Can You Fight a False Positive Drug Test?

Random drug testing is becoming increasingly popular in the workplace. Airline, railroad, trucking, pipeline, mass transit, and shipping industries do drug tests under US government mandate. A positive drug test is cause for dismissal in many companies. Most companies that drug test do not hire job candidates who test positive.

Many times, people who have been “caught” with drugs in their systems use the term ‘false positive’ to try and buy their way out of trouble. Believe it or not, this is an actual thing. A lot of everyday products, such as over-the-counter medication like Ibuprofen, Sertraline and Sudafed, food stuff like poppy seeds and pizza, and even health products like baby soap have all been the cause of dismissal for many professionals as they lead to false positive drug results even without prior exposure to certain drugs.

What Can I Do if I Know the Result is a False Positive?

The best way to dispute a drug test that you suspect is a false positive drug test is by asking for additional tests that confirm the claim.

False positive drug test results for alcohol can be confirmed using blood screening. Most of the time, foods, and substances that cause positive alcohol tests don’t reach the bloodstream in the form of alcohol, and thus, blood tests are used as confirmation.

Unexpected false positive drug test results should be confirmed using methods such as the Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry test (GC-MS test) and the High-Performance Liquid Chromatography test (HPLC test). These are advanced tests done to selectively separate substances in a way that makes it possible to identify a drug substance without the possibility of interference as a result of the ingestion of other materials. This is done by separating every element found in urine and marking them for identification.

Your first step should be to talk to your employer. Many drug testing programs have a medical officer or someone else who is designated to speak to employees about their use of legal prescription drugs, a common source of positive test results. Find out who you should speak to and schedule an appointment right away. Bring all the medications and supplements you are currently taking. Also be prepared to give details about dosages and amounts.

One of your supplements may be a known false positive trigger. If your employer has contracted with an experienced laboratory like Brevard Background Check, there should be an easy way to find out whether your drug test result can be traced to your use of over-the-counter supplements.

It’s also possible there was simply a mistake on the first test. A common drug testing protocol is to divide the test sample into two portions, testing one immediately and saving the other for a retest, in case of a contested positive result. If this happened in your case, ask for a retest of your sample.

In Conclusion

In any drug test, getting a false positive is a real possibility. You can test positive even though you have not actively used a drug. It may bring a false positive after the ingestion of natural, harmless substances. Therefore, there is a need for accurate, confirmatory drug screening. Drug test centers can help dispel any doubts over drug screening. Drug test centers can verify the test results and distinguish false positives from actual positive results. If the initial drug screening or immunoassay results are positive, taking a second confirmatory test or GC-MS (Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry) test may be necessary. In the event of a false positive result, the best way to dispute is by asking for additional tests to be conducted to confirm the first result.

Have you ever been drug tested at work? What were your experiences? Share them in the comments below.

3 thoughts on “Can You Fight a False Positive Drug Test?

  1. I have been having false positive drug screen results and a drug rehab clinic I go to, for Benzos bc I take Daypro. Each time a confirmation had to be done which correctly identified my prescription of Oxiprosin. Suddenly they claim they are now using a drug testing lab that does only retesting confirmations, giving the same result of “Positive for Benzos” giving me the client no recourse or means of validation on the false positive result. I am filing a grievance attaching documentation also given a history of prior confirmations which identified every Benzos positive as the Daypro I’m prescribed to me by my orthopedic surgeon. Personality, I can’t imagine a drug testing lab doing confirmations with no validation or identification of the drug in question, and to not offer it is totally unacceptable to me. It makes me feel victimized to say the least. You can use my name, I want to bring attention to this situation bc I will undoubtedly be penalized by phase reductions that I’ve worked for and possibly mg detoxing (of methadone) for what my my record of the false appearance of continued Benzos ingesting abuse. Thank you for the opportunity to speak out on this injustice !

  2. Had a drug test done at a pain doctor accused me of having meth in my system when I don’t do it I’m trying to get it disputed

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