The Best Defense For False Positive Drug Test
In today’s society, the requirement to undergo a drug test can arise for various reasons. Whether it’s for employment purposes, participation in sports, or other circumstances, drug tests have become a common practice. For those who have never dabbled in illicit substances, the notion of a drug test may initially seem inconsequential—until an unexpected false positive result throws everything off balance. Suddenly, questions arise as you turn to friends and search engines in a frantic attempt to learn how to dispute a false positive drug test result. A false positive occurs when a drug screening indicates the presence of a substance that an individual has not consumed. Surprisingly, certain foods, medications, or other innocuous substances can trigger these misleading outcomes. While drug tests are designed to detect drugs or illegal substances within a person’s system, they are not foolproof and can sometimes yield false positives. Understanding the concept of false positives and learning how to avoid this predicament becomes crucial for anyone anticipating a drug test. Although urine drug screens are the most prevalent form of testing, other bodily fluids may also be analyzed. Consequently, numerous commonly used substances possess the potential to trigger false-positive results. If you are
Exploring the Types of Drug Tests
Within the realm of drug testing, several prominent approaches have emerged, each tailored to target specific substances and offer varying detection windows. We will explore the following types of drug tests:
- Urine Drug Tests: The most common and widely used method, urine tests can detect various substances and provide insights into recent drug use.
- Saliva Drug Tests: Offering a non-invasive and convenient alternative, saliva tests are gaining popularity for their ability to detect recent drug use and impairment.
- Hair Drug Tests: Hair analysis provides a long-term perspective, enabling the detection of drug use over an extended period, making it useful in certain scenarios.
- Blood Drug Tests: Blood screenings offer precise and immediate results, making them valuable in situations requiring accurate and current information on drug presence.
Each of these tests presents unique advantages and considerations, making them suitable for specific purposes and settings. Understanding their mechanisms, detection capabilities, and limitations empowers individuals and organizations to make informed decisions regarding drug testing protocols.
Substances Detected in Drug Tests
Drug screens are designed to detect a range of illicit substances, including:
- Recreational or Medical Marijuana (THC)
- Opioids and opiates
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
Different Types of Drug Tests
In a world where drug use and its consequences are of growing concern, the need for effective drug testing methods has become increasingly vital. Drug tests come in various forms, each with its unique advantages and applications. Understanding the different types of drug tests is essential for individuals, employers, and organizations striving to maintain a drug-free environment and ensure public safety.
Immunoassay Tests: Widely Used and Effective
One of the most common types of drug tests is the immunoassay test, which utilizes antibodies to identify the presence of harmful or illicit substances in urine samples. This method is highly effective and widely employed.
Gas Chromatography: Separating and Analyzing Compounds
Gas chromatography is another frequently used technique for drug testing. It involves the separation and analysis of compounds, particularly when examining bodily fluids for the presence of specific substances.
Mass Spectrometry: Precise Analysis of Molecular Mass
Mass spectrometry (MS) is an advanced testing method used to measure the precise molecular mass of ions. Although primarily employed in forensic drug analysis, it provides accurate and detailed results.
High-Performance Liquid Chromatography: Identifying Substances
High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is a specialized drug testing approach. It enables the separation, identification, and quantification of individual components within a mixture, facilitating the detection of illicit substances in test samples.
Understanding the various types of drug tests and the substances they detect is essential for individuals facing the possibility of undergoing such screenings. By comprehending the methodologies involved, one can better navigate the intricacies of drug testing protocols and make informed decisions regarding their own well-being.
What Substances Are Likely to Cause False Positive Test Results?
Have you been asked to provide a biological sample for drug screening? A positive drug test can have some undesirable repercussions. Your boss may use it to suspend or fire you; it may ruin your reputation or even bar you from participating in various sporting activities. It also necessitates a rehabilitation plan to ensure you can cope with the urge to use illicit substances.
While a positive drug test indicates the presence of some form of an illicit drug in the body, simple tests such as an immunoassay test (IA) often do not suffice to show one’s sobriety or lack thereof. It is possible to possess metabolic forms of illicit drugs in your system without actually taking illegal medication. When you are screened using the IA test, your results are likely to come back positive even though you have not abused the drug being tested.
These results are commonly known as false positives. They show the presence of some form of the illicit drug in the body even though the drug may have been obtained in other ways and not abusing the drug being tested. A test such as the IA test is less accurate than Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-SM); hence, it is more likely to bring back a false positive.
