The Truth About False Positives & Employment Drug Screens

Drug screening test affordable rapid testing

Employee drug and alcohol testing has become a standard procedure both before and after employment. Most industrial, corporate and government job sectors have enforced this policy for decades. However, it has recently become a stringent mandate with the increasing number of cases of opioid abuse in the nation. As per the U.S. News and World Report, the highest number of positive drug urine-based drug tests have been recently recorded in Oregon, Vermont, Maine, Alabama, Massachusetts and Louisiana. Another issue to consider is the possibility of false positives rendered after regular drug tests. Here, you will learn more about the truth about false positives in drug testing/screening so you can be well-informed before applying for a job that requires you to get tested.

What are false positives when it comes to drug tests?

A false positive drug test is one that detects the presence of a substance or medication that one hasn’t ingested. There are numerous medications and edibles that can result in a false positive drug test result. Panel drug tests, although quick and effective have high chances of returning positive results because of the presence of “imposter” substances in the specimen sample. It can be due to the use of over-the-counter or prescribed medications, certain foods and nutritional supplements.

Despite sensitivity of immunoassay test panels being continually optimized, false positive test results will always be a raging issue due to the evergrowing number of substances and prescription drugs.

What causes false positives?

False positive test results can be rendered by numerous prescribed medications, foods and supplements. The table below will help you understand what legal substances can result in positive results for drug tests:-

Drug-Testing TargetPotential Source of False-Positive
AmphetamineCold remedies, nasal decongestants, hay fever remedies, Fluoxetine (Prozac), diet pills, Bupropion (Wellbutrin), Methylphenidate (Ritalin), beta blockers (blood-pressure remedies)
BarbituratesSleep medication, Naproxen Sodium (Aleve), Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin),
BenzodiazepinesSertraline (Zoloft), Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin)
CocaineCoca tea
MarijuanaHemp food items, Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin)
MethadoneQuetiopine (Seroquel)
Opiates/morphinePoppy seeds (rare issue in modern panel tests)
Phencycladine (PCP)Diphenhydramine (Benadryl), Dextromethorphan (cough suppressant), Antihistamines, Ibuprofen (Advil/Motrin), 

Re-testing policies for false positive tests 

To prevent false positives in drug urine testing, most labs will labs collect two specimens. If a test is rendered positive, they send the second specimen for re-testing. For confirmation more sensitive and testing methods like HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography) or GC-MS (gas chromatography–mass spectrometry) are used. These methods are more precise than standard panel tests and can differentiate between chemical imposters and target substances.

The medical research officer (MRO) reviews all test results, and also ensures the secure handling of specimens from the collection to the testing process. They also document each step of the testing procedure. When a test result is rendered positive, they contact the subject to check if they are taking any medications or supplements and then send another specimen for a confirmation test. Only the MRO has the medical right to declare an accurate positive result as “false” upon detecting any legitimate drug in the specimen and makes the final certification.

Disputing a false positive drug test

There are many legalities involved if you want to disputes a positive test and they vary from state to state. In some countries, employers offer the opportunity of retesting by using the original specimen. In others, the individual has to pay for a retest procedure out of their pockets.

Why choose Affordable Rapid Testing for the most accurate drug screens

Drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace can be dangerous and may have severe consequences. With the rising number of substance abuse cases in the country, companies are always on the lookout for a reliable drug and alcohol testing service. Affordable Rapid Testing, AZ offers the quickest drug testing services. With dedicated testing centers located in Phoenix and Arizona, they guarantee the highest possible accuracy of test results at the lowest rates possible. To learn more about their services, check out their website.

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