How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your Urine? How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System? Alcohol Tests & Detection.
How long does alcohol stay in your urine? Depending on the body system and test used, alcohol detection times may vary. The only way to get sober or clear alcohol from your system is to give your liver time to break down the alcohol. Continue to read more about how long does alcohol stay in your urine.
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How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Urine?
Urine drug tests can identify alcohol in your system long after you’ve taken your last drink by tracing alcohol metabolite residues. Alcohol can be found in the typical urine sample up to 12 hours after consumption.
How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?
More advanced tests may detect alcohol in the urine 24 to 72 hours after consumption. Alcohol is a depressant that only stays in the body for a brief time. Depending on the individual and other factors like liver size and weight, your liver will break down one alcoholic drink every hour after it has entered your system. The half-life of alcohol is 4 to 5 hours.
How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your Urine? How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System? Alcohol Test Chart.
|Body System||How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?|
|Blood Alcohol Test||Up to 6 Hours|
|Breath Alcohol Test||12 to 24 Hours|
|Urine Alcohol Test||12-24 Hours, but 72 Hours+ for the newest alcohol tests|
|Saliva Alcohol Test||12 to 24 Hours|
|Hair Alcohol Test||Up to 90 Days|
The amount of time alcohol stays in the body will vary depending on a person’s characteristics, how much they have consumed, and how quickly. Continue reading how long does alcohol stay in your urine, and how long does alcohol stay in your system?
How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?
If you may want to know how long alcohol will stay in your system and how long the detection window lasts, read through this article. After all, alcohol impairs your brainpower and reflexes. It also doesn’t play well with certain medicines. How long alcohol stays in your system depends on your liver’s processing ability.
Alcohol may linger in your body for days after consumption, depending on the type of test used. Breath tests can detect it from 12 to 24 hours post-drinking; more sophisticated methods like urine testing and hair samples allow detection windows of up to 72 hours and 90 days, respectively. As our bodies break down alcohol at a rate of 4-5 hours per half-life, getting an accurate reading requires choosing the right time frame for measurement!
The half-life of alcohol is 4 to 5 hours.
How Fast is Alcohol Metabolized?
The body metabolizes alcohol at about one standard drink per hour. A standard drink holds roughly:
- 14 gm of pure alcohol or,
- A 12-ounce beer,
- A 5-ounce glass of wine, or
- A 1.5-ounce shot of distilled spirits.
Alcohol Half Life Calculator
The below Alcohol half life calculator chart shows the approximate time it takes the body to metabolize one standard drink (14 grams of alcohol) based on gender and body weight:
|Weight (lbs)||Men half-life hours||Women half-life hours|
The rate at which alcohol is metabolized can vary widely depending on various factors, including:
- Weight: People who weigh more will metabolize alcohol more quickly than people who weigh less.
- Sex: Women tend to metabolize alcohol more slowly than men due to differences in body composition and enzyme activity.
- Genetics: Some individuals may metabolize alcohol faster or slower than average due to genetic differences in enzyme pathways.
- Food and water intake: Eating food or drinking water while consuming alcohol can slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream and therefore affect the rate of metabolism.
- Medications: Certain medications can interfere with the liver’s ability to metabolize alcohol, leading to a higher concentration of alcohol in the bloodstream.
The liver can only metabolize alcohol at a certain rate, no matter how much someone drinks. This means that drinking excessively can quickly lead to the accumulation of alcohol in the bloodstream and increase the risk of problems.
How Long Does It Take for Alcohol to Kick For Most People?
Generally, it takes about 20 to 30 minutes for the effects of alcohol to become noticeable. But it can take up to an hour or more in some cases. When someone drinks alcohol, it is absorbed into the bloodstream and circulated throughout the body before reaching the brain, where it produces its effects. After that, the person may feel more relaxed, sociable, and euphoric, depending on the alcohol consumed.
The peak blood alcohol concentration (BAC) usually reaches around 45 to 90 minutes after drinking. The pace at which alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream can also be affected by factors such as the individual’s physical condition.
