3 Things That Can Lead To A Failed Drug Test

Being on drugs can affect nearly every facet of a person's life. It can put a strain on personal and professional relationships. It can also cause immediate health problems as well as health problems down the road. Drugs can also make job performance suffer. This is one of the reasons why many businesses drug test their employees. Around 84% of employers require pre-employment drug tests and 39% require random drug testing of their current employees. Avoiding drugs is the best way to pass a drug test. However, many may be unaware that there are a few things that can lead to a failed drug test even if they are not on drugs.

Getting Tested While On Cold Medicine

Cold and flu season can be tough on employees. Symptoms such as coughing, a sore throat, and a stuffy nose can make working difficult. Many choose to combat these symptoms using over-the-counter and prescription medicine. However, this may not be a good idea if a drug test is coming up. Codeine and hydrocodone are often prescribed by doctors to treat cold and flu symptoms. They can lead to positive drug screenings. Over-the-counter medicines can also cause issues with drug screenings. The error rates on initial drug testing due to over-the-counter medicine are anywhere between 5 and 14 percent. Popular over-the-counter drugs such as Mucinex, Claritin, Benadryl, and even Advil can lead to false positives.

Tonic Water

Tonic water is a popular mixer for alcoholic beverages. What many are unaware of is that it can actually cause a false positive on a drug test. Tonic water contains small amounts of quinine, which was originally used as a treatment for malaria. The problem is that quinine is often added to heroin and is sometimes used in drug testing as an indicator of heroin used. A large amount of tonic water would need to be ingested for enough quinine to show up in a drug test. However, it may be a good idea to avoid tonic water right before testing.

Poppy Seeds

Many have heard that poppy seeds can cause a failed drug test. The reason for this is that even though these seeds do not contain opium, they do become coated by it during the harvesting process. Usually around 90% of the opium is removed during the cleaning process. In some cases enough opium is left on the seeds to cause someone to test positive for opium. Avoiding poppy seeds for a couple of days before a drug test is a good way to prevent this from happening. 

A failed drug test can mean not being offered a job or even losing a currently held job. While false positives are unlikely, things such as certain cold medicines, tonic water, and poppy seeds may need to be avoided.