False Positives: The Dark Secret of the Drug Testing Regime

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The New Scientist has an excellent story on student drug testing which reveals, among other things, that the stupid tests don't even work:

What's more, such tests can flag kids who are "clean" and miss genuine users. A study led by [director of the Adolescent Substance Abuse Program at Children's Hospital Boston, Sharon] Levy and published this month in Pediatrics (DOI: 01.1542/peds.2006-2278) examined recent drug tests of teenagers being treated for substance abuse. Of 710 drug tests performed, 85 gave incorrect results, either because the urine sample was too dilute to interpret properly, or because the test picked up prescription medicines.


"Drug tests can be very difficult to understand and interpret," says Levy. "There are lots of circumstances under which a kid could be using drugs and not test positive or have a positive test when they are not using drugs."
 

The tests were wrong 11.9% of the time. That's unbelievable. If 12 students out of 100 are getting bogus results, these tests aren't even close to being useful. And while follow-up tests can sometimes set things straight, consider this:

While the rules for federally funded testing say positive results must be checked by an approved lab, no such rules exist for the approximately 500 schools that are testing without federal grants. "Confirmatory testing adds a lot of cost. I don't think most schools are doing it." Levy says.
 

So the tests are wrong with frightening regularity, yet many schools don’t even have procedures for following up on positive results. That doesn't mean they aren't doing it, but it certainly raises doubts. Here's just one example of how a false positive test can destroy a student's relationship with their school.

As reformers, I believe we've been remiss in failing to emphasize false positives as a primary argument against student drug testing. It may prove difficult to establish the frequency with which they occur, but one is too many and the victims are highly sympathetic. When innocent non-users are accused and subjected to the stigma of drug use erroneously, all perceived values of the program are cast into doubt. This is an argument that might catch the attention of "clean" kids and proud parents who think they've got nothing to lose here.

Funny Side-note: SSDP's Tom Angell once urine tested himself for fun. Tom's reputation for partying is rather undistinguished, so we were certain he'd come up negative across the board. Instead, he came up positive for amphetamines and barbiturates (isn't that what killed Elvis?).

It was amusing that the test was so completely wrong the first time we ever tried it. But then we got chills thinking about families being torn apart by these fraudulent products. Come to think of it, there's nothing at all funny about any of this.

 

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Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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false positive

i have a great job i just did a hair test and it came up positive for coke i never ever did that drug in my life somethigns weird i lost my job and now am getiing my own test back

(False) Positive for cocaine

The same thing happened to me! I had the job of a lifetime. I came into work sick one day and was sent to submit to a hair sample. I came up positive for cocaine, even though I've never touched it in my life. Needless to say, I lost my job and