5 Common Myths About Pre-Employment Drug Tests

When it comes to pre-employment drug tests, there is plenty of misinformation doing the rounds. Individuals claim to have ways to pass drug tests that often have little truth to them. Some ways to beat drug tests include adding a substance to urine after voiding, ingesting something to disguise the drugs or substituting someone else’s clean urine. It can be intimidating to have a drug test if you’ve never had one before, especially if you’ve used some type of substance in the recent past. Let’s dispel some of the myths that are most prevalent.

  1. Drinking enough water will erase the presence of drugs

Truth: Drinking water will dilute your urine and may lower the concentration of some drugs like marijuana in your system but drinking a high enough quantity to entirely erase the presence of the drug in your urine is not advisable. Highly diluted urine is a red flag on a drug test, and you may be required to take a second test with little notice. 

A 5-panel urine screening test is most commonly used as it screens for THC, cocaine, opiates, PCP and amphetamines. 

Frequently consuming THC can prolong retention, especially in individuals with high body fat, because it gets deposited in the fat cells. There are various online THC detox sites and a choice of products that can help you with a THC quick detox that will get you through most drug tests. 

  1. Drug tests are inaccurate

Truth: Drug tests are much more accurate than they were in the past, thanks to advances in technology. Reputable drug testing companies and potential employers are not ‘out to get you.’ They are just protecting their interests. Accuracy is of utmost importance because the outcome can have many consequences, such as the loss of a job. 

The rigid collection and chain of custody process being implemented by testing laboratories are minimizing their possibility.

A worry for anyone undergoing a drug test is a ‘false positive.’ The rigid collection and chain of custody processes used by reputable testing labs minimize this possibility. When initial screening drug tests result in positive results, employees may request a second confirmatory test. A Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) test greatly reduces the chance of a false positive. 

In rare cases, a drug test will pick up prescription and over-the-counter medications. This is why it’s important to give a complete history of all medications you are taking when undergoing drug testing. 

  1. Second-hand marijuana smoke can cause a positive result

Truth: It is practically impossible for second-hand marijuana smoke to cause a positive test result. 

If you are passively exposed to marijuana smoke, it could appear in your urine test. However, it would not appear in the same amount as someone who smokes marijuana. There are strict cut-off levels to prevent users from coming up with the argument that a positive result is from passive smoke. To be counted as a positive in a urinalysis, THC must be found at a level of 50 ng/ml. If you are in the presence of second-hand smoke, your urine will show way below this amount. 

  1. Illicit drug use doesn’t impact work safety

Truth: There are many studies that show that even casual drug use – on a regular basis – can impact judgment and slow down reaction times. Even if you’re not technically high at work, the long-lasting effects can cause injury to yourself and others. Statistics show that employees who abuse drugs are much more likely to be involved in workplace accidents than other employees. 

In jobs that require quick decisions and reactions, employers have a right to know if your on-site or off-site habits could influence your ability to perform. This applies especially in cases where you have the potential to harm other employees, and the employer is held responsible. Requiring pre-employment drug testing in such a situation is not just necessary but smart. 

  1. All drug tests are urine tests

Truth: There are many ways to test for drugs besides doing urine tests. Hair, saliva, sweat and blood tests are also used, although urine tests are the most common.

Saliva retains traces of drugs, particularly THC, for a shorter amount of time than urine. A saliva test may be negative when a urine test is positive. Hair follicle drug tests are becoming more common because they offer longer drug detection times and are more difficult to beat than a urine test. 

It is still too pricey an option for many employers, but it is likely to become more feasible with time. As drug metabolites stay in the hair for a long period, this also creates a problem as someone could test positive without having used drugs in the past few months. Other new methods of drug screening are also likely to be introduced in the near future. 

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