Many items, including everyday products such as poppy seeds and ibuprofen, can cause a false positive. These substances may be ingested for medical purposes or as ingredients for our everyday foodstuffs. However, they are broken down in the body and may present as metabolic forms of illegal substances in simple tests. One requires complex and, often, expensive tests such as GC-SM or high-performance liquid chromatography to accurately establish if the metabolic forms were introduced into the body from illegal substances. Here are ten everyday products that may cause a false positive.
Can you imagine your desire to satisfy your need to eat is the reason why you get a positive drug test? Well, it sounds crazy, but food can be a source of a false positive during a drug test. Your drug test can come back as a false positive for alcohol once you consume a lot of food that is rich in yeast. During the metabolism of yeast, ethanol is formed as a by-product. Once you are subjected to a breathalyzer after you have consumed food rich in yeast, the ethanol that forms during metabolism can bring back a false positive for alcohol. As such, food such as bread, ripe fruits, and pizza ought to be avoided when you are subjected to a drug screening in a few hours. Granola bars can also lead to a false positive. Granola bars have hemp seeds as one of their ingredients. The hemp seeds can bring a false positive when testing for cannabis or THC.
2. Sudafed/ Pseudoephedrine
A harmless substance used to treat sinusitis, nasal congestion, and allergies resulting in breathing difficulties, Sudafed can lead to a false positive during the screening of drugs. Manufacturers use manufactured amphetamines to make Sudafed; hence, when broken down in the body, it can lead to traces of methamphetamines or amphetamines being detected in your blood. These compounds are detectable during drug screening for up to two days after consumption.
Can you believe that curing pain with ibuprofen can lead to a false positive? Doctors or physicians routinely prescribe ibuprofen to cure sickness or inflammation in the body. It is a member of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory class of drugs.
Once ingested, it takes around three hours for ibuprofen to lead to a false positive of cannabis, barbiturates, and PCP in your urine. The wrong positive shows for people whose consumption falls within the range of 800 to 1200 milligrams per day. These users of the drug can have a false positive for marijuana use in the IA test. Subsequent confirmatory tests such as high-performance liquid chromatography and GC-SM test are required to ascertain whether the first positive result is genuine or a false positive.
4. Antiretroviral Drugs
These are common drugs that have efavirenz. This component presents itself as an illicit substance during screening. Efavirenz can easily be mistaken for the presence of benzodiazepine and marijuana in the blood. One can easily be mistaken for an illegal drug user even though they are using ARVs. Secondary confirmatory testing is necessary to ascertain if one is abusing drugs or not.
When you seek employment, your potential employer may subject you to a mandatory drug test as a condition for work. Once the results are back, a positive test result will likely ensure your potential employer passes up the chance of hiring you. However, you must notify your employer if you are using sertraline before the drug test. This notification is essential as it will not jeopardize your credibility as you make your case after a false positive.
Sertraline is an antidepressant and the leading source of false positive. Once broken down in the body, sertraline forms traces of benzodiazepine that are detected during drug screening. A majority of antidepressants, such as sertraline, have similar chemical structures to amphetamines and benzodiazepines. When broken down in the body, it results in the same end products formed after benzodiazepine is broken down; hence, the false positive.
6. Poppy Seeds
Poppy seeds are everyday harmless substances we use for several reasons. It may be an ingredient in making porridge and cake. We also use it as a treatment for constipation, diarrhea, sleeping difficulty, and cough. However, using poppy seeds a day or two before a drug test can lead to a false positive. Poppy seeds contain traces of morphine and codeine in their natural state. A false positive can be brought about by poppy seeds when you are being screened for the use of morphine or codeine.
Can you imagine an innocent bite off that cookie you made causing you trouble at work? Consuming cookies made from poppy seeds can result in a false positive. The breakdown of the wafer can result in a false positive for up to two days from the ingestion of the cookie.
In light of poppy seeds resulting in false positives, the DHHS raised the cut-off point of opiates to 1999 ng/ml. This increase was necessary to distinguish people abusing codeine and morphine from innocent people who enjoyed foodstuffs made with poppy seeds and those who used them for medicinal purposes.
Prednisone belongs to a broad category of substances called glucocorticoids and is used in the treatment of inflammation that is caused by rheumatoid or asthma conditions. People also use it to remedy high calcium levels that may be caused by insufficient production by the adrenal gland or cancer and for suppression of one’s immune system. This alternative use of prednisone can alter your drug test to bring back a false positive.
