Factors That Affect Drug Test Results

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Common in healthcare facilities, workplace employment checks, or athletic or criminal settings, drug screenings supply crucial detailed information for specified purposes. Typical drug tests screen for conventionally abused drugs with chosen panels.

Drug test results are relatively accurate and exclusively binary—either a clear yes or no. There are no maybes. That being said, there could be a false positive or a chance that some contaminant has influenced the results. To pass a screening with flying colors, let’s take a closer look at a few common factors that affect drug test results. Here’s what to be aware of.

Dilution and Adulterations

While it’s wise to know about factors that can cause false positive results, don’t forget about false negative results first. Tampering with a test specimen is easily identifiable due to safeguards at collection sites and screening methods in labs. By testing for oxidant activity, current lab technologies can tell if adulteration or dilution has occurred. Professionals can correctly identify results with further testing.

Food and Liquid Consumables

One of the factors that affect drug test results could be the foods that a person eats. Several ingredients or consumables could show up on a toxicology screen as a false positive. Before a test, it’s wise to avoid poppy seeds, which can test positive for trace amounts of opiates, and hemp seeds, which can test positive for trace amounts of THC or marijuana.

Avoid drinking tonic water, which contains quinine and can make a person test positive for various street drugs. Be sure to also avoid breath cleaning products such as mouthwash containing ethanol, as trace amounts of alcohol are detectable.

Current Medications

A variety of variables can impact drug test results. At the top of the list is an individual’s own medications, prescription, or over-the-counter pills. Since drug tests are a snippet of a specific time period, the results will show whatever illegal drugs or misused prescriptions meds found within a person’s system within that timeframe. When a false positive occurs, chances are something else that’s been taken has trigged the positive results.

A wide array of weight loss pills, antibiotics, antihistamines, antidepressants, cough medicines, or pain relievers and can cause a false positive for commonly abused drugs such as PCP, THC, barbiturates, opiates, amphetamine, or methamphetamine. Prior to testing, it’s a good idea to look up a specific prescription or brand or ask a medical professional if you should restrain or limit your intake of a medication or supplement if possible.