Thus, the amount of time it takes for alcohol to kick in can vary based on various factors, including the amount of alcohol consumed, the person’s weight, sex, metabolism, and how much food they have eaten.
How Do You Know When You’re Drunk?
When you consume excessive alcohol, you may not always know how drunk you are. However, some signs and symptoms may indicate you’re drunk or have consumed too much alcohol. Some of the commonly observed signs of being drunk include:
- Slurred speech and impaired coordination.
- Impaired judgment and decision-making.
- Increased heart rate and breathing.
- Mood changes.
- Blurred vision.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Alcoholism is the most severe form of problem drinking and describes an intense, often uncontrollable, desire to drink. Sufferers of alcoholism will often place drinking above all other obligations, including family and work, and may build up a physical tolerance or experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop.
Alcoholism is sometimes known as alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder. It’s slightly different from “harmful drinking,” an occasional pattern of drinking that can cause damage to your health. An example of harmful drinking is drinking too much at a party and risking a fight or argument. This pattern may develop into alcoholism if that kind of harmful drinking becomes a habit and happens regularly.
How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Urine & System?
Alcohol is largely eliminated from the body by the liver, which metabolizes around a single standard drink per hour for men. Factors such as age, weight, gender, and the amount of food in the stomach affect how quickly the body can eliminate alcohol.
The rate of alcohol absorption does not increase by sleeping or drinking water.
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According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) , 85.6 percent of people ages 18 and older reported drinking alcohol at some point in their lifetime. In addition, 25.8 percent of people ages 18 and older said they binge drank in the past month. Only about 7.3 percent of adults ages 18 and older who had alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the past year received any treatment in the past year.
An estimated 95,000 people (approximately 68,000 men and 27,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third-leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The first is tobacco, and the second is poor diet and physical inactivity.
Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
The level present is measured in blood alcohol concentration or BAC. It also depends on several external and internal factors, some unique to every person. Age, weight, sex, and medical history affect how concentrated the alcohol in your urine is after drinking.
Urine tests can detect alcohol or ethanol itself or certain alcohol byproducts. The type of urine testing can also make a difference in whether the alcohol someone consumes is still detectable more than one day later.
Depending on the body system and test used, alcohol detection times may vary. Alcohol detection tests can measure alcohol in the blood for up to 6 hours, on the breath for 12 to 24 hours, urine for 12 to 24 hours (72 or more hours with more advanced detection methods), saliva for 12 to 24 hours, and hair for up to 90 days.
The blood alcohol content test may be used to find out if you:
- Have been drinking and driving. In the United States, .08 percent blood alcohol content level is the legal alcohol limit for drivers aged 21 and over. Drivers younger than 21 are not allowed to have any alcohol in their system when driving. 
- Are legally drunk. The legal alcohol limit for drinking in public varies from state to state.
- Have been drinking while in a treatment program that prohibits drinking.
- Have alcohol poisoning, a life-threatening condition when your blood alcohol content level gets very high. Alcohol poisoning can seriously affect bodily functions, including breathing, heart rate, and temperature.
Addiction treatment isn’t as easy as taking a pill and waiting for the effects to kick in. Overcoming addiction requires time, energy, and commitment which has to come from within. Most treatment programs favor a step-down process, starting with a strict and restrictive environment and gradually phasing down to help those in recovery assimilate into daily life.
How long does alcohol stay in your urine? Age, weight, gender, and amount of food eaten can affect how fast the body can process alcohol and how long does alcohol stay in your urine. The rate of alcohol absorption cannot be increased by sleeping or drinking water. Continue reading for more.
In case of binge drinking and consequent alcohol poisoning, immediate help should be sought. If you suspect someone suffers from alcohol poisoning, call for medical help immediately. Alcohol poisoning is a medical emergency and requires urgent medical attention.
Blood alcohol content (BAC) is affected by factors such as gender, body weight, the number of drinks consumed, the strength of the drinks, and the time elapsed since the first drink was consumed.
To calculate BAC, you can use the below BAC calculator, which accounts for these factors. The BAC formula is: BAC = ([Number of Standard Drinks] x [Alcohol by Volume (ABV)] x 0.789)/(Body Weight in Kilograms x [Gender Constant]).
