5 common myths about drug testing

Myth #1: There’s no way to beat a drug test Truth: A simple Google search shows that there are numerous resources online for ways to beat a drug test. While a lot of these are dubious and rarely effective, it is possible. However, the user is not “cleansing” their system. Rather, they’re simply “masking” the true result. Generally, these tricks fall into three categories:

  • Diluting agents: since all drug tests are predicated on concentration of the illicit substance in the body, anything that dilutes the specimen affords a greater chance to pass the test.
  • Substituting agents: freeze-dried urine and synthetic urine are available for purchase.
  • Oxidizing agents: substances that oxidize the urine by breaking up the detectable metabolite, such as nitrite or glutaraldehyde.

drug testingMyth #2: Urine and Saliva testing provide equivalent results

Truth: While Urine and Oral Fluid drug testing are both valid test methodologies, they have some biologic differences and can provide different results. For example, drugs remain in oral fluid for a shorter period of time and at lower concentrations than in urine, particularly THC. Consequently, if you take a urine and oral fluid specimen at the same time from the same donor they may not correlate, which means one could be positive and one negative.

Myth #3: Marijuana stays in an individual’s system for months

Truth: Recent studies by the NCDI have shown that, depending on the cannabis concentration being used, it’s likely that a chronic user would produce a positive urine test for less than 7 days and only in very extraordinary circumstances for about 10-21 days after the last smoking episode. An occasional user would test positive within 3-7 days after the last usage.

Myth #4: Any type of alcohol, including those used in many personal care products, will cause a positive result on an EtG test

Truth: No alcohol except for ethyl alcohol (ethanol) will cause a positive result on an EtG test. Other alcohols are, chemically, very different from ethyl alcohol and break down into metabolites that will not be detected during this test.

Myth #5: Exposure to second-hand marijuana (THC) smoke can yield a positive test result

Truth: Passive exposure to a drug can make it appear in your urine, but actual consumption of the drug makes it appear at a much higher concentration. To avoid the argument that a positive result is due to passive contact, cut-off levels have been established. These cut-off levels are set to make it virtually impossible for a specimen to screen positive from passive contact. In the case of THC, it has been shown that subjects can be exposed to extreme, uncomfortable levels of second-hand smoke for long periods of time without registering a positive urine test at the 50 ng/ml screening cutoff level. Drug screening has numerous benefits, regardless of myths that abound. That said, a better understanding of the facts around drug screening can only make a screening program more effective, more efficient, and more successful. Be sure to keep these myths – and their truth – in mind as you implement your drug screening program.]]>

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