The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say two-thirds of adults drank alcohol in 2018. How much varies, of course, but no one wants to end the day with a DUI because they mistakenly thought they were sober when they weren’t.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), many factors contribute to how long alcohol stays in your system. If you don’t understand these factors properly, it’s hard to tell if you’re legally safe behind the wheel, which can lead to tragic consequences.
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How long does alcohol stay in your system?
Healthline.com says how long alcohol stays in your system depends on age, weight, recent eating, medications, liver disease, and the time between drinks. One cup of beer can stay in a person’s system longer than someone of a different weight.
The ability to metabolize alcohol slows as you age, says health.clevelandclinic.org. Alcohol will have enhanced effects on people of lower weight and smaller body size. Drinking on an empty stomach may enhance the effects of alcohol. Several drugs can have dangerous side effects when combined with alcohol. Any current liver disease can impair your ability to handle and process alcohol. Binge drinking in a short period will also magnify the effects of alcohol, all according to health.levelandclinic.org and healthline.com.
According to healthline.com, a shot of liquor is estimated to last within an hour, a pint of beer in two, a glass of wine in three, and several drinks can last several hours.
The NIAAA estimates that one drink is metabolized and out of your system after three hours, two drinks after just over four hours, three drinks after six, and four drinks after seven. The NIAAA further states that this again depends on the above factors.
When it comes to driving, healthline.com advises, “The safest thing to do is not get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking.”
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How long do tests detect alcohol?
The presence of alcohol can be detected through a urine test, breath test, and even in your hair, says healthline.com. Alcohol can be measured through your urine in 12 to 48 hours or even 80 hours, depending on how advanced the testing is. Breath tests, also called a breathalyzer, detect alcohol within 24 hours, according to healthline.com.
Health.levelandclinic.org explains that alcohol can be detected at the hair roots for even 90 days after someone has stopped drinking. Healthline.com also says that alcohol can be identified in sweat and blood.
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How long do other substances stay in your system?
According to medicalnewstoday.com, first-time cannabis smokers can detect cannabis in their system within three days, while regular smokers three to four times a week can see the substance within five to seven days. Those who smoke cannabis daily can see it for up to 30 days.
WebMD.com says nicotine can be found in the blood in one to three days, up to four days in saliva, and up to 12 months in your hair.
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