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.  

27 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. 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.

      1. In that case then I have to ask you a question my son it’s been in the hospital and I called up there that morning and they said that he was unresponsive and thoroughly well by the time we got up there he was awake wide awake and he was fine now my son has never been a morning person who’s always been afternoon person and behind his back they did a urine test and swapping down that he had drugs in his system when he’s been there for 4 months and I said there’s no way anyway they’re keeping me and my husband away from our son his test results came back as false positive and then they sent it back to another lab to prove that it was positive but it’s going to be a false positive again because my son doesn’t do drugs not only that they’re keeping me in my husband away from my son and if we do see him we can only see him for 15 minutes or less and we have to be separated this is not right what can we do

  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

      1. I was asked about my THC usage and I did not care to disclose that as it was not relevant to my blood and urine tests. It turned into a confrontation because I tested positive. My husband was there and although he was aware, I can only imagine a situation in which the spouse wasn’t aware. I never consented to a drug test.

      2. That’s funny she has a stroke and no telling what else she lost, and all you can say is let Medicaid take care of her going to be sad life and pain for the rest of her life. @#$%^&*&^% I didn’t pay taxes all of my life so someone could take a life and give me a job care giving through my pocket when she was perfectly healthy prior to that. The Dr. he needs to be flogged thinking he can control someones life like there a puppet.

    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.

    2. I took was drug tested without my consent an I even specifically ask what test did my CFNP order to run on my blood test …DRUG SCREEN WAS NOT DISCUSSED OR MENTIONED!! I WAS NOT Aware of the Drug screen “15 of 20” Until I got the bill in full from my insurance as well as the Clinic! Had I NOT BEEN LIED TOO when I ask specifically what test were being run.. I would have refused the test !! So What Do We do — can the CFNP be held legally liable AND Can we have test an results deleted from med. Records as well as insurance an other data basis !!!

  9. My issue is slightly different from what I have read so far. I went to the er after fainting 2x in one day and both I was confused and scared I had a migraine as well. I was admitted to observation. Lets back up and mention that the first migraine incident in Az was in 2011 which is when the protocol and records were faxed to the er. More recently,in the migraine and fainting episode, like most encounters with a doctor for a chronic issue, he asked “what usually helps?” What meds do they give you for your migraine?” I informed him that i moved to AZ in 2011 and that i had been diagnosed with migraines before that, That the hospital back home had a protocol made especially for me when I came into the er. because they had gotten it right and helped me. I informed him my neurologist from home could send that info over to see if i can get some releif. The hospital in IL faxed everything pertaining to my migraines and what works for me, physician notes ect. to the er i was in. They followed the protocol and I didnt go back for years, Fast forward again to dec 2023 that asked the question of what usually works. When I answered the question I said Decadron,dilaudid and I drew a blank,couldn’t remember the rest. He told me That he doesent like giving dilaudid. I said well can you pull up my chart and look at the protocol and try the others because at this point I was willing to try anything. He refused to medicate me and discharged me. When I read my chart days later it says : patient requested “dilaudid” by name saying it was in her “migraine cocktail” to note, I never found any records or info from an out of state hospital in her chart for a neurologist she hadnt seen in over a decade” that was in 2011. 2 days ago I went to the er at a different hospital, checked my chart and the physican copied and pasted the same comments.

  10. Hi, I’m a 64 year old woman and I have COPD and I’m on oxygen it’s been very hard for me to deal with. A friend that has COPD told me that he got tired of not being able to breathe so he said he thought that meth would help me breathe better cause it worked for him. So I tried it, to my amazement it helped it felt so good to breathe better. So now I use it a few times a day, but I know that I shouldn’t be doing it,and now I’m afraid my Dr will do blood work and find it in my system, and it’s going to cause me all kinds of problems. But honestly I can’t believe I’m doing this so my question is can my Dr do a drug test without my consent? Thank you
    Miss. B

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