How long does alcohol stay in your system?
A period of drinking can normally last for one hour or more. Sometimes, it may go on for several hours. Alcohol does not require much digestion but of course it has to pass through the digestive system. After the consumption of alcohol, 20 percent of it goes into the blood vessels directly from where the blood carries it to the brain and the body. The remaining percentage enters the blood after getting absorbed by the small intestine. If the individual has taken food before the consumption of alcohol, the process slows down. This means that it takes longer for an individual to get intoxicated with food in the stomach and intestine.
Once alcohol enters the bloodstream, it is taken to the liver for metabolization. People get intoxicated at different rates and from different amounts of alcohol but the rate of metabolization is the same for all normal healthy individuals irrespective of their gender, race or weight.
Besides, there are other factors that determine the time alcohol takes to leave the human system. These factors include:
- The rate at which alcohol is consumed
- The amount of food consumed before or during the consumption of alcohol
- The amount of fat content the food had
- Age of the alcohol user
- Body fat content of the user
- Medicines the user has taken recently
- Ethnicity of the alcohol user
Normally, the human liver possesses the ability to metabolize 1 ounce of alcohol in an hour. The blood alcohol level of an average person from 1 ounce will rise to 0.015 or so about every hour. The legal blood alcohol level allowed for driving is 0.08 which takes about 5.5 hours in order to leave the human body. If the rate of alcohol consumption is faster than the rate at which the liver can metabolize it, the process of alcohol leaving the body is a bit different. Someone who drinks at a rate faster than the liver can metabolize, makes his body accumulate alcohol within the blood and tissues.
When the blood alcohol level rises above 0.055, alcohol gets absorbed by the blood and the tissues, resulting in displeasing effects that include depression, nausea, a feeling of personal disorientation, vomiting, irritability and even memory loss.
The duration for which alcohol stays in the urine is 12-36 hours. The stay of alcohol in urine also depends upon the amount of alcohol consumed. Some tests can spot the alcohol in urine for up to 48 hours. Some of the advanced urine tests identify the presence of a substance produced as a result of metabolization of alcohol for a duration of up to 80 hours after the previous drink.
Alcohol can be detected on breath, hair or saliva swab, like most substances. On breath, it can be detected for up to 24 hours after consumption of a previous drink. On hair, alcohol can be detected for approximately 90 days after the previous drink. Traces of alcohol can be found on a saliva swab for up to 10-24 hours after the consumption.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can get you in serious trouble, especially if you are stopped for driving under the influence of alcohol. It is advised never to drink and drive and to contact a criminal defense lawyer in the unlikely event of getting stopped for driving under the influence of alcohol.