HomeAbuseSix Things You Should Know about Urine Drug Testing

Six Things You Should Know about Urine Drug Testing

Written By: Harris House

Category: Abuse, Addiction, Alcohol, Recovery

Urine drug testing is the most common type of drug testing used by employers, according to Drugs.com. Wondering what urine drug screening (UDS) is and whether you might be subject to one? Here’s a closer look at six things to know about urine drug testing.

Plastic jar of urine for sampling.

Urinalysis can reveal many things about a subject, including month-old drug use.

1. Urine drug testing is done for many different reasons.

Drug testing involves the evaluation of a biological sample aimed at determining whether a subject has used substances. Typical circumstances which might lead to drug testing include pre-employment and random work-related drug testing, college or professional athletic drug testing, post-accident drug testing, and safety-related drug testing.

If you’re applying for a job related to public safety, such as in the federal transportation, airline, railway, or medical sector, drug testing is likely to be a requirement. However, workplace drug testing is also on the rise by many employers for other reasons, including everything from lessening the impact of drug abuse to spurring productivity.

Additionally, a doctor may administer a drug test to help identify potential substance abuse problems to determine a treatment plan. UDSs may also be used throughout substance abuse treatment to ensure that the subject is adhering to the plan.

2. Drug testing by employers is legal.

“The Supreme Court has ruled that while drug testing does infringe on an employee’s privacy, it may be necessary in order to protect the health and safety of others. Most state laws are similar to federal laws and generally maintain the legality of drug testing for state employees,” explains Workplace Fairness.

However, states do vary in terms of employee protections. For example, some states have explicit rules regarding whether employees can be hired or fired on the basis of drug testing results. While it is within your rights to refuse a drug test, this may lead to consequences, such as job loss and the denial of unemployment benefits, depending on the state.

3. Urine drug testing screens for multiple substances.

Urine drug testing may screen for multiple substances, including amphetamines, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, PCP, methadone, nicotine, and alcohol.

4. There are two different types of urinary drug tests.

The two common UDSs include the immunoassay and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). While the former is faster and more cost-effective, it also has negatives, including that it may not pick up on all substances and is also known for false positives. As a result, GC/MS testing is usually used as a followup to an immunoassay positive. False negatives are possible with both types of test. Additionally, both tests may not pick up on same-day drug use.

Because of the chance of false positives with immunoassay testing, experts recommend scheduling a GC/MS follow-up test immediately if you get a positive result for illicit drugs that you haven’t used.

5. Urinalysis will reveal drug use even after the effect has worn off.

Urine drug testing will indicate the presence of any drugs still in the system. This can linger long after the effects of the drugs have worn off. Certain substances stay in the system longer than others. Factors influencing a drug’s detectability include its half-life; the subject’s state of hydration; frequency of drug use; the route of administration; and the testing lab’s cut-off concentration.

According to Drugs.com, many drugs stay in the system for up to four days, while chronic marijuana users may test positive for four weeks or longer. Keep in mind that tests that use other types of biological samples, such as hair, may detect drugs in the system for longer periods of time.

Man holding out his hand to shake in greeting.

Will failing a urine drug test interfere with getting the job of your dreams?

6. Certain medications and supplements can lead to false positives.

In general, urine testing requires no advance preparation. However, if you’re taking a UDS, it’s important to tell the test provider if you’re using any prescription or over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies, or supplements as these may cause false-positive results.

For many people, failing drug test — or the prospect of taking and failing a drug test — provides the incentive to seek treatment which can lead to a better life.  Contact us at leading St. Louis rehab program Harris House today to take the first step toward recovery.