In a perfect world, drug tests would always be accurate. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, and sometimes drug tests can be wrong. If you think this might be the case with you, there are steps you can take to clear your name. In four easy steps, we’ll show you how to start the process of disputing a false positive drug test.
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How To Dispute A False Positive Drug Test
When you get a positive drug test, it can feel like you’re in a tough spot. You need to prove that the results are wrong. This is because employers can deny you a job when you fail a drug test.
There are certain steps you need to take to dispute a false positive drug test. The process may vary based on the laws of each state, but there are some things you need to know to make the most of it.
#1. Be Open And Honest
When you have a false positive drug test, it is important to be honest. This is because you need to prove that the test was wrong. The first step in doing this is to tell the person who did the test what medications you are taking. If you regularly take certain drugs, it is important to tell them this. Drug tests are part of background checks for employers, and your drug use will be looked at more closely if you don’t tell the truth. Telling the truth is the best way to start trying to fix the problem.
#2. Talk To Your Doctor Or Pharmacist
The second step is to talk to your doctor or pharmacist. These are the people who can advise you on the best way forward. Often, when you fail a drug test and are sure it’s a false positive, you’ll need to understand what might have caused the result. This could include anything from food and beverages to drugs. So, if you feel like this might be your problem, speak with your doctor or pharmacist about your test result. Then they might be able to help clear things up for you with your potential employer.
#3. Take Another Test
If you have evidence that suggests your positive drug test is a false positive, you might be able to take another test. This usually happens if you can provide proof to your employer that the first test was wrong.
For example, if you can show that you regularly take a medication that could have caused the false positive, your employer might be willing to let you take another test. However, you must have strong evidence to support your explanation. If passing the test is a condition for securing the job, your chances of getting a second chance will be much higher.
#4. Talk To An Attorney
If you have tried all other methods and still feel like you have a false positive drug test, it might be time to consult with an attorney. This is a serious situation, and you need someone who understands the law and can help you navigate your options.
An experienced attorney will be able to tell you who you can sue in a case like this. You may be able to take legal action against the lab that did the drug test or the company that offered you the job. There are many potential outcomes in a case like this, and an attorney will be able to help you understand your best course of action.
It’s important to remember that drug tests can be wrong. If you think that might be the case with you, don’t hesitate to take steps to clear your name. In 4 easy steps, we’ve shown you how to start the process of disputing a false positive drug test.
What Do Drug Tests Detect?
Workplace drug testing is designed to detect common substances of different classes, including marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and PCP. Employers concerned about drug tests often operate in industries requiring extreme care or sectors where certain illicit drugs are abused regularly. Employers in these spaces can even order custom tests to screen job candidates.
As a candidate, you must understand your rights concerning what employers can test for in some jurisdictions. For instance, some states, such as New York City and Nevada, have passed laws preventing employers from considering marijuana use as a cause for a failed drug test. New York is highly notable for its strict laws concerning employers conducting drug tests. Therefore, before a drug test is carried out, it must conform to the existing laws that seek to protect job candidates. Once this checks out, employers can decide to use either of the two popular drug testing methods. These are the 5-Panel and 10-Panel tests. Employers must ensure that these are certified laboratories.
— 5-Panel Test
This is the most common form of drug testing. The procedure is popular among companies that operate in industries regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation. These include companies dealing with road, flight, and water transportation. The procedure is designed to detect the following substances:
Cocaine: Cocaine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that is made from the leaves of the coca plant. It blocks the reuptake of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain, leading to an increase in their concentrations. When abused, the substance induces manic behavior in the person using it. It is extremely addictive and will be detected by a 5-Panel test.
Amphetamines: Amphetamines are a type of stimulant drug that can be found in both prescription and illegal forms (methamphetamine). They work by increasing the activity of certain chemicals in the brain, which can lead to increased energy, improved focus, and reduced hunger. Amphetamines are sometimes prescribed to treat conditions such as ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity, but they are also frequently abused. When abused, amphetamines can lead to a number of serious side effects, including psychosis, paranoia, and aggression.
Marijuana: Marijuana, also known as weed, is a drug that comes from the cannabis plant. It is smoked, vaped, or eaten and can cause short-term effects such as altered senses, paranoia, and anxiety. Marijuana can also have long-term effects on the brain, including addiction. Some states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, but it is still an illegal substance under federal law.
Opiates: An opiate is a drug that is derived from the opium poppy plant. This plant produces the main types of drugs: opiates and opioids. Opiates are the older and more traditional type of drug, while opioids are a newer class of drugs that are based on opiates. Both classes of drugs share many of the same characteristics, including their addictive potential and their ability to depress the central nervous system. When used as prescribed by a doctor, opiates can be effective in treating pain. However, they can also be addictive and dangerous when abused. Some common side effects of opiate use include drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, headaches, and dry mouth.
