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Substances That Can Cause a Failed Drug Test

by | Dec 23, 2023 | Uncategorized

While drug screens are reliable in detecting illegal substances most of the time, they sometimes produce false positives. This situation can be devastating when it harms your career or lands you in legal trouble. If this happens to you, the cause is probably something in your diet or your environment. Some everyday things break down in your system to form the metabolic version of an illicit drug. Here are a few common substances that can cause a failed drug test.

Poppy Seeds

Poppy seeds have many common uses. They’re used in baking, especially in muffins, cakes, and pie fillings. Poppy seeds are also used in holistic medicine to treat insomnia, cough, and digestive disturbances. Unfortunately, these little black seeds can cause significant problems with your drug test as they contain small amounts of morphine and codeine. Ingesting one teaspoon of poppy seeds can cause a false positive for opiates, and the products may stay in your system for up to 48 hours after eating. Many labs use a higher cut-off point to differentiate between consumers of poppy-seed baked goods and drug users.

Secondhand Marijuana Smoke

If you claim you failed your drug screen because your roommate was smoking weed, you’ll probably be met with skepticism. However, there’s a slim chance that this really could happen. Studies have found that being present in a closed room with others smoking marijuana can cause you to have a positive urine drug test. Thankfully, that scenario is rare in the real world, and you would have to test almost immediately after the exposure to get a positive test.

Over the Counter Medications

Commonly used medications found in almost every medicine cabinet may cause your drug screen to come back positive. One is ibuprofen. This drug is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) often used to treat inflammation and pain. When it interacts with urine, it can produce a false positive for barbiturates, cannabis, or PCP. High doses of between 800 and 1200mg per day caused positive tests for marijuana, while lower doses caused positives for barbiturates. Fortunately, it’s a simple matter for a laboratory to verify that ibuprofen causes a positive drug screen by doing additional testing.

Sudafed is another conventional medication that may cause a positive drug screen. The full name of the drug is Pseudoephedrine, and it’s long been a treatment for sinus problems, nasal congestion, allergies, and respiratory irritation. A primary ingredient is a form of synthetic amphetamine, so it may show up on a drug screen as that or methamphetamine. It would be best to avoid Sudafed for at least 48 hours before your test.

Antidepressant Medications

Antidepressants can cause false positives because their chemical makeup is similar to amphetamines or benzodiazepines. For example, the antidepressant Sertraline may show up in the urine test as a benzodiazepine because when it breaks down, it produces the same by-products. Lab tests cannot differentiate, so the best course of action is to inform the testing facility if you are taking an antidepressant. Be prepared to show documentation from your medical provider if needed.

Infant Soaps

One cause of positive drug screens that is still poorly understood is baby washes and soaps. Some brands, such as Johnson & Johnson Bedtime Bath, Aveeno Soothing Relief Cream Wash, and CVS Nighttime Baby Bath, may cause a positive test for marijuana. Scientists suspect that some ingredients may have a similar molecular structure to THC, the primary ingredient in cannabis. It is not clear, however, how the elements get from skin to urine.

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If you’d like to learn more about drug testing and what routine products can cause false positives, contact us at {Sub:BusinessName}. We’ll be glad to answer your questions and advise you on the best course of action to avoid this embarrassing situation.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/ Novikov Aleksey

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