At Home Drug and Alcohol Test: Types, Benefits, and Accuracy
19 October, 2023
Many people find convenient use for at home drug and alcohol tests. People can use urine test kits, saliva test kits, and personal breathalysers. These kits are cost-effective ways of checking for substance use. They are easy to use and available in pharmacies and online stores. Moreover, certified devices provide accurate results if the person carefully follows the instructions. Thus, they help confirm substance use. However, the results are less accurate compared to laboratory testing.
Misuse of substances like alcohol has many adverse effects. It leads to health conditions like liver diseases, dementia, digestive problems, and heart disease. It also increases the likelihood of dangerous behaviours like drink driving. Home tests are convenient solutions for Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) levels and ensure the safety of the individual. This article will present the types, benefits, and accuracy of drug and alcohol tests used at home.
Types of At Home Drug and Alcohol Tests
There are many different options for at home drug and alcohol tests. Firstly, urine tests are done at home using urine testing kits. These contain test strips and a container for the urine sample. After getting their sample, the person dips the test strip into the specimen and waits for the results. If it detects alcohol or drug metabolites, the strips change colours.
Secondly, there are also urine drug test cups. These cups come with built-in test strips for easier testing. Thirdly, saliva test kits are another option for those seeking instant results. They come with a device to collect the saliva and test strips. Similar to urine test strips, these also change colours upon detecting substances in the saliva.
Lastly, breath tests are done to detect alcohol using breathalysers. These alcohol breath tests use handheld devices to get an accurate BAC reading. Around 15 to 20 minutes after consuming alcohol, the individual blows into the mouthpiece until it signals them to stop. This provides a sample that the sensors inside the device react to. The chemical reaction produces small electrical currents equal to the alcohol in the blood.
Types of Sensors in a Personal Breathalyser
There are many kinds of breathalysers available in the market. They vary in price and features offered. These are the two sensors typically available in personal alcohol breath tests:
- Semiconductor sensors are the most common due to their low costs. It uses a tin-oxide compound to generate electrical currents upon contacting alcohol molecules. However, this compound also interacts with other substances and may cause false positives.
- Fuel cell sensors use two platinum electrodes to oxidise the ethanol found in the breath sample. They are more expensive, but these only react to ethanol, reducing the chances of false-positive results.
Benefits of At Home Drug and Alcohol Tests
There are many benefits to using at home drug and alcohol tests. The foremost advantage is the convenience of these kits. They are available at pharmacies or online stores. Furthermore, they can be done by anyone using the instructions provided. It saves money, time, and effort compared to going to a medical facility for a test.
Another benefit is the privacy. Since these kits are safe for home use, people can check if they have drugs or alcohol in their systems. They do not have to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed as they might in a testing facility. Moreover, they can use these kits before lab testing to check their sobriety before leaving their homes.
Lastly, drug and alcohol tests help those recovering from substance abuse. It also helps those who are trying to limit their alcohol intake. People can monitor the effects of different liquors using personal breath tests. Moreover, it provides an objective assessment of their BAC levels. This enables them to avoid overconsumption of alcohol and risky behaviours like drink driving.
Factors that May Affect BAC Measurement
Some factors can affect how BAC levels are measured. Firstly, the amount of liquor the person consumes is one of the main factors. Heavy alcohol intake provides longer windows for some tests. Moreover, the type of beverage is another factor. Drinks like vodka have higher alcohol content compared to other beverages. Furthermore, the effects of a drink can vary from person to person.
Secondly, different body types metabolise alcohol differently. Those with higher body fat content will have higher BAC levels. Lastly, the food and medications consumed before drinking can affect the processing and absorption of ethanol.
Accuracy of At Home Drug and Alcohol Tests
The accuracy of at home drug and alcohol tests can vary depending on the product bought. It is essential to choose certified devices that pass regulatory requirements and standards. Choose kits with certifications like FDA approval and AS/NZ compliance. Those kits are recommended options because they guarantee the accuracy and trustworthiness of the results.
Moreover, the individual should check the details of the kit. Some kits offer specific sensitivities and detection panels that allow them to detect drugs and alcohol. Some kits cannot find traces of substances at certain levels and produce false negative results. Additionally, people should be aware of the detection windows of the kits. Traces of drugs and alcohol may fade after a few hours and be undetectable, depending on the test.
Furthermore, it is vital to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer. Select a kit that has easy-to-follow instructions and ensure proper collection of samples. Home tests are more prone to false positive and false negative results. Thus, some instances require follow-up lab testing to verify the results, like for legal proceedings.
Other Testing Methods
There are other testing methods for tracing drug and alcohol use done in laboratories. One example is the blood test. Medical professionals collect blood samples by drawing blood from the arm or pricking the finger. Blood tests provide the most accurate results and are often used as evidence for substance use disorders.
Another example is the hair follicle test. In this test, the collector gathers 100-200 strands of hair to use as samples. Lab technicians use testing techniques like Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) or Gas Chromatography-mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) to analyse the specimens. Using this test, they can identify substance use for up to 90 days.
Many people benefit from using at home drug and alcohol tests. Many testing kits are available in the market, including urine, saliva, and breath tests. These offer drug and alcohol assessments without going to medical facilities. A person can get an accurate result by following the instructions listed. However, it is vital to be careful while using these kits, as improper handling can produce false positive or false negative results. Thus, it is essential to use certified and trustworthy devices.
Additionally, the individual should check if they have the correct kit for the substance they hope to detect. Kits and devices have limitations on the type and amount of substance they can trace. For monitoring alcohol intake, personal breathalysers are available in Breathalysers New Zealand. These devices have advanced features and police-grade sensors that provide accurate and reliable BAC readings.