Phencyclidine (PCP): Phencyclidine, commonly known as PCP, is a synthetic dissociative drug that was first developed in the 1950s. It is a hallucinogenic drug that can cause extreme changes in mood and perception. PCP is a Schedule II drug in the United States, meaning that it has a high potential for substance abuse and addiction. When used recreationally, PCP can cause feelings of detachment from reality, hallucinations, and paranoia. When abused, PCP can also lead to serious health problems, including brain damage, violent outbursts, self-injury, seizures, and death.
— 10-Panel Test
The 10-panel test extends the number of drugs the test can detect to ten, hence the procedure’s name. Apart from the five drugs earlier described, the 10-panel test covers five more:
Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines are a type of prescription drug that is commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and depression. However, these drugs can be highly addictive and dangerous when abused. Some common side effects of benzodiazepine use include drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, headaches, suppressed appetite, hallucinations, and cognitive difficulties.
Barbiturates: Barbiturates are a type of sedative that was first developed in the late 1800s. They are a class of drugs that are used to treat anxiety, induce sleep, and control seizures. Barbiturates are also highly addictive and dangerous when abused. Some common side effects of barbiturate use include lightheadedness, the onset of dizziness, sedative effects, nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
Methaqualone: Methaqualone, also known as mephedrone, is a drug that was developed in the 1950s. It is a type of sedative that was once prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia but is now banned in the United States. Methaqualone can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, fatigue, sweating, seizures, reduced heart rate, and sedative effects when abused.
Methadone: Methadone is a synthetic opioid that is used to help people addicted to heroin wean themselves off the drug. It is a schedule II controlled substance in the United States, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. When prescribed by a doctor, methadone can be an effective treatment for opiate addiction. However, when abused, methadone can be dangerous and lead to serious health problems.
Propoxyphene: TPropoxyphene is an opioid analgesic drug that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is structurally similar to methadone, and like methadone, it can cause a false positive drug test for opiates.
The 10-panel test detects ten different types of drugs, including the five previously mentioned. It’s important to be aware of these drugs and how they may appear in a drug test. Most labs will still conduct screening based on the various common approaches, such as a urine drug test, breathalyzer, etc. If you think there’s a chance that you might have been exposed to one of these substances, it’s best to take action and clear your name. In four easy steps, we’ll show you how to start the process of disputing a false positive drug test.
Cause Of A False Positive Drug Test
Understanding the different causes that could lead to a false positive drug test will help you know what to avoid. Numerous food items and legal medications can give you a false positive result. In this section, we shall discuss all five common causes in detail.
Food can lead to a false positive drug test result in a few different ways. One way is if you consume food with a high percentage of yeast. This can cause ethanol to form in your system, and you may receive a positive result for alcohol. Another way food can lead to a false positive is if you consume ripe fruits. Ripe fruits contain enzymes that can break down into morphine. If you have morphine in your system, it will show up as an opiate on your drug test. So, when you have an upcoming drug test, it is best to avoid foods such as bread, pizza, granola bars, bagels, and ripe fruits.
#2. Poppy Seeds
If you’re like most people, you probably enjoy a good cookie or two occasionally. And while poppy seeds are a common ingredient in many types of food, they can also cause a false positive drug test result. Poppy seeds contain morphine and codeine, which can cause you to test positive for opiates on a drug screen. So, if you have an upcoming drug test, it’s best to avoid anything containing poppy seeds. That includes cookies, cakes, pastries, and even some breakfast cereals.
#3. Prescription Drugs
Most prescription medications contain compounds that are similar to those in illegal drugs. This means that if you’re taking any prescription medications, it’s important to tell your employer and the lab conducting your drug test. This is because certain prescription drugs can cause a false positive on a drug screen. Some of the most common prescription drugs that can cause a false positive are:
— Sertraline: Sertraline is a prescription medication/antidepressant that is used to treat depression, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety disorder. It is in a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Sertraline works by increasing the levels of serotonin, which is a natural substance in the brain that helps to improve mood. It is important to keep in mind that sertraline breaks down into benzodiazepine once it enters your system, which is why it might trigger a false positive on a drug test.
— Sudafed: Sudafed is a substance created to deal with nasal congestion and some allergies. Although it’s harmless, it can cause a false positive drug test result during screening. This is because manufacturers use amphetamines when making the drug. Therefore, a drug test screening can find traces of these amphetamine compounds in your system.
— Antiretroviral Drugs: Antiretroviral drugs are a type of medication that is used to treat HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections. When a lab runs a drug test and you have these drugs in your body, they can be mistaken for benzodiazepines and marijuana. In cases like this, you’ll require secondary testing to ascertain the true outcome of the test results.
— Prednisone: Prednisone is a corticosteroid drug used to treat various medical conditions, including allergies, asthma, and autoimmune diseases. It is a powerful drug that can have a number of side effects, including mood swings, insomnia, increased appetite, blurred vision, and headaches.
If you’re taking any prescription medications, it’s important to disclose this information to your employer and the lab conducting your drug test. This will help ensure that your test results are accurate and not affected by any prescription drugs you might be taking.
