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Do EtG tests in West Virginia really work?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2023 | Criminal Defense

EtG (ethyl glucuronide) tests have seen wide use in a variety of settings in West Virginia. The test is used to monitor the presence of ethyl glucuronide, which is a byproduct of alcohol consumption, in a person’s body, .

What is ethyl glucuronide?

EtG is ethanol in its broken-down form. Ethanol is the component in alcohol that makes a person feel drunk. The EtG test is most commonly applied to urine, but it’s also possible to use an EtG test to determine if there’s any EtG in an individual’s nails, hair or blood.

This test is a widely used method of checking if an individual has abstained from alcohol use. But the accuracy level of this test has been called into question, and there are some misconceptions about it.

An EtG test doesn’t show whether or not you are currently intoxicated, for instance, so it’s not ideal for workplace testing programs. More commonly, this test is used in programs for people who have had a DUI, DWI or are on probation. The test may also come into play in certain types of court cases, such as child custody.

For some professions, alcohol consumption has to be monitored. This might include people who work in healthcare, airline pilots and attorneys. It’s also used to monitor patients who are undergoing liver transplant surgery.

Can this test be trusted?

One matter of concern is the potential for false positives from regular products that have alcohol in them. Toiletries like aftershave, mouthwash and deodorant all have the potential to compromise an EtG test result. Hand sanitizers and hair dyes might also give you a false positive.

If the person being tested had any alcohol in their system in the past five days, EtG can be detected by this test. The latest data shows that EtG tests provide accurate results at least 70% of the time when used on a person who had been drinking recently.