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Highlighting how alcohol is metabolized in the body

Most in Brooklyn likely have a good understanding of the affect that alcohol has on the body, yet it is also well known that it does eventually work its way out of one’s system. Understanding how alcohol is metabolized in the body may help people better understand how long they should wait after drinking to be able to safely get behind the wheel again.

According to information shared by the Department of Recreation and Wellness at Bowling Green University, trace amounts of alcohol are immediately absorbed by the tongue and mucosal lining of the mouth upon ingestion. From there, it goes to the stomach, where it then enters the bloodstream by penetrating the tissue lining of the stomach and small intestine. Once in the bloodstream, it is then carried throughout the body, making one feel it’s full affect within 15-45 minutes.

The liver carries the primary responsibility of detoxifying alcohol in the body. It secretes an enzyme called alcohol dehydrogenase, which breaks down alcohol and reduces one’s blood alcohol content by roughly 0.015 per hour. Starting with a BAC concentration of the legal limit of 0.8, that means that level will reduced by half in about 2.5-3 hours, and completely out of one’s system within six.

Knowing this information may make it easier to challenge an accusation of being under the influence. With breathalyzer tests having a 50 percent margin for error (according to information shared by the National Motorists Association), that could mean that a measurement of 0.8 taken with a breathalyzer could actually be as low as 0.3. If a confirmatory blood test taken an hour later produces a similar lower reading, one may counter a claim of his or her body simply metabolized a large amount of alcohol in that time. 

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