When Does a Drug Test Lie?

Things have changed, and today you don’t have to go to a doctor to do a drug test. This can be done from the comfort of your home. Drug tests are required for employment, students, athletes, criminal activities, and many other reasons. The main goal is to control substance abuse and ensure public safety.

While there are many different types of drug tests, most are done using urine. It is inexpensive and straightforward. The concern, however, is usually how accurate the urine drug tests are. Most manufacturers state a 97% accuracy, meaning that there is a chance that the test could show a false positive or a false negative. This can be caused by several factors such as the test being taken before the drug shows in urine, or long after it has cleared. In some instances, the chemicals in the test may be spoilt, leading to inaccurate results. 

Studies show that about 10-15% of the drug tests can show false negatives, and 5-10% will show false-positives. 

Consequences of false-positive drug test results

The most-feared results in drug tests are false positive as they have dire consequences. For instance, an athlete can be excluded from a championship, affecting their career and even ruining their reputation. Testing positive can also lead to jail time or a more severe sentence if the tests are tied to a particular crime. For a student taking the drug test, positive results can lead to the termination of a scholarship, suspension, or even worse, expulsion from an institution. 

In a situation of a probation setting, a false positive test can disadvantage the person in question. Many people have also lost their jobs as a result of false-positive drug test results, that’s why alternative ways to pass drug tests are so popular.

Why is the reliability of drug test results important?

As you have seen, false-positive results have tons of adverse effects. The same goes for false-negatives. Persons testing negative for drugs even when they are using them can be allowed to continue handling machinery in a manufacturing plant that can cause accidents. Healthcare professionals abusing drugs are likely to find themselves in the middle of medical malpractice cases, and so on. 

The reliability of drug tests should, therefore, be given keen interest. To increase the accuracy of the results, a confirmatory test should be done, especially for the false-positive. As the person being tested, you are allowed to ask for another test if you know the results are false. If you are an employer and are sure that your employee is abusing drugs, but the results test negative, you can conduct another test. 

To avoid testing positive when you are not using substances, you should be informed about a number of prescription drugs, beverages, supplements, and over-the-counter medications. They have been proven to generate false-positive drug test results. These drug classes include analgesics, antibiotics, decongestants, antibiotics, antihistamines, and antipsychotics. Beverages such as coca tea and tonic water have also been found to produce false-positive results. With this information in mind, you will not have to bear the consequences of drug test error.