Educating for safety – take our drug and alcohol testing challenge

Could you fail drug testing or alcohol testing the day after a big night out?

It’s time to head back to the classroom, not for maths, English or science learning, but for drug and alcohol education. Specifically, it’s time to learn whether you could fail drug or alcohol testing today if you took drugs yesterday.

To do this, let’s look at two different scenarios. Read through them and then decide if the person would fail or pass if faced with drug and alcohol testing the day after a night on the town.

Scenario 1 – Alcohol testing

Picture this. It’s a lazy Sunday afternoon and you’re basking in the warmth of camaraderie with your friends at a local hangout, savouring a few drinks. Despite the end of the weekend looming and work the next day, the allure of extending the festivities is irresistible. So, you and your companions decide to continue the fun back at your place, armed with beers and bottles of spirits.

What’s your decision? If you faced roadside alcohol testing or workplace alcohol testing the next day would you pass or fail?

While we would love to be definitive, the true answer is that it’s difficult to know. To begin with, we don’t know exactly how much you had to drink – and if you’re like most people who’ve had a big night on the alcohol, you wouldn’t know either!

There are also individual and other factors at play. The rate at which people metabolise alcohol can vary significantly from person to person. Factors such as gender, age, body composition, and overall health all influence this process, along with whether you’ve eaten recently.

What we can do is use some rough guidelines. It typically takes an average individual about an hour to process one standard alcoholic drink. It’s essential to note that this refers to a standard drink, not a pint of beer or the extra-long shot of spirits you might have indulged in at 2 a.m.

So, if you adhere to consuming one standard drink per hour, you would certainly be okay to work the next day. Of course, most people drink more than this and in any case it’s prudent to allow for a margin of error. Can you truly be certain that the beer, wine or spirits you’re sipping is a standard drink? It might be higher in volume or have a higher alcohol content.

You could try using an online blood alcohol concentration calculator. However, a quality breathalyser is really the only way to know if you will be safe to work and drive the next day.

Scenario 2 – Drug testing

You and your friends pop an ecstasy tablet each while dancing at the local club late on a Saturday night. You eagerly await the surge of happiness, vitality, and confidence, while at the same time worrying about tomorrow. Your friends have the day off, but you need to start your shift at 8am.

Do you think the person should be worried? If he took a drug test the next day – either at work or while driving to work – would he likely fail?

Again, there are individual factors that need to be considered, but our friend certainly should be worried. Ecstasy, or MDMA, can stay in your system for a lengthy period. According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, it can be detected by saliva drug testing for around two days after use.

The other issue is that the pill you think is ecstasy may contain more than just MDMA. In some cases, it might not even contain any MDMA at all. It could instead include amphetamine, ketamine and other substances that come with a litany of potential side effects.

The upshot is that failing drug testing might be the least of your worries.

Don’t risk failing drug and alcohol testing

Driving or working after taking drugs or drinking alcohol can land you in trouble. You can fail drug or alcohol testing. More importantly, you’re putting yourself and others at risk.

If you are planning on drinking or taking drugs, plan not to work or drive until you know you are safe. The risk simply isn’t worth it.


Could you fail drug testing or alcohol testing the day after a big night out?

By Michael

Michael is the founder of Integrity Sampling and is responsible for overseeing all national operations. He is based at Integrity Sampling's head office in Melbourne and is also responsible for the co-ordination of drug and alcohol testing within Victoria, assisting in the implementation of drug and alcohol (fit for work) policies and the presentation of drug and alcohol education and awareness programs. You can connect with Michael Wheeldon on LinkedIn

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