Your Questions About Drug Tests, Answered

Have you been asked to take a drug test as part of an application for a job? If this is your first time taking a drug test, you may be feeling apprehensive. What happens during the test? What are they looking for? How likely is it that your test will result in a false positive — or, on the other hand, is it possible to beat a drug test if you have used some illegal substances recently?

There is a lot of information out there about drug tests. Moreover, it can be difficult to research the topic; there are many companies masquerading as authorities but really just trying to sell you expensive supplements and cleanses to detoxify or flush drugs from your system. (Do those work?) We’ve got some plain talk on what to expect when you take a drug test, so keep reading to learn everything you need to know.

What Kind of Test Will It Be?

There are several different ways to determine whether an individual has been using drugs or consuming alcohol. Alcohol use can be determined using a breathalyzer. Drugs can be detected with urine tests, blood tests, and testing the person’s hair or saliva. The most common type is the urine test.

What Drugs Can the Test Reveal?

Urine tests can detect a fairly wide range of illegal and illicit substances, including:

  • Amphetamines and methamphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Prescription opioids including Oxycodone and Percoset
  • Synthetic opioids such as Fentanyl
  • Methadone and Suboxone

There are some lesser-used drugs that also show up on the tests, as well. It’s safe to assume that a urine screening will pick up any substance that you have been taking.

Will Drinking Water Flush Drugs Out of My System?

Many people chug copious amounts of water in the days and hours leading up to a scheduled drug screening, in the hopes that they will flush all traces of a drug out of their system. It doesn’t usually work that way, however. Not all drugs can be excreted through urine, for starters. And if you have been drinking so much water that your urine is diluted, the test may not be able to be administered at all. In that case, you will likely be called back for a second test in the future, and instructed not to drink so much water beforehand.

What About Detoxifying Drinks and Other Supplements?

Ask around, or do a Google search, and you will hear loads of anecdotal evidence that a certain vitamin, herb, or other supplements will help you bet a drug test. There are detoxifying drinks and capsules that claim to either rid your system of any remaining traces of drugs, or that have ingredients that will throw a monkey wrench into the testing process.

It’s never a good idea to try these home remedies. They are unregulated, and with no oversight, manufacturers can literally put anything — or nothing but placebos — in those capsules or liquids. Those substances probably won’t work miracles when it comes to passing your test, and may even do your body harm. If you do confound the screener, you may be asked to take a blood, hair, or saliva test, which are pretty much tamper-proof.

What About False Positives?

You have probably heard that eating poppy seeds, on bagels or in a quick bread, can cause you to test positive for opioids. That’s true — technically. It happens only very rarely, and therefore isn’t really something you need to worry about. Just steer clear of the bagel shop on the morning of your test!

Some over-the-counter medications, like Sudafed and Nyquil, may also cause you to test positive for drugs. You will be asked by the professional administering the drugs test what medications, both prescription and OTC, you are taking.

What happens after an applicant cries false positive, moreover, is entirely dependent on who’s doing the testing and what their policy is. Some companies have a zero-tolerance policy; others may allow you to retake the test or take a different, more sensitive test.

The Only Surefire Method

Of course, if you never take any illegal or illicit drugs in the first place, you won’t have to worry about failing a urine screen. Just as abstinence is the only surefire way to prevent pregnancy, abstaining from drug use is the only surefire method for passing a drug test.

Now that your questions about drug tests have been answered, we hope you’ll stick around to learn more about health and wellness by browsing our informative articles!

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