Drugs that have false readings in tests of blood alcohol

When an official police arrest a driver who is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, it is likely to give an alcohol blood test if the initial investigations, as field sobriety test, failed. There are many arguments about why a test for alcohol cannot provide an accurate reading, including how certain drugs affect the test. In particular, the administrator inhaler asthma medication has been found to cause a significant impact on test results.

How does the test work

It is important to learn the science behind alcohol testing to better understand the effects that drugs, such as asthma, may have on test results. The breathalyzer test administered on field determines the amount of alcohol in exhaled air of an individual. The amount of alcohol found is multiplied by 2,100, a number called “partition coefficient” or “partition ratio”. This number is used because the average person is estimated to have ½ of 100 amount of alcohol in the blood.

How asthma inhalers work

The asthma medication that has been found to cause the most problems to achieve accuracy in test results of blood alcohol is the inhaler. Inhalers are devices containing drug laptops that the user inhales and goes directly into the lungs. Inhalers are used for more immediate relief of asthma symptoms. Many inhalers use a chemical propellant to push the medication into the lungs from the inhaler device.

How inhalers affect readings

When administered to the lungs the asthma drug inhaler for the chemical propellant which is used to push the drug generally contains a significant amount of alcohol. While this alcohol does not affect the blood and is never absorbed into the bloodstream, it is retained in the lungs for a period of time and can be exhaled in breath analyzer, giving false positives.

How to avoid false readings

The official administering the breathalyzer test is supposed to wait at least 20 minutes before the test, during which time the subject must ensure that the test be conducted not burp, vomit, or eat anything. Because it has been found that asthma inhalers affect test results only within the first 10 minutes of use, it is imperative that this waiting period of 20 minutes is observed. In addition, take the test several times instead of just once can help give more accurate results.