Can A Doctor Do A Drug Test Without Consent?

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In general, no doctor can conduct drug urine testing or any form of drug testing/ screening on an individual without their prior consent. When it comes to testing someone for substance abuse, primary care clinicians are required to politely ask for the patient’s permission unless it involves a felony or a child safety issue. Drug testing without prior permission can result in a breach of trust. A patient might not feel uncomfortable with drug testing considering the stigma attached to it. More importantly, a positive or even a false positive result might cause conflicts between the patient and his/her family. 

Why is consent an essential part of drug testing/ screening? 

Both drug testing and divulging medical information require consent from the individual in question or their legal guardian. Most states require the consent of the patient before conducting either of the two be it for whatever reason. Some states require documented consent whereas some states allow oral consent as well. The main reasons why consent is essential are:-

  • Breach of trust:  Say a patient asks to be tested for blood sugar and cholesterol levels and requires urine testing. They expect to be tested for the same. If a drug and alcohol test is conducted and the patient is confronted with the test results, it can result in a breach of trust because the patient will feel cheated. 
  • Breach of doctor-patient confidentiality: Divulging a drug test result without the prior consent of the patient to the patient party or anyone else can result in a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality. As per HIPPA regulations, doctors are not allowed to disclose any medical information about a patient unless the individual or the state sanctions it.
  • Breach of privacy: Once a clinician orders a test, the health insurance carrier of the patient will know about it. However, the result of the tests can only be disclosed to the third-party payer only if the patient sanctions it. 
  • Financial reasons:  Most insurance companies do not cover health insurance if a patient’s drug test result is rendered positive. This is one of the prime reasons why most patients refuse to conduct one due to the fact that they have to pay it out of their pockets. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the patient consents to a drug test before conducting one. 

What are the exceptions to state laws protecting vital medical information?

Certain strictures apply to the case of asking a patient for their consent before conducting a drug test. The only exceptions for drug testing without the prior consent of the individual in concern are as follows:-

  • Felony: If an individual is facing criminal charges related to drug and substance abuse, doctors do not need to get formal consent from anyone. It falls under the jurisdiction of the state and the results are also essential in any relevant criminal investigation. Medical professionals are allowed to disclose health information about such individuals in such cases. 
  • Child abuse: Child Protective Services (CPS) can also get involved in the case of pregnant mothers who are implicated in child endangerment by taking drugs during their pregnancy. 

Why Affordable Rapid Testing, AZ solves every problem related to drug testing

As an adult, you have every right to have prior knowledge about drug testing/screening even if there is a legal requirement as per State and Federal law. Care should be taken to not disclose any patient information or conduct drug tests without prior consent from the patient. Failure to adhere to these laws can result in severe consequences like revoking a medical license, fines or even jail time. Affordable Rapid Testing, Arizona offers seamless and hassle-free drug testing by following all legal and consent-related mandates required. With dedicated testing centers located in both Scottsdale and Phoenix, Affordable Rapid Testing guarantees the accuracy of the test results. To know more about them, you can check out their official website.  

19 thoughts on “Can A Doctor Do A Drug Test Without Consent?”

  1. Is it legal for a doctor to take a Irvine sample out of the bottle of urine hanging on my bed while The patient is asleep and have it drug screened with no prior consent?

    1. Doctor cann’t conduct drug urine testing or any form of drug testing/ screening on an individual without their prior consent.

      1. My fiance was drug tested without prior concent and felt very violated . To make it worse the dr spoke of the results to her and she was not happy . It was never asked prior to doing so and now she doesn’t trust him . Can we call the police and press charges against him for violating her rights by doing so . They even put the results in her medical file to follow and allows all to her private information and is incomprehensible how wrong that is and is an issue that Dr can loose his medical license and can possibly go to jail for violating her rights without consenting her prior to doing so .

        1. Same happened with me then was told my results would go into a databank. I believe the aclu needs to take this back up again. We should all file claims.

  2. When in fact, It was the doctor’s fault for not prescribing me proper medication for my high blood pressure, and he refused to because I couldn’t pay for a doctor’s visit. So, I had a stroke. And my doctors decided to tell my entire family that it was due to using drugs. Is that legal?

    1. Avatar of ellie wierenga
      Ellie Wierenga

      Hi Katie,I’m so sorry about your stroke. I hope you are ok&doing better. Have you tried getting on Medicaid through the State?Maybe they can help.There also may be low income clinics in your area. Praying for you Katie,that God heals you

    2. Avatar of ellie wierenga
      Ellie Wierenga

      I think doctors are way out of line I use MJ for my chronic degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis in my hip but still get tested for it at my doctor’s office. it is legal.So how can doctors test for something that has been legalized?

