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What Causes a False Positive for Alcohol on Urine Screens?

Urine drug screens (UDS) are painless tests that are done to check a person’s urine for the presence of prescription medications and certain illegal drugs. These tests can help doctors and potential employers detect possible substance abuse issues. They are also used in emergency departments if a patient comes in confused or exhibiting strange behavior. And UDS are commonly used in a treatment setting for alcohol and addiction issues. The National Library of Medicine says:

Drug testing, commonly used in health care, workplace, and criminal settings, has become widespread during the past decade. Urine drug screens have been the most common method for analysis because of the ease of sampling. The simplicity of use and access to rapid results have increased demand for and use of immunoassays; however, these assays are not perfect. False-positive results of immunoassays can lead to serious medical or social consequences if results are not confirmed by secondary analysis, such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The Department of Health and Human Services’ guidelines for the workplace require testing for the following five substances: amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine, opiates, and phencyclidine. (NLM)

What Causes a False Positive for Alcohol on Urine Screens?

Urine Drug Screen Tests is Very Common

Urine drug screens are commonly used to detect the following substances: methamphetamines, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, marijuana, cocaine, PCP, methadone, and opioids. Alcohol can also be tested and detected via the urine, but breathalyzer tests are used more often. There are two types of urine drug screens. The immunoassay test and the gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. The immunoassay test is less costly and provides quick results. However, it can produce false-positive results sometimes.

What Products to Avoid Before a Drug Test

This is why many places will send the results on any immunoassay test off to confirm the results. On the other hand, the gas chromatography/mass spectrometry test (GC/MS) or confirmation test is more costly and does take longer, but it rarely produces false positives. No matter what type of drug test is taken, having a false positive is never a good thing. Is there a what causes a false positive for alcohol on urine screens? Is this happening again? What measures can be taken to make sure you do not get a false positive from a drug test. Certain products can be the reason why you get a false positive, we could recommend avoiding them before a drug test. So what are they?

What Are the Reasons for a False Positive Urine Screen?

The test done to detect alcohol in the urine is called an ethyl glucuronide or EtG test. These tests detect the different metabolites of alcohol when the body is breaking it down. EtG can be detected in the urine for up to one to five days after alcohol has been consumed, depending on the amount that has been ingested. EtG tests are very sensitive and can detect low levels of alcohol ingestion, leading to false-positive results. Many different daily items contain alcohol and could cause a false positive for alcohol on a urine screen. Some of these items can include:

  • Mouthwash
  • Some cough syrups and cough drops
  • Breath spray
  • Some gum
  • Kombucha
  • Cleaning products
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Makeup
  • Antiperspirant
  • Aftershave
  • Cologne
  • Hair Dye
  • Any food prepared with alcohol

The National Library of Medicine has a database called the “Household Products Database” that allows individuals to search for products that contain alcohol. Any of these products listed can affect the results of an alcohol urine screen. Other rare instances could cause a false positive result for alcohol on a urine screen. For example, if a urine sample isn’t stored properly or remains at room temperature for too long, it can grow bacteria which will cause EtG levels to rise. Also, a person with diabetes can produce a false positive result if they have a urinary tract infection at the time of testing.

Treatment for Chronic Alcoholism

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, our specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Evoke Wellness at Miramar offers cutting-edge addiction treatment. We are committed to helping you build a foundation for long-term recovery. You don’t have to continue to suffer. Your story isn’t over!  Call us today, all calls are free and confidential, our specialists are available 24/7 and will help you start your road to recovery. They will also answer any questions you may have.