Ethanol (alcohol) measurement by enzymatic assay.
Alcohol is initially rapidly absorbed from the stomach into the bloodstream where it acts on the brain to give a variety of effects dependent on the dose. At low concentrations, alcohol relaxes and tends to lower inhibitions to some extent. As concentrations increase, motor skills and reaction times get worse. Nausea and vomiting can occur, and mood can range from quiet or depressed to loud or violent. If drinking continues, severe impairment of concentration and motor skills can lead to unconsciousness. Continued absorption of alcohol from the stomach after unconsciousness can cause death. Metabolism is primarily through the liver and follows zero order kinetics, i.e. the rate of metabolism is independent of the amount drunk. The rate of metabolism will be dependent on the individual, and can be increased by enzyme induction and tolerance, although as liver damage increases this will reverse. There is also some racial and sexual variation in alcohol metabolism, although the observed effects are usually a combination of consumption, tolerance and body size. Alcohol is legally sold in a large number of licensed premises, and laboratory testing is rarely concerned with illicit alcohol. Police testing is generally concerned with the impairment associated with alcohol, and an acute hospital may measure alcohol to differentially diagnose clinical or alcoholic symptoms.
*Please note:* the methods used are not suitable for police/legal purposes