Workplace drug-testing programs are designed to detect the presence of alcohol, illicit drugs, or certain prescription drugs. are conducted to detect the presence of illicit substances in your system, and these types of drug tests may use samples from your blood, urine, sweat and hair. You may be screened for cocaine, marijuana, meth and many other drugs when applying for a new job, as part of random employment drug screening for a current job, for school and in several other situations. A positive drug test can wreak havoc on your life, such as by resulting in your inability to get a specific job or the termination of your current employment. If you have recently had a positive result on a drug test, it is important to know what steps you can take to defend yourself and avoid negative impacts on your life.
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Know Your Rights
While false positive test results are possible, they are relatively rare. Because the possibility of a false positive is present, however, you should understand your rights for drug testing in the workplace. Companies often have a drug screening requirement during the hiring process. In order to progress through this process, you must pass the drug test. If you do not pass this initial test, you may request for a retest. However, this request may not always be granted.
After you are hired, your employer’s policy for scheduled or random drug testing will be detailed in the company’s handbook. In some cases, a private employer may require you to take a drug test if it has reason to believe that you are using drugs. You should take the time to review the company’s drug policy thoroughly at the start of your employment so that you know when testing may take place going forward and what the policy is for a positive test result.
Causes of False Positive Drug Test Results
There are several known causes of a failed drug test. For example, ingestion of poppy seeds before a drug test could produce a positive result for the presence of certain substances even if you have not used any drugs. You could also test positive if you have inhaled second-hand marijuana smoke even if you did not use marijuana yourself. Even some prescription drugs can result in a false positive result. Trazodone could indicate the presence of amphetamines or methamphetamines. Seroquel could result in a false positive for methadone. Some acid reflux and heartburn medicines could indicate that THC is in your system. Other prescription medications that may trigger a false positive result are Setraline, Pristiq, Effexor RX, Wellbutrin, promethazine and even some antibiotics.
Over-the-counter drugs can also create a false positive on a drug test. For example, Robitussin, Delsym and other over-the-counter medications that contain dextromethorphan can indicate the presence of PCP in your urinalysis. Allergy medications that contain diphenhydramine could indicate the presence of opiates/opioids and PCP in your system. Some of the other medication ingredients that could produce a false positive on a drug test are phentermine and pseudoephedrine(Sudafed). You may even test positive for barbiturates or THC if you take Advil, Aleve, Motrin or other non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications.
Before Your Drug Test
You should disclose all questionable foods and medications that you have taken recently that may impact drug test results. Some medications may remain in your system for several days or even weeks after your last use, so you should include medications that you may no longer be taking. In some cases, certain medications and substances may show up on one type of test and not on another one. After you disclose foods and substances that could impact drug test results, the administrator can decide which type of test is suitable for you.
In some cases, a drug test may be scheduled rather than impromptu. This may give you time to avoid exposure to some substances. For example, you can skip foods that contain poppy seeds and choose alternative over-the-counter medications for aches and pains, allergies and coughs. However, you should not stop taking prescription medications without consulting with the prescribing physician.
If You Test Positive for Drug Use
Some people will unfortunately test positive for drug use even though they have not used drugs and have disclosed all questionable drugs and foods consumed in the days and weeks leading up to the test. The first step to take after receiving the result of your drug test is to request a second screening. A more sensitive type of test should be used, and this test may be able to determine the difference between an illegal drug and other illegal substances. In some cases, you may be required to provide a reason for requesting a second drug test. Depending on your circumstances, excuses may range from inhaling second-hand marijuana/cannabis smoke to kissing a smoker, using some types of personal care products and more.
If your positive drug test is accurate, however, you should consider if you have an addiction or drug dependency. When drug use interferes with your employment and other major aspects of your life, professional rehab and recovery treatment may be needed. In some cases, an employer may allow you to return to work after completing a drug treatment program successfully.
Types of Drug Testing Methods
There are four common methods used for drug testing. The most common method is an immunoassay test, which is a urine test that relies on antibodies for detection. Another common method is gas chromatography. This is a slightly more advanced test that analyzes compounds in bodily fluids. Both of these tests have relatively low specificity and are more likely to produce a false positive than the more sophisticated methods. If more advanced testing is required, the test administrator may use mass spectrometry. This method measures the exact mass of substances in bodily fluids. The most advanced drug testing method is high-performance liquid chromatography. This test is used to separate and quantify a specific type of drug in bodily fluids.
