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How To Dispute a False Positive Test at Work

Drug tests are a prerequisite for employment in several private and government firms. In addition, they are also mandatory if you want to participate in any sport. Many people believe that just because they have had a ‘clean’ lifestyle, a drug test is no worry. However, false positive test reports are far more common than we think. Some users have even resorted to solutions like synthetic urine or the ultra mask detox drink

Various household foods and other common substances exist, ranging from poppy seeds to durian and antibiotics, which can trigger a false alarm. For instance, a recent study by the American Psychiatric Association reveals that 1 out of 10 drug tests are false positives. 

Work Drug Test

Therefore, the looming question is what should you do if you are among the 10 percent of the population trapped in an apparently ‘false positive test. If you are absolutely sure that the result of the drug test at your work is false, your immediate step should be to demand a retest. The usual trajectory is that your original sample will be retested using a more advanced testing method that separates substances that might interfere with the results.


  1. Ask for a Retest – Having a drug test come back positive when you are sure the result is inaccurate can be a stressful situation. However, do not fret. Take a few deep breaths, calm your nerves, and let the administrator know immediately. Make sure to tell them that you are sure that the drug tests are false positives and that you would like a re-evaluation. The second immunoassay will probably reveal accurate results and show ‘negative’ if you had not consumed any illicit substance.
  • Disclose the Substances You Have Consume – If you feel that the false positive result has been triggered by some substance you had previously consumed, disclose it immediately to the lab officials. They can do other tests to verify that you have not tested the drugs being shown and it is some other substance interfering with the screening. Some of the medications that might have triggered a false positive result are –
  • Over-the-counter cold medicines
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-depressants like Zoloft
  • Ibuprofen and other NSAIDS
  • Allergy medications like Benadryl
  • Request a More High-Tech Testing Method to Confirm Your Doubts – Often, the drug tests used at work or schools, known as immunoassays, are flawed and highly fallible, leading to a broader scope of false positives. If you are sure about a false positive drug test at work, then you can request the administrators for a more advanced form of testing to confirm your doubts. The key is to ask for a test that can separately analyze the different substances fueling the false positive. The gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) test and the high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) test are standard secondary tests that most labs use to determine a false positive report of initial drug tests or immunoassays. However, they are expensive and if you are paying yourself, expect a charge of around USD 300.
  • Take the Assistance of a Union or a Private Attorney – Even if all your efforts to get a retest fails, do not lose hope as there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you are a union member, then consult the union leader, and they will file a grievance on your behalf. The last report is to find a private attorney who might assist you. If you are at the behest of losing your job or a massive opportunity due to a false positive, filing a grievance or opting for a legal challenge might help delay the decision taken against you because of the test results. If private legal help seems outside your budget, discuss with your attorney about payment plans and navigate a way around the situation.


Poppy Seed Cake False Positive Drug Test

Precaution is better than cure, and the statement holds unrivaled significance when it comes to drug test results. You can take specific cautionary steps to prevent a drug from being a false positive.

  • Avoid Consuming Certain Foods or Drinks – Some common foods like poppy seeds, durian, or even energy drinks, such as Red Bull, can trigger a false positive at work. To begin with, poppy seeds are the most common ingredients that cause a false positive drug result at screening. They contain naturally occurring trace amounts of codeine and morphine. (around 0.5 to10 micrograms per gram) Although the opiate concentration in poppy seeds is far from anything that could get you high, sometimes saliva drug tests cannot differentiate poppy seeds from other potent and illicit drugs. Likewise, energy drinks have also been known to cause false positives for everything, from ‘meth’ to THC (marijuana). Even opiates have propped up on drug test reports for people who had just consumed Red Bull. Therefore, you should not consume poppy seeds or strong energy drinks 24 to 48 hours prior to the drug test.
  • Get a Prescription of Medicines from your Doctor – Sometimes, certain medicines, like anti-depressants, antibiotics, etc., can trigger a false positive. A statement from a registered medical practitioner about the drugs you need daily can help you swerve the hassle of a false positive.
  • Stay Away from People Who Smoke Marijuana – Although studies confirm that it is improbable that you will test positive for THC by simply being in the vicinity of other people who smoke ‘pot’ or marijuana, it is still a good idea to avoid passive inhalation of marijuana smoke. If your drug test is in the next 24 hours, make a concerted effort to avoid such a scenario. Even if recreational marijuana is legal in your state, the substance is illegal at the federal level. Thus, discretion is of utmost importance, especially if your job or a massive opportunity is at stake. 

So, there we have it, a brief overview of the different things you can do to dispute a false positive at work. Likewise, you should also consider the steps required to keep a false positive report at bay.

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