The gender constant is 0.68 for men and 0.55 for women. The BAC formula is only an estimation, and actual BAC may vary depending on individual factors. It’s critical to never drink and drive and always to have a designated driver or plan for alternative transportation if you have consumed alcohol.
Using the chart above, estimate the quantity of standard drinks consumed, each representing a single standard drink.
It’s essential to remember that alcohol consumption can also impair judgment and coordination, affecting the person’s capacity to drive a car or use machinery. Therefore, it is paramount to drink alcohol responsibly and in moderation.
Alcohol Use Disorder Facts
There are two significant signs of alcohol addiction: tolerance and withdrawal. Alcohol addiction is a dangerous condition because it can ultimately become life-threatening. So, alcohol detox allows the body to eliminate all alcohol and return to its usual functioning. An individual struggling with a moderate to severe alcohol use disorder (alcohol addiction) has a significant likelihood of developing withdrawal symptoms and could benefit from the help of a detox program.
Alcohol detox should not be administered lightly because the withdrawal may involve a lоt оf аgоnу аnd раіn. For instance that if detox is done without medical detox supervision, the untrеаtеd аnd unmanaged ѕуmрtоmѕ саn bе lіfе-thrеаtеnіng. The treatment process should not be hurried as each person’s symptoms subside at their rate because other complications may arise that must be addressed. Generally, inpatient comfortable alcohol detox ranges from 3-7 days before transitioning into inpatient or outpatient treatment.
What is Blood Alcohol Content?
A blood alcohol content test measures the level of alcohol in your blood. Most people are more familiar with the breathalyzer, a test often used by police officers on people suspected of drunk driving. While a breathalyzer gives fast results, it is not as accurate as measuring alcohol in the blood and the signs of alcohol abuse.
Alcohol, also known as ethanol, is the main ingredient of alcoholic drinks such as beer, wine, and liquor. When you have an alcoholic drink, it is absorbed into your bloodstream and processed by the liver. Your liver can process about one drink an hour. One drink is usually 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of whiskey.
If you drink faster than your liver can process the alcohol, you may feel the effects of drunkenness, also called alcohol intoxication. These include behavioral changes and impaired judgment. The effects of alcohol can vary from person to person, depending on various factors such as age, weight, gender, and how much food you eat before drinking.
Alcohol Use Facts & Resources PDF Publicly Made Available by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
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Alcohol Addiction Statistics
How long does alcohol stay in your urine for alcohol tests? Alcohol can stay in your system between 6-72 hours in most cases, depending on the detection test used. Alcohol detection tests can measure alcohol in the blood for up to 6 hours, on the breath for 12 to 24 hours, urine for 12 to 24 hours (72 or more hours with more advanced detection methods), saliva for 12 to 24 hours, and hair for up to 90 days. The half-life of alcohol is between 4-5 hours.
If you or someone you know has developed an alcohol use disorder, working on a plan for sobriety as soon as possible becomes crucial. An inpatient treatment program offers an opportunity to safely detox from drugs and alcohol as a first step before individual and group therapy begins.
5.8% (or about 16.1 million people) reported misusing any prescription psychotherapeutic drug in the past 12 months. Many people drink alcohol while using drugs to enhance or modify their experiences with these substances.
In 2019, of the 85,688 liver disease deaths among individuals ages 12 and older, 43.1% involved alcohol.
About 40% of individuals who know they have an alcohol or drug problem are not ready to stop using, and many others feel they do not have a problem or need treatment.
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How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System Urine?
How long does alcohol stay in your system urine test? Only about 1 to 2 percent of the alcohol an individual drinks leaves the body in their urine. The ethanol in alcohol can be detected in an individual’s urine within an hour of drinking. This typically remains the case for up to 12 hours after the alcohol is consumed. This timeframe can change based on several individual factors.
EtG (ethyl glucuronide) is a byproduct of ethanol (alcohol that one drinks), and glucuronide a common biological compound made in the liver that binds various drugs and toxins in the body that allows them to be excreted in the urine . When a person drinks even relatively small amounts of alcohol, EtG is formed and can be detected in the urine.