Consult with a Lawyer
It may be futile to seek legal assistance if your positive drug test result is legitimate. However, if you are dealing with a false positive, you may have recently lost your job or experienced significant other effects. Consulting with a lawyer who is experienced in this aspect of employment law may be in your best interest. Your lawyer can help you to understand your legal rights and determine what options are available to you.
After Learning About a Positive Drug Test Result
If you have recently received word of a positive result on a drug test, you should consider if the test result is legitimate. Have you used drugs or other substances that could yield a positive result? Requesting the use of a more sensitive test could clear up the situation, but this may not be helpful for everyone. It is essential that you understand your rights and obtain legal advice if you are dealing with a false positive or if your employer refuses to grant your request for a more advanced, sensitive test. On the other hand, if you have been abusing drugs, this may be a sign that you are dependent on or addicted to a substance You might want to get a consultation at a reputable substance abuse treatment center. An addiction can have a devastating impact on your life, but there is a road to recovery.
LiveFree provides recovery treatment services for men and women in New Hampshire. It offers multiple types of care to meet its patients’ varied needs, including inpatient drug detox, in a comfortable, supportive environment. Contact LiveFree today to learn more about the treatment program that is right for you.
I’ve gotten a positive drug test with my employer; what happens next?
I'm not a legal expert, but I can provide you with some general information on what might happen if you've received a positive drug test from your employer. Keep in mind that the specific consequences can vary depending on your employer's policies, the laws and regulations in your jurisdiction, and the specifics of your situation.
Confirmation test: In many cases, a positive drug test result will be followed by a confirmation test to rule out any false positives. This is typically done using a more accurate testing method, such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS).
Review of results and medication use: Your employer may request additional information about your medication use or any prescriptions you have that could have caused the positive result. Be prepared to provide documentation or explanations if necessary.
Consequences: If the positive result is confirmed and there is no valid explanation, you may face consequences as per your employer's policies and local laws. These could include:
a. Written or verbal warning
b. Mandatory participation in a drug counseling or rehabilitation program
c. Suspension or probationd. Termination of employment
e. Reporting to relevant professional licensing or certification boards (if applicable)
Legal rights: Familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations in your area, as well as your employer's drug testing policies. You may have certain rights, such as the right to contest the results or the right to privacy.
Consult an attorney: If you believe your rights have been violated or if you face severe consequences (such as termination), it may be helpful to consult an attorney who specializes in employment law for advice and guidance.
It's important to remember that each situation is unique, and your specific circumstances may lead to different outcomes. Always consult an attorney or legal expert to get advice tailored to your situation.
Can a positive drug test be contested?
Yes, a positive drug test can be contested, but the process of contesting the test result may vary depending on the specific circumstances.
For example, if the drug test was administered in the workplace, the employee may be able to request a retest or dispute the results through their employer’s human resources department. It may also be possible to challenge the validity of the drug test if there were errors in the testing process or if the testing facility did not follow proper protocols.
If the drug test was administered by a government agency, such as a probation office or a court, the individual may have to go through a formal appeals process to contest the results. This may involve presenting evidence to prove that the test was inaccurate or that there were extenuating circumstances that led to the positive result.
It’s important to note that contesting a positive drug test can be a complex and time-consuming process, and there is no guarantee of success. It may be beneficial for the individual to seek legal counsel or guidance from a professional organization that specializes in drug testing and workplace issues.
What factors can cause a false positive on a drug test?
Several factors can contribute to a false positive on a drug test. Some of the most common factors include:
Poppy seeds: Consuming poppy seeds can cause a positive result for opioids on a drug test, as they contain small amounts of morphine and codeine.
Prescription medications: Certain prescription medications can cause false positives on drug tests. For example, some antidepressants can cause a positive result for amphetamines, and some pain medications can result in a positive test for opioids.
Over-the-counter medications: Certain over-the-counter medications, such as cold and flu remedies, can cause false positives for amphetamines or opioids.
Secondhand smoke: Exposure to secondhand smoke from marijuana or cocaine can cause a positive result on a drug test, although the likelihood of this occurring is relatively low.
Contaminated samples: Contamination of the urine sample during collection, handling, or testing can result in a false positive test result.
Laboratory errors: Errors in the testing process, such as mislabeling or mishandling samples, can also lead to false positive results.
