-free workplace.In sum, from a pragmatic and common sense perspective, alcohol testing in the workplace will notonly continue but will probably increase and become even more sophisticated in the near future.Dont be surprised, moreover, if new and more powerful alcohol tests or a series of alcohol testsare developed by researchers that will foil employee attempts to sabotage or mask the alcohol testresults.And finally, since alcohol testing is actually a subset of drug and alcohol testing, it also makessense to project that alcohol testing AND drug testing will increase in the American workplace inthe foreseeable future.
  8. 8. Alcohol Test Info, Facts, and Statistics: ConclusionWhy do organizations, institutions, and companies test for alcohol? What alcohol info can alcoholtesting reveal? Why will testing for alcohol surely increase in scope and in sophistication in oursociety?According to alcohol abuse statistics, there are a number of reasons why U.S. corporations andcompanies test for alcohol, including the following: greater pressure being exerted on drunk drivinglegislators by organizations such as MADD and more and more evidence demonstrating that most,if not all, alcohol-related highway fatalities can be prevented.Problems With Alcohol. Additional reasons for the increase in alcohol testing in our society ingeneral and workplace alcohol testing in particular also include increasing proof that conditionslike fetal alcohol syndrome are preventable and the fact that college, high school, and junior highschool administrators are ramping up their efforts at eliminating or significantly reducing studentalcohol abuse.And finally, alcohol testing will probably continue to increase in our society due to the intensifiedefforts to reduce preventable alcohol-related injuries and accidents in the U.S. workplace.Indeed, based on relevant alcohol abuse statistics and facts, many companies, institutions, andorganizations are implementing random alcohol testing and alcohol screening tests as part of theirworkplace alcohol testing policy.In short, testing for alcohol and alcohol tests are becoming less and less an option and more of anecessity in many, if not most, American workplaces, governmental agencies and organizations,and educational institutions.In fact, workplace alcohol testing has become so widespread that it has become part of the basicalcohol information that is discussed in the news and by the media.Since there are currently only five real options companies and organizations have whenconsidering the type of alcohol test they will employ, it should not come as a shock if researchersdevelop an even more accurate, more sophisticated, and a more tamper-proof alcohol test orseries of tests in the near future.The five types of alcohol tests currently administered by U.S. employers are: breath alcohol tests(also called alcohol breathalyzer tests), urine alcohol tests, saliva alcohol tests, alcohol bloodtests, and hair alcohol tests.Due to the fact that hair tests have recently become valid measures of alcohol content, it seemsreasonable to assume that hair tests will become even more widely used by various institutions,organizations, and companies in their drug and alcohol testing policies and procedures.It needs to be emphasized that an alcohol test cannot necessarily determine whether an individualis an alcohol abuser or an alcoholic. Consequently, an alcohol test is more accurately viewed asan "alcohol abuse test" rather than as an "alcoholism test."
  9. 9. Let us use an example to illustrate this point. If a person drinks just once per year and gets drunkon his or her birthday, for instance, it is highly unlikely that this person is an alcoholic.By definition, however, this person has engaged in abusive drinking and can therefore be labeledas an alcohol abuser.If this person happens to receive a DUI based on a breath alcohol test such as a breathalyzer testthat was administered by the police, however, even if this person has a blood alcoholconcentration (BAC) that is significantly higher than the legal limit for intoxication, this does notnecessarily mean that this individual is an alcoholic. It does mean, however, that this person hasbeen engaging in alcohol abuse.As a final thought, it would appear that most problem drinkers who have to take an alcohol testprobably view these tests in a negative way.Why cant these individuals, however, turn this thinking around and look at an alcohol test as asignal that identifies the alcohol abuse or alcoholism problems in their lives?Stated differently, when problem drinkers receive a field sobriety test on the highway or a breathalcohol test or a urine alcohol test at work, why cant they perceive such an "alcohol abuse test" or"alcoholism test" as a wake-up call that tells them to get the needed alcohol treatment before theirdrinking problems get totally out of control?==== ====Please call this number 24/7 if you have questions about a drug or alcohol problem or if you wantsome information about drug or alcohol treatment. (888) 565-2282http://www.alcohol-test-info.com==== ====