False Positive Drug Test Results

There are several factors that can create a false positive result in an illegal drug test. For a few of us, a false reading can even be caused by an enzyme in our urine. Several over the counter drugs can also be the culprit to a false positive test reading.
Health & Beauty > Pharmacy & Drugs

There are several types of testing that can be given to determine the residue of illegal drugs in your body. These tests can include a blood test, which is the most expensive, but it is the test that can dig the deepest for remnants of drug use. Normally insurance companies or high-profile agencies use this type of testing.

Saliva testing is a shorter-term, spur of the moment type of test, which can detect the recent use of alcohol, meth, cocaine or marijuana use by testing for any chemical residue in your mouth.

A urine test for illegal drug use is normally the test given due to it being the most inexpensive test. Urine testing can determine drug usage for up to several days, depending on the drug.

Most drugs tend to wash out of the body within 24-78 hours, although marijuana can leave residue behind in the body that lasts for a few weeks after the last time it was smoked. THC, the ingredient found in marijuana that produces the “high”, sticks to the fatty tissue in the body, creating a positive on a test given after smoking the drug.

But what about the drugs that are legal that produce a positive outcome on a drug test? There are over the counter drugs that can produce a positive on a test. Simple drugs that we deem safe and use for various ailments throughout our lives can show up as an illegal drug during a testing period.

Ibuprofen is one of the most commonly used over the counter drugs as a pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory, which can cause a false positive for marijuana use in a testing situation. Taken in a higher dosage, the ibuprofen can also create havoc for the test, showing a stronger positive in the test.

Drugs for colds and coughs, including decongestants that contain the phenylpropanolamine and ephedrine elements can create a false positive for amphetamines on the drug test. Opiate results can show up with the cough suppressants such as aids that contain dextromethorphan and perylamine.

Anti-depressants have been known to show a false positive for opiates, even up to three days later. Quinine in tonic water shows up as a positive for opiates as well.

Poppy seeds that are eaten on bagels or in poppy seed cakes or crackers have traces of morphine in them. These can appear as a positive testing for opiates. The use of codeine in many pain relievers can deliver a positive testing for morphine or heroin due to the chemical structure being closely related.

Newer antibiotics including the amoxicillin and Amoxicillin families are being reported to show up as false positives for cocaine usage.

AIDS patients take a drug known as DHEA, which can create a false positive for anabolic steroid use.

PCP usage can appear on test results when taking the legal drug Diazepam.

A tiny percentage of the population hosts big amounts of certain enzymes that appear in their urine, which can also manufacture a positive drug testing. The enzymes are known as endogenous lysozyme and malate dehydrogenate. Research has shown these enzymes to appear in as many as ten percent of positive samplings.

UV light protectors in our pigmentation known as melanin, is also very close to the chemical make-up as THC which can also provide a false positive for cannabis. There is however, another report that suggests there is no connection between the two.

Determining whether or not the positive results on a drug test are from a simple pain reliever the person ingested the day before or if they are using illegal drugs is an important component in the testing industry. A deeper testing needs to be completed before an exact determination can be made. However, most employers or court of law will not consider sending someone through another method due to cost and/or time constraints.

The EMIT test is conducted as the least complicated and less expensive testing that is done, although the results are normally the least reliable. There is a 4-34 percent false positive rating. EMIT stands for Enzyme Multiplied Immunoassay Technique.

The RIA or Radio Immunoassay test is conducted with the use of a radioactive isotope like iodine instead of an enzyme. Due to the use of substances that are known to be radioactive, this test is not as common as the EMIT. The RIA test is more commonly used in the military.

FPI or Fluorescence Polarization Immunoassay testing is fluorescent elements that can mark the binding of antibodies to drugs.

The procedure known as thin layer chromatography is a less used type of drug testing which relies mainly on the decision of the lab tech with high skill techniques and the training to determine the results. The test is conducted by the use of a porous strip that is placed in the sample. Any drug elements in the sample will soak up into the strip, leaving color strips if the drug is in the sample.

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