Breathalyzers are a common form of seeing whether or not someone is intoxicated. Unfortunately, all of the limitations breathalyzers give can make the results misleading. In the near future, authority figures will have a better understanding if someone is intoxicated with the use of sweat-test strips which can mean more lives will be saved.

The Limitations of Breathalyzers

Breathalyzers measure the amount of ethanol in a person’s breath which tells you the amount of alcohol in a person’s bloodstream. The results of a breathalyzers can be misleading by the use of mouthwash or breath fresheners or if a diabetic has acetone in their breath. People also have to blow into a breathalyzer for 10 full seconds, meaning this person needs to be conscious.

How Sweat-Test Strips Work

The University of Albany currently have a prototype ready for sweat-test strips, but are hoping to create a final product to distribute commercially. When the strip is placed against the skin of a suspected intoxicated person, any present ethanol creates a visible color spot after 60-90 seconds. The darker the color spot, the more alcohol is in the system. Unfortunately, there is a delay in ethanol reaching the sweat as it can take 10-15 minutes for the ethanol to transfer from the blood to the sweat once it is metabolized. The ethanol goes through the stomach, through the blood, and then to the tissues. 

The research team tested the technology by having 26 volunteers consume several shots of vodka to get a .08% BAC. More than 100 readings were performed on these subjects for a few hours using a commercial breathalyzer and sweat-test strips. It showed there was a strong correlation obtained through the two methods. The University of Albany hopes to create a smartphone app that will work with the sweat strips.

Sweat Potential

The team has said that your sweat has a unique signature like a fingerprint of a saliva sample. It is influenced by what is put in the body but remains stable across days. Everyone has different signatures in their sweat since there are various amounts of active metabolites in our sweat. If sweat-test strips end up being successful and commercially distributed, police officers will be able to give more accurate results when pulling over someone for drunk driving. Sweat-test strips can end up saving lives on the road and show others that they need to be in treatment.

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.