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DUI & Absorption of Alcohol


DUI's and the absorption of alcohol into the blood stream:

Alcohol usually enters the body through the oral cavity, or as it is called, the mouth.  Once it has entered the body it travels down the esophagus into the stomach.  The stomach is comprised of gastric folds, digestive enzymes, mucus, and the pyloric valve, or pyloric muscle as it is called. Once the alcohol enters the stomach, absorption will begin.  While minute amounts may actually occur prior even prior to the alcohol entering the stomach, the main areas the stomach and small intestine.

Fresno DUI Attorney: Understanding the science behind DUI Defense
Fresno DUI Attorney: Understanding the science behind DUI Defense

Once the alcohol enters the stomach, absorption will being.  The alcohol, in large part, will continue on its course.  It will travel toward the pyloric valve, which is a muscle that controls gastric emptying into the small intestine.  Gastric emptying can occur quite rapidly, or take hours, depending on numerous factors. 

Once it is allowed to pass through the pyloric opening, it will enter the small intestine.  The small intestine is called this due to the diameter, not the length.  It is actually longer than the large intestine, just much smaller in diameter.  The surface area is much greater, which allows for more interaction between the surface, and the alcohol.  The interaction allows for absorption into the blood stream, primarily the hepatic or Portal vein.

Many factors come into play when attempting to estimate absorption rates.  Digestive tract problems, stomach issues, food present in the stomach, and different drugs can cause delayed gastric emptying and/or absorption of alcohol into the blood stream. 

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