EtG can be found in the urine much longer than alcohol in the blood or breath. After a few drinks, EtG can be present in the urine for up to 48 hours and sometimes up to 72 hours or more prolonged if the drinking is heavier. How long does alcohol stay in your system urine? The breakdown and elimination of alcohol cannot be sped up by drinking water or sleeping, and neither coffee nor a shower will sober you up faster. They might make you more alert, but they will not eliminate alcohol from your blood. As long as your consumption rate exceeds your elimination rate, your BAC will continue to rise.
How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Urine Drug Screen? EtG Alcohol Test
Can the EtG amount tell how much alcohol I consumed? Not really. While higher amounts of EtG might indicate larger amounts of alcohol consumption, the exact number is influenced by several factors: the amount and when consumed. The longer the time since consumption, the lower the EtG level. Also, some people might convert more alcohol into EtG than others or excrete it more quickly. Finally, a maximum amount of EtG can be measured, so drinking above that limit might not raise EtG more than can be detected (the ceiling effect). It was designed to detect “any drinking,” not heavy drinking .
Who Takes EtG Tests?
How long does alcohol stay in your urine? Many believe ETG tests can detect an alcohol metabolite called ethyl glucuronide for about 80 hours. EtG tests are used to detect alcohol abstinence or non-compliance under circumstances in which drinking is not allowed, including the following:
- Alcohol treatment programs
- As legally required for a DUI/DWI probation
- Liver transplant patients
- Professional monitoring programs (e.g., airline pilots, healthcare professionals, etc.)
- Court cases (e.g., child custody)
EtG test is not typically used in workplace testing programs as it does not measure a person’s current level of impairment from alcohol. Furthermore, because alcohol is legal in most areas of the U.S., it’s not a commonly administered test because alcohol could have been consumed days before a person is required to work. And if they show signs of impairment, it is not a helpful tool on the spot.
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What Happens During Ethanol Urine Test & EtG Tests?
How long does alcohol stay in your urine? Many factors can affect how long alcohol stays in your urine. Your weight, health, gender, kidney function, and amount of alcohol use will all play an important role in determining how long alcohol can be detected in urine. Alcohol testing is performed for different reasons. It can be detected in urine, saliva, blood, sweat, breath, and hair follicles. You may be asked to take an alcohol test in a police investigation or as part of an alcohol treatment program.
Different tests exist for different body parts, each with multiple uses. For instance, doctors are more likely to take a blood sample if you’re being tested in a medical setting for intoxication. You will likely be given a breath test after an accident or a suspected DUI.
Regardless of what part of the body the test is for, most alcohol tests are looking for one of two chemicals: ethanol or ethyl glucuronide (EtG). So, how long does alcohol stay in your urine? The time that alcohol will be detectable will vary for everyone. However, some basic principles will be the same for each situation.
Ethanol Urine Tests
While 92-98% of alcohol is metabolized in the liver, the remaining 2-8% leaves the body through urine, sweat, and breath. Ethanol is beverage alcohol that can be detected in urine up to one or two hours after the alcohol has left the body.
When it comes to ethanol urine tests, there will be a small lag as the body filters the alcohol from the blood into the bladder. Urine alcohol levels generally peak 45 to 60 minutes after alcohol ingestion. But it can be detectable for up to 12 hours once it’s there.
How long does alcohol stay in your urine? Testing for alcohol in the urine is less accurate than other methods. Unlike breath, exhaled every three to five seconds, urine empties every few hours.
Ethanol Blood Test
Ethanol urine tests are not the most accurate, partly because the alcohol concentration in urine tends to lag behind the actual concentration of alcohol in the blood. Also, ethanol is created naturally in the body by bacteria. How long does alcohol stay in your urine? Only about 1% to 2% of the alcohol a person drinks leaves the body in their urine. The ethanol in alcohol can be detected in a person’s urine within an hour of drinking, and it typically remains detectable for up to 12 hours after the alcohol is consumed.
