What Are the 3 Top Drug Tests in Use Today?
Drug testing is becoming an ever-more common fact of life for working people or anyone aiming to become employed. At the same time, the list of states legalizing the use of formerly prohibited drugs, such as marijuana, is growing. If you are on probation or parole, you may face repeated drug tests that can directly affect your status and your ability to find employment. Meanwhile, recent Supreme Court decisions have allowed for random drug testing in many settings, with or without impairment or cause for suspicion.
Avoid the collision course among these conflicting forces by understanding the types of drug tests you may be required to undergo. Learn how to pass a drug test so that you can become or remain employed.
What Are Metabolites?
Drug tests are looking for metabolites in your urine, hair, saliva or blood, so it is helpful to understand what they are and are not. Metabolites are the residue from chemical changes of psychoactive drugs. Metabolites are not psychoactive, but they do remain in various parts of the body for extended periods of time, depending on the source, or “parent” drug. The most easily detectable metabolite is THC-COOH, the fat soluble compound that remains after cannabis use, sometimes for weeks after consumption of the original drug.
As a general rule, plan to drink a lot of fluids for at least several days ahead of the test, up to three or four quarts per day. This will help eliminate a large percentage, though not all, of the toxins from your system. Note that on test day you should reduce to normal fluid levels so that you don’t produce excessively diluted urine, which is sure to arouse suspicion.
Drug Testing – Urine
An estimated 90 per cent of all the 55 million or so drug tests done annually in the United States are based on urinalysis .1 Considering their widespread use, it is important to know that these tests measure for the presence of drug metabolites remaining in urine weeks after consuming drugs like marijuana, or cannabis. The main metabolite of cannabis is THC-COOH, which often is detectable three weeks or longer after smoking pot.1
Fortunately, there are products on the market that help you pass a urine test. Depending on your circumstances and the type of test you experience, having one or more of these items on hand will ensure that you are ready to react when the time comes.
- Use a specially prepared additive ingredient, such as Clear Choice Instant Clean Add-it-ive, to clear your urine sample of all drug traces and toxins, including prescription medications.
- Purchase a concentrated synthetic urine substitute that is guaranteed to pass any test. It is important to follow instructions to make sure the test is successful. For example, correct temperature for urine is between 90.5 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so the sample must be mixed with warm water and kept warm before submitting.
- Electronic drug testing kits, like The Urinator, provide all needed components, including a battery-operated thermostat and heater, testing strips, and bottle filler, all in a small, easily concealed package.
- If you are surprised with a random, unplanned test and have no other options, drinking a large amount of water can often dilute urine enough to enable passing the test.
Drug Testing – Hair
Drug testing using hair follicles is generally more costly, requiring a longer turnaround time for lab results and, perhaps for those reasons, it is less commonly used. In addition, it does not effectively detect recent drug use within the past seven days. It does, however, detect drug use in the past 90 days. 2 It has been criticized as unfairly targeting minorities, whose darker colored hair tends to bond more readily to the drug metabolites that have diffused from the bloodstream.1
- Use a specially formulated hair follicle shampoo to cleanse the hair of all drug residues and toxins. The shampoo should be used no more than eight hours ahead of testing. Choose a product, like Clear Choice HFS, that offers a money-back guarantee.
Drug Testing – Saliva
Saliva testing is used by employers and others to detect the presence of actual drugs, or “parent drugs,” rather than just metabolites, as with most other testing. Saliva tests often look for the presence of THC, the identifying component of cannabis. It only remains in the saliva for a brief period of several hours, and in very small amounts; therefore, it is difficult to detect through this test, except in determining current, active drug use. Successful detection using this test can, obviously, have devastating effects on employment status and lead to possible legal consequences.
- Use a specially formulated mouthwash to rinse up to 30 minutes prior to testing. This will help rid the mouth of any drug residue toxins that might contaminate your saliva sample.
- A neutralizing gum requires just 30 seconds of chewing, releasing a liquid that will clear saliva and mouth of toxins, including nicotine, up to 30 minutes prior to saliva testing.
What If I Don’t Pass?
If, despite all your best efforts, you fail an employer’s drug test, there are steps you can take to turn your situation around.
- Appeal: if you fail a drug test, you should immediately ask for a second test, and insist that the first test was flawed.
- Some legal drugs may cause a false positive result. You might consider listing on your lab test intake form some over-the-counter medications that can produce a false positive. In the event of a positive result, you will then have the basis for an appeal.
- A false reading for THC can result from taking pain relievers like Ibuprofen, Motrin, Midol, Nuprin, or Advil.
- Others can produce a false positive for amphetamines, like Sudafed, nasal sprays, and medications that contain phenylpropanolamine or ephedrine.
- Secondhand smoke inhalation from exposure to cannabis could cause a false positive for THC.
- A false positive for opiates can result from taking Vicks Formula 44M, Primatene-M, poppy seeds, quinine water, the anti-depressant Elavil, or the pain reliever Demerol.
- False positives for other drugs can result, including: false for Methadone when taking Nyquil Nightime, for cocaine when taking some antibiotics, and for PCP when taking diazepam or dextromethorphan in cough medicines.
- Last resort: ask for referral to a drug treatment program if it will maintain a relationship with the employer.
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