It's important to note that if an individual is taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications, they should inform the testing facility before the test is administered to avoid any confusion or false positives.
Is there a difference between a confirmed positive drug test result and a presumptive positive result?
Yes, there is a difference between a confirmed positive drug test result and a presumptive positive result.
A presumptive positive drug test result is an initial test that suggests the presence of a drug in the system but does not provide definitive evidence. These tests are usually conducted on-site using a urine or saliva sample and can produce a false positive result due to the presence of certain medications, foods, or environmental factors.
A confirmed positive drug test result, on the other hand, is a definitive result that confirms the presence of a drug in the system. These tests are typically conducted in a laboratory using more sophisticated testing methods, such as gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) or liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS).
If a presumptive positive result is obtained, it is generally followed up with a confirmatory test to rule out any false positives. If the confirmatory test also produces a positive result, it is considered a confirmed positive.
It’s important to note that in some cases, a positive drug test result may be considered confirmed even if a confirmatory test is not performed. This is typically the case if the initial test was conducted using a reliable and accurate testing method, and the result is consistent with the individual’s history of drug use or exposure.
What are the consequences of testing positive for drugs at work?
The consequences of testing positive for drugs at work can vary depending on several factors, such as the employer's drug testing policy, the industry, the employee's job responsibilities, and the severity of the positive result.
In general, the consequences of testing positive for drugs at work may include:
Termination of employment: Many employers have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to drug use in the workplace, and a positive drug test may result in immediate termination of employment.
Suspension or disciplinary action: In some cases, an employee may be suspended or face disciplinary action, such as a warning or reprimand, for testing positive for drugs.
Required drug treatment: Some employers may require employees who test positive for drugs to complete a drug treatment program or attend counseling sessions.
Loss of benefits: A positive drug test result may result in the loss of certain benefits, such as workers' compensation or unemployment benefits.
Legal consequences: In some industries, such as transportation or healthcare, a positive drug test result may lead to legal consequences or the loss of professional licenses.
It's important to note that the consequences of testing positive for drugs at work can be serious and may have long-lasting effects on an individual's career and livelihood. It's important to always follow workplace drug policies and avoid drug use in order to maintain a safe and healthy work environment.
Can a positive drug test result be expunged from a person’s record?
In general, it is difficult to expunge a positive drug test result from a person’s record, particularly if the result was obtained through a legally-administered drug test. Once a positive drug test result has been reported, it typically becomes a part of the individual’s employment or medical record.
However, there may be some situations in which a positive drug test result can be expunged or removed from an individual’s record. For example, if the test was conducted improperly or if there were errors in the testing process, the individual may be able to challenge the result and have it removed from their record. Additionally, some states have laws that allow individuals to request the expungement of certain types of criminal records, including drug-related offenses.
It’s important to note that expunging a positive drug test result can be a complex and time-consuming process, and there is no guarantee of success. If you believe that a positive drug test result was obtained improperly or if you have questions about your legal rights regarding drug testing, it may be helpful to consult with a lawyer or a professional organization that specializes in drug testing and workplace issues.
Are there any defenses that can be used to dispute a positive drug test result?
Yes, there are several defenses that can be used to dispute a positive drug test result. Some of the most common defenses include:
Chain of custody errors: If there were errors in the chain of custody of the urine sample, such as improper labeling or handling, it may be possible to challenge the validity of the test result.
Testing errors: If there were errors in the testing process, such as contamination of the sample or faulty testing equipment, it may be possible to dispute the result.
Medical reasons: If an individual is taking a medication or has a medical condition that could produce a positive result, they may be able to provide medical documentation to explain the result.
False positives: As previously mentioned, certain foods, medications, or environmental factors can produce a false positive on a drug test. If the individual can prove that one of these factors caused the positive result, they may be able to successfully dispute the test.
Retaliation or discrimination: In some cases, an individual may be able to challenge a positive drug test result if they believe that it was obtained as a result of retaliation or discrimination.
It's important to note that disputing a positive drug test result can be a complex process, and the success of the defense will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. If you believe that a positive drug test result was obtained improperly or if you have questions about your legal rights regarding drug testing, it may be helpful to consult with a lawyer or a professional organization that specializes in drug testing and workplace issues.
Published on: 2023-03-03
Updated on: 2023-07-31