If you have diabetes, a yeast infection, or are producing ketones like on the keto diet, your body can naturally create enough ethanol to trigger a false positive. This is especially true if the urine sample is left at room temperature, where the microorganisms can continue fermenting glucose and creating more alcohol.
To combat inaccurate readings, you might be asked to give a second urine sample a half-hour after the first one. This serves as a comparison to give a better picture of how long the alcohol has been in the bladder.
How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Urine for EtG? EtG Urine Tests
EtG is shorthand for ethyl glucuronide, a substance created when the liver metabolizes alcohol. It’s generally used for situations where the timing of the drink doesn’t matter, such as when the individual is required to be completely abstinent. EtG hangs around in the body far longer than ethanol does.
The EtG test has been called the “80-hour test,” but it can register a positive up to five days later, depending on how much alcohol the person drank. There’s no hard and fast rule, but here’s a snapshot of real-world test results:
- One beer was detectable 16 hours later.
- Six shots of vodka taken in 3 hours were detectable 54 hours later.
EtG tests are considered the gold standard of alcohol tests because they are much more accurate than other tests. However, they are not helpful in situations where the timing of the alcohol is important. For example, an EtG test may register a positive in a suspected DUI even though the person drank alcohol the day before and isn’t intoxicated.
How long does alcohol stay in your urine? Ethyl glucuronide (EtG) alcohol tests are a newer form of urine test for alcohol. These tests look for EtG, a byproduct of alcohol use, rather than alcohol itself. EtG tests can detect if alcohol has been used within the last 80 hours.
Urine Test for Alcohol Accuracy
Urine testing, such as the EtG test, is inexpensive, popular, and less invasive to detect alcohol in someone’s system. And since alcohol can sometimes remain detectable in the urine for up to two days after ingestion, it accurately indicates a person’s alcohol consumption. How long does alcohol stay in your urine? Alcohol stays in your system for one to three hours, but urine tests and breathalyzers detect alcohol use for up to 24 hours. Hair tests can determine if you drank alcohol in the past 90 days.
But the amount of alcohol in the urine is typically about 1.33 times greater than the amount of alcohol found in the bloodstream. This can sometimes result in tests that conclude a person drank more alcohol than what was realistically consumed. Collecting at least two urine samples about 30 minutes to one hour apart is a good rule of thumb for more accurate results. In summary, how long does alcohol stay in your urine may be best tested via 2 test attempts vs. a single test.
Detection of Alcohol Byproducts in Urine
Alcohol in urine has a relatively short detection window — usually less than a day. But alcohol byproducts, such as ethyl glucuronide (EtG), can be detected in a person’s urine for up to three days after consuming their last drink.
Other lab tests might also test the urine for ethyl sulfate (EtS). EtS is another type of metabolic substance or metabolite that signals the presence of alcohol in a person’s system .
These tests are often more reliable than traditional urine testing and allow for a lengthened detection window, so they are often the testing method of choice by courts to enforce probationary requirements and by rehab programs to ensure effective treatment and identify a possible relapse.
But these tests are not more commonly used than traditional urine testing because they have drawbacks. How long does alcohol stay in your urine? Urine testing is an inexpensive and less invasive way to detect alcohol in a person’s system. Since alcohol can sometimes remain detectable in the urine for up to two days after consumption, urine testing can provide information about alcohol use over longer periods than other tests.
There are several disadvantages to EtG/EtS urine testing, including:
- Higher cost
- Inability to determine the amount of alcohol consumed
- Inability to differentiate between ethanol from alcoholic drinks and alcohol from other products, such as over-the-counter cough and cold medicines, some mouthwashes, body sprays, and hand sanitizers
Many everyday products purchased at grocery stores or pharmacies contain ethanol, which can cause a positive result in a drug test for EtG. These products include over-the-counter, alcohol-based cold and flu medications (e.g., NyQuil), food products (e.g., sauerkraut, balsamic vinegar, vanilla extract), and personal products such as mouthwashes. Additionally, certain popular drinks sold in stores (e.g., kombucha) may contain significant amounts of alcohol. It is also essential to know that supposed non-alcoholic beverages may contain up to 1% ethanol by volume. Thus, do account for this when searching how long does alcohol stay in your urine?