#4. Over-The-Counter Medicine
You may also pick up some over-the-counter drugs that will contain components that can harm your drug test results.
— Cold Medication: When taking over-the-counter cold medications, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects. Many cold medications contain amphetamines, which can cause a false positive on a drug test. It is also important to be aware that these drugs can have other side effects, such as mood swings, insomnia, and blurred vision. If you are taking any over-the-counter medications, be sure to disclose this information to your employer and the lab conducting your drug test.
— Ibuprofen: Ibuprofen (Advil) is a medication that is taken to relieve pain. It is important to be aware of the potential side effects of ibuprofen, as it can cause a false positive if it stays in your system long before your drug test. The drug is often identified as a false positive for barbiturates and cannabis. If you are taking ibuprofen, be sure to disclose this information to your employer and the lab conducting your drug test.
Certain supplements, such as Vitamin B, which grow and boost red blood cells, can trigger a false positive drug test result. Other supplements, such as those containing hemp seed oil or cannabidiol (CBD), can also cause a false positive.
Next Steps After A Failed Re-Test
If you’ve had a false positive drug test, your next step is to gather evidence to support your claim. This evidence can come in the form of prescription medications you’re taking, over-the-counter medications, or supplements. Once you have this evidence, you can present it to your employer and the lab conducting your drug test. If they are convinced by the evidence you’ve presented, they may allow you to undergo another test. This re-test will be a confirmatory result, and if you fail it, you might have compromised your chances of securing or retaining a job. However, if you’re convinced you still have a false positive result, your best bet is to speak to an attorney about your rights.
The Bottom Line
In some professions, promoting a drug-free workplace is of the utmost importance.
At the beginning of this article, you must have been curious about “what can cause a false positive drug test” and “how to dispute a positive drug test,” among others. Numerous factors can cause a false positive drug test. When this happens, you can produce evidence indicating that the result might be false.
It’s possible to get a second test, but this will follow a careful reevaluation. If you fail the re-test for a third time, you may have no chance of getting the job anymore. Nonetheless, it’s important to pay attention to the causes of false positive drug tests, avoid them before your test day, and disclose relevant information to your employer accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a good excuse for failing a drug test?
There are a number of reasons why someone might fail a drug test, but one of the most common is a false positive. If you think that might be the case for you, there are steps you can take to dispute the result. The first step is to gather evidence. This includes any documentation that could support your case, such as lab results or medication records. You’ll also need to provide contact information for any witnesses who can verify your story.
Next, you’ll need to write a letter to the lab that performed the test. In the letter, you’ll need to state your case and provide all of the evidence you’ve collected. Be sure to include your name, address, and contact information.
You should also include a copy of the letter with your submission to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The DHHS will evaluate your case and decide whether to take any action.
If you’re not happy with the DHHS’s decision, you can appeal it in federal court. However, this is a complex process, and it’s best to speak with an attorney if you decide to go this route.
Failing a drug test can be embarrassing and stressful, but if you think you might have been wrongfully accused, there are steps you can take to clear your name.
What is the most common false positive drug test?
There are different types of drug tests. A lab can use the 5-panel or 10-panel test. The difference between the two is that the latter can detect five more substances than the former. Essentially, a 10-panel test is more thorough.
Sertraline (Zoloft) is perhaps the leading substance causing false positive drug tests. Nonetheless, there are many substances responsible for false positives, including food and mouthwash. Most of these substances are prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, and supplements. These substances often contain trace amounts of amphetamine, steroids, opioids, antihistamines, Benadryl, quinine, THC, CBD, hemp seeds, or benzodiazepines. You can also get them in your system through second-hand smoke.
What is a possible consequence of failing a drug test?
There are a number of possible consequences of failing a drug test, but one of the most serious is losing your job. Employers are often unwilling to hire someone who has failed a drug test, and those who do may be subject to disciplinary action. Failing a drug test can also lead to problems when trying to get into college or secure other forms of education. In some cases, you may also be required to take classes or participate in treatment programs.
Can you retake a positive drug test?
There is no specific retest policy for positive drug tests, but in most cases, the lab will offer a re-test free of charge. If you believe that your positive drug test was the result of a false positive, it’s important to take the steps discussed above to dispute the result as soon as possible.
How long does THC stay in your system?
The length of time THC stays in your system varies depending on how often you use it, how much you use it, and the method of ingestion. In general, THC will stay in your system for about a week if you use it occasionally, but it can stay in your system for up to a month if you use it regularly.
Is there any way to detoxify my body before taking a drug test?
There is no specific detoxification process that will work for everyone. However, there are a few things you can do to help your body eliminate THC. Drinking plenty of water and exercising regularly can help flush THC from your system. You may also want to try using a detox drink or supplement. These products are designed to help your body cut off toxins, and some of them contain ingredients that can help eliminate THC.
However, it’s important to note that there is no scientific evidence that these products work. In fact, they may even be dangerous. So, if you decide to use one, be sure to do so safely and under the supervision of a healthcare professional.