  3. I saw My CRNP for a possible UTI, & a knee injury. She said “let’s get a urine test to make sure it was a UTI. I got a call 4 days later & She said something showed up & who Prescribed it ? But a Month/half prior to that I consented to a Tox Screen. She never gave Me the results and it is not listed on My Health plan portal. Now She wants to see Me every month??! Will not prescribe antibiotics for UTI. She also refused to continue to prescribe My Med for Migraines which have been on it for 3 different reasons since 1984. Think She is being Biased because I mentioned that My One Son was in treatment (long story, was railroaded by PO) but was on Subutex. In treatment they took it off Him Cold Turkey, then replaced it with 6 Meds . Think all were Antidepressants. He was doing great on the Subutex for 3 yrs. When He got out He was a walking talking Lunatic. I no I can’t take any of those Meds cause I have the reverse affect. Same with Him. I know Ppl in My Apt Bldg are on 8-13 of Them. They have no clue where they are at, their name, date, time, etc Have seen these once vibrant People become Lifeless, Zombies, and have died. I am so mad at this Nurse. Whom I adored at one time. But She crossed the line. Was All smiles, “let’s just get a sample”. Now this crap. Changing DR’s. Why didn’t She ever mention the first Tox Screen??? I thought it was ok & was a 30 day panel. The last was 4 day. I’m a retired Med Asst. So I do know about this & lab work, which She has ignored Blood or Urine results that were 50-100 above normal level. So cause of that I had a TIA. Getting a Lawyer.

  4. what branch of law or kind of lawyer would I need to file suit for
    drug test without my knowledge, consent or justification –
    I’m retired/of retirement age – not an employment issue
    never been tested before
    never been arrested or charged
    Clean bill of health
    Do not take any prescribed ingestible drugs
    thank you

    1. What we should do if there are enough of us is to take it up with the aclu who have protested against things like this before. There’d be quite a few of us. It goes deeper than not giving consent to your doctor but, the test results go into a database.

  5. Why do Dr’s do this to elderly pt. After giving them meds?? To cover their behind or what my grandparents were tested all the time by their Dr

  6. My doctor tested my urine without my permission where cannabis was present/ recieved call from assistant to come in immediately to discuss with doctor ! I feel violated / my trust in my doctor is compromised. I need a lawyer . Rodolfo

    1. Avatar of ellie wierenga
      Ellie Wierenga

      I think doctors are way out of line I use MJ for my chronic degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis in my hip but still get tested for it at my doctor’s office. it is legal.So how can doctors test for something that has been legalized?

  7. I did not know my permission was required! Several times I have been ambushed and cooperated because I thought I had to. Each time I felt degraded. I’m a senior citizen retired. Last time I was treated like a criminal. I had a shy bladder. Then she stuck something in my mouth. Nothing… Because I was so nervous my mouth was dry! Then she chastised me for taking 30 minutes!..I may be old but I’m not stupid. I was 15 mins. She told me to come back the next morning.
    I am going to deny these embarrassing and nasty events in the future. And get this…no results provided.

    1. I made a plea deal with the Assistant District Attorney pertaining to Mist. and felony charge. After speaking with me, drug charges were dropped. 3 days later at my dr. Appt. I told my doctor and that i had an appt. Right after my wellness check with him. He then asked for a urine test and i didnt have time for it. The appt. was already over the time frame by 10 minutes. I was going to be late to my meeting with the county people but was told I couldn’t leave till I gave them urine. He was going to call ahead and I told him not to. Just drop it. So he wrote me a note to take and I told him NOT TO CALL THEM. He did anyway and it was to the ADA not my county appt. So because of him saying i gave them trouble and was mad about taking a urine test, Now the ADA put all charges back on. Did he have a right to discuss even that I was seen by him that day? Let alone what about and why I was there? I told him not to call, and I didn’t even get the well check and that was what the appt. was for.

  8. I too was drug tested w/out my permission and after learning of this due to a couple of nurses at the hospital I went to after a rollover accident, in which I sustained a minor head injury(not my fault, and no law enforcement involved) suddenly one morning decided I was not being cooperative with them (I had just been awakened for the 4th time for no reason) . They began talking in unusually loud voices saying it was no wonder I was in such a bad mood being that I “was coming down off drugs” I was shocked because not only did people who did not work at the hospital overhear what was being discussed in voices loud enough to be heard down the hall, but this was the first I knew that I was secretly without my consent or knowledge being drug tested. The doctor had never even discussed the results of these tests with me. I checked out of the hospital immediately against the doctors’ advice. I quit seeing the doctor who ordered the drug screen behind my back. Is there any way to get the drug screen expunged fro, my health record?

    1. The way they treated you was unethical. Some people should never work in the medical field. Keep a recorder on you just in case something like that might happen again. Some doctors and nurses are just there to collect a paycheck and not the reasons they should be which is caring about patients. I just had a drug screen done on me that I never consented to. I’ve been really frustrated especially after being told it’ll go into the data bank. I believe enough people getting together should protest this to the aclu or somewhere. I feel like my privacy has been invaded and a bridge between doctor patient confidentiality.

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