Drug testing refers to the examination of biologic material (such as urine, hair, saliva, or sweat) to detect the presence of specific drugs and determine prior drug use. Drug tests may be performed to detect illicit drug use as well as the use of drugs and substances not permitted in specific occupations or athletic competitions.
There are several other scenarios where a drug test might be necessary. For example, your primary care doctor may order this test if they suspect you have a problem with drugs or alcohol. An emergency room doctor may also request this test if you’re confused or your behavior seems strange or dangerous.
Many employers require potential employees to take a drug test before they can be hired. One benefit of the urine drug screen is that it can keep people with drug problems out of jobs that require the ability to be alert and focused. For instance, an air traffic controller or truck driver who uses drugs could put the safety of many people at risk. Testing may also lower the risk of on-the-job accidents.
Drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers test residents on a regular basis. This helps ensure that people receiving treatment for drug or alcohol abuse stay sober. If you’re on probation or parole for a drug- or alcohol-related offense, the officer in charge of your case may request random drug tests to verify your sobriety.
Finally, the tests can be used in home settings. For instance, a family member may want a loved one to take this test to prove that they’re not using drugs or alcohol. If you plan to use an at-home test, it’s a good idea to consult with your family doctor or another health professional beforehand. They can advise you on how to follow up if the test is positive.
What Happens If I You Fail A Drug Test?
Failing a drug test can have several consequences whether you are applying for a job, moving to a new position, serving in the military or undergoing a judicial process they include;
If you fail a drug test for a company that you’re seeking employment at, it is unlikely that you will get the job. A failed drug test makes an unforgettable and unfavorable impression. If you fail a drug test for a company you’re already working for, then there’s a high probability that you’ll be terminated immediately. You should always be aware of your company’s policy on drugs or decide not to use drugs in the first place.
Consequences on Return to Duty
When it comes to work, if you fail a drug test but don’t get fired, you may have to take a “return to duty” drug test before you can start working again. If this happens, you will want to make sure you pass this test. If you fail two drug tests for one company, not only are you likely to be fired, but the company won’t be able to recommend you to other places of employment. SEE: New DOT Drug Testing Cutoff Levels 2019
Consequences on Judicial Processes
You may face serious consequences if you fail a drug test while on probation. In these situations, the probation officer may write a report for the judge. Then, the judge will determine your course of punishment. You could be given a warning or you could be sent to jail. Needless to say, this will not put you in good standing with the court.
Consequences Of Failing A Drug Test In The Military
The military is one of the only jurisdictions in the country that has the ability to criminally prosecute drug cases based only on a urinalysis test or a failed drug test. More often than not, drug cases are resolved through administrative processing for separation. The Air Force tends to prosecute more cases at courts-martial than the other branches.
If military or service man receives a positive drug test result, he or she may be subject to the following consequences:
- Nonjudicial punishment pursuant to Article 15 and discharge
- Mast/NJP followed by an administrative discharge proceeding
What to do if a drug test comes back with a false positive
When a drug test comes back negative and you know that you have never used recreational drugs in your life, there could be several options open to you. Knowing what can cause a false positive, and what you can do about it can save your reputation, and help you get the job or life you want. Up to 15% of drug tests will register a false positive, or a false negative. The impact of a false positive can have devastating results, it can lead to a termination from a job, missing out on an employment opportunity, or in the worst case even being arrested and incarcerated. With the millions of people subject to drug testing, 15% can have a significant impact on the lives of a huge part of our population.
What can be done to prevent a false positive
Before you take a drug test, you should research what medications or foods could result in a false positive. While we will provide you with a few of the things to look for, it’s always a good idea to research on your own as well.
Common Cold Medications
Have you had the sniffles lately or a sinus infection? Using cold medication to relieve symptoms from sinus congestion or a cold can help you feel better quickly. However, it may also cause a false positive on your drug test. The main ingredient found in common OTC cold and sinus medication is Pseudoephedrine, a synthetic amphetamine, and a common ingredient in methamphetamine.
Depending on the drug, it may return false positive for amphetamine use. If you are scheduled for a drug test with a few days of taking a cold medicine, make sure to disclose what you have taken on any documentation you are required to fill out.
Most of us have heard stories about the peril of eating a poppy seed bagel before taking a drug test, but the stories are true. Traces of opium and even codeine can be found in your system up to two days later after eating a poppy seed bagel, or any other food that contains poppy seeds. So if you know, you have to take a drug test for your new job, maybe a plain bagel is a good idea.
Sometimes the things you take to make you healthy can end up causing a false positive on a drug screen. Vitamin B supplements, specifically Riboflavin (B2) and herbs that contain B vitamins can be the culprit if you have a false positive drug test.
While most Riboflavin is commercially made with plant or lactose carbohydrates that have been fermented, some could still be made from hempseed oil, which will contain traces of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the active ingredient in marijuana and can result in a false positive depending on the test.
Medications like Wellbutrin and other tricyclic antidepressants can also lead to a false positive for amphetamines. Other similar drugs like Zoloft can also create a false positive. Also, some antibiotics like amoxicillin and ampicillin, as well as most pain medications, even over the counter like ibuprofen, can contribute to a failed drug test. If you take or have taken any medication before your drug test, you should write down what you have taken and in what dose. If you still have the bottle, it’s a good idea to bring it with you to the testing facility.
How to Respond to a False Positive Test
It can be emotional to hear that you have lost a job, or an opportunity due to a failed drug test, especially when you know that you don’t use drugs. However, it’s important to focus on what you need to do to remedy the situation.
If you have disclosed any and all medications you have taking to the testing facility, you should contact your employer’s human resource department to make sure that any prescriptions or over the counter drugs you were taking were clearly indicated on the documents provided to your company by the laboratory.
If the false positive occurred during the hiring process, you would want to reach out to the recruiter you were working with to discuss the situation with them. They may want to contact the lab to see if there may have been a mistake on the first test.
Your Options Following a False Positive
Most companies will allow you to test again; it is advisable that you refrain from taking medications, or vitamins that may have contributed to the false positive on the first test. If you are on a drug, and you cannot stop taking the medication, it’s best to bring the medicine to the test and explain to the tester that you are concerned that it may cause the false positive.
If the second test comes back positive, you will then want to schedule a meeting with the person who manages the testing policies in your company. You will want to come prepared to discuss any medications you have been taking, and why you believe the positive test is false. If it is a job you have applied for, reach out to the company and see if you can meet with someone in their organization that handles the companies hiring.
While having a second failed test can be disappointing it doesn’t mean you have to accept what the result is. It is important that you act in a professional manner, and arrive at all meetings prepared. If after you meet with your human resources department, they do not accept your reasons for the false positive result, at that point you will need to determine if you want to pursue a legal course of action. READ: Does Kratom Show Up On A Drug Test?