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How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System Breathalyzer Test
So, how long does alcohol stay in your urine vs. breathalyzer test? A breathalyzer test can detect the amount of alcohol in your system for up to 24 hours after consuming an alcoholic beverage. It is important to remember that these tests are designed to indicate your intoxication level and may not accurately detect all alcohol in your system; therefore, it is best to wait at least 8 hours before driving after drinking alcohol.
However, when confronted with how long does alcohol stay in your urine during a traffic stop, know that the time frame may extend depending on the test applied.
Driving Implications – How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your System?
The amount of time that alcohol stays in your system and impacts your driving abilities depends on various factors, including your weight, gender, hydration levels, and the amount that you drink. Generally speaking, alcohol typically leaves your system after a few hours, but it can take longer if you have consumed a high amount. It is always best to err on the side of caution and wait at least 8 hours after drinking before driving.
Regardless, when encountered with how long does alcohol stay in your urine during a police checkpoint, the testing time frame may expand depending on the test used.
Alcohol has a short life span in the body. Alcohol metabolism is when the body breaks down the alcohol and eliminates it from the body. When a person consumes alcohol, it enters the digestive system. About 20 percent of the alcohol from a single drink moves directly to the blood vessels. From there, it’s carried to the brain. The remaining 80 percent goes to the small intestine, then directly to the bloodstream.
Since the alcohol goes to the brain, lungs, and other tissues, a person may feel the effects of alcohol almost immediately after drinking. The effects of alcohol may continue to build for about 15 to 45 minutes. In the last step of the alcohol life cycle, the liver enzymes break down the alcohol into its byproducts and remove them from the body.
Many factors affect how long the effects of alcohol can last and how long does alcohol stay in your urine. Primarily it depends on the time your body takes to efficiently and quickly break down and eliminate the alcohol. Here are some other factors:
- The type and amount of alcohol consumed
- Liver’s health
“How Long Does Alcohol Withdrawal Last?” Infographic
Withdrawal from alcohol is an important first step to overcoming your alcohol-related problems. However, withdrawal isn’t an effective treatment by itself. You’ll need further treatment and support to help you long-term.
Alcohol addiction is a life-threatening condition that can lead to a constant health crisis and may even be fatal. Thus, immediate professional help is the only way to avoid harm to yourself or a loved one. Comfortable alcohol detox is attainable if you seek professional help rather than detox by yourself and face harmful withdrawal symptoms.
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Your body processes alcohol at around one standard-sized drink per hour, but booze can be detected in your blood, breath, and urine for a long time afterward. So, how long does alcohol stay in your urine? The effects of alcohol can vary from person to person, but one thing’s for sure, alcohol abuse can harm your life. And alcoholism can cause permanent damage to the brain and body.
How long does alcohol stay in your urine? Alcohol in urine has a relatively short detection window — usually up to 12 hours. If you’ve tried to quit in the past but ended up drinking or using, that’s a clear sign you need professional help. Get them the safest help they need and deserve. Our We Level Up NJ team specializes in creating an ideal environment and providing effective therapies.
Top 3 How Long Does Alcohol Stay in Your Urine? FAQs
How to pass an EtG test in 24 hours?
Although drinking water does help flush EtG out of your system, it’s a myth that you can use this method to manipulate drug test results reliably. Remember, EtG tests don’t measure the number of drinks you have. Its job is to indicate whether you’ve had any alcohol, not the specific amount. Thus, it is critical to account for products with alcohol when measuring how long does alcohol stay in your urine.
How long does alcohol stay in your urine drug screen?
So, how long does alcohol stay in your urine screening panel? On average, a urine test could detect alcohol between 12 to 48 hours after drinking. Some advanced urine tests can detect alcohol even after 80 hours.
How long does alcohol stay in your urine for EtG?
EtG can be found in the urine much longer than alcohol in the blood or breath. After a few drinks, EtG can be present in the urine for up to 48 hours and sometimes up to 72 hours or longer if the drinking is heavier. It is important to note that how long does alcohol stay in your urine can be impacted by other products that contain alcohol, like cough medicines.
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