False positives can be gotten if prednisone is used up to a day before the drug test. Prednisone brings back a false positive for steroids since it is a steroid itself. Further experiments are necessary to distinguish false positives that are occasioned by a false positive due to the use of prednisone before the drug test.
Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (omeprazole, esomeprazole, pantoprazole) are widely prescribed for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and heartburn symptoms. Taking PPIs daily can result in a false-positive test.
8. Passive Weed Smoking
Nearly everyone has come across people indulging in some marijuana in their life. The distinguishing difference for many people is that some come across them regularly while others rarely. These marijuana users can be your friends, neighbors, family, or just strangers. However, your interaction with such people can lead to a false positive.
A false positive happens if testing for marijuana is done a day after exposure. Additionally, there is a high likelihood of a false positive if the person being screened is confined in a similar room as smokers smoke. You inhale after smokers exhale, which can lead to traces of marijuana being present in your body. Cold Medication
It is common practice to rush to the drug store and get some over-the-counter drugs whenever we are suffering from a cold. However, little do we know that these OTC drugs may present a false positive during a drug test.
Common cold medications may present a false positive when screening for amphetamines. These cold medications contain brompheniramine, which yields similar by-products as methamphetamines when they are metabolized in the body. Cold medication such as Vicks inhaler, a treatment for nasal congestion caused by flu, has levomethamphetamine, which, when tested, shows a similar structure to methamphetamine. This structure leads to a false positive even though one has not actively ingested methamphetamines.
10. Baby Soap
It is no secret that mothers have to wash their infant babies often during the day. While cleaning them, mothers use solvents such as Aveeno Soothing Relief Creamy Wash and CVS Night-time Baby Bath. When babies who use these solvents are tested for marijuana use, their samples are likely to bring back a false positive even though neither the baby nor the mother has come into contact with marijuana. This false positive occurs due to the use of these solvents. The use of marijuana during pregnancy can lead to babies being born with congenital anomalies; hence, when this anomaly shows, babies are likely to be screened for traces of marijuana in their system.
It is not clear how traces of marijuana end up in the infants’ system. However, some health professionals speculate that the presence of a marijuana-like substance in their system is due to the chemical structure of some of the components of the solvents. They claim that some ingredients have a similar chemical structure as THC, which is an active ingredient in marijuana. Exactly how the soap contents make their way to the infant’s body system is still a mystery.
What Is The Best Defense For A Positive Drug Test?
It is advisable for you to disclose all the substances that you are taking that may lead to a false positive before a drug test. However, if you fail to disclose it before the drug test and you are confident that you have not used any illicit substances before the drug test, you should dispute it:
- Re-test. Typically, your original sample will be retested using a more advanced testing method that separates out substances that might interfere with the results and offers your samples for a second confirmatory test.
- Disclose substances you’ve taken that might have caused the result. If you were taking something that might’ve caused a false-positive result, the lab can do another type of test to verify that you haven’t touched the drugs being tested. Letting your employer, principal or coach know about these substances can go a long way toward convincing them you deserve a second chance.
Confirmatory tests such as Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry and the High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Test can dispel any doubts as to the reliability of the test results. Many people often rely on these more accurate tests for confirmation. They are not the initial test as they are expensive and require sophisticated equipment.
What If the Confirmatory Test Comes Back Positive?
If the confirmatory advanced drug tests come back positive and you are sure it is a false positive, it may be prudent to seek legal counsel. Consulting with an attorney can provide valuable guidance and assistance in navigating the complexities of disputing a positive drug test result.
However, if you find yourself unsure whether the positive result is indeed a false positive, there is still hope for reclaiming your clean life. Consider seeking a consultation at a reputable substance abuse treatment center, such as Overland IOP in Los Angeles, California. Their team of qualified professionals specializes in offering personalized treatment plans to support you on your journey to recovery. By taking the time to listen to your situation, analyze the details, and provide helpful insights, they can guide you toward the most suitable course of action. Additionally, they can offer medications and strategies to help you manage and suppress any urges to use drugs.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to Overland IOP today for immediate assistance. Their dedicated experts are available 24/7 to answer your inquiries and provide support. Whether you prefer to contact them via phone, live chat, or by submitting a contact form, they can provide the information you need to start rebuilding your life and embracing a drug-free future. Take the first step towards a better, cleaner life by seeking the help you deserve.
If you are not so sure it is “false-positive,” – do not despair, as there is still a way for you to get back to your clean life.
Published: April 12, 2021
Last Updated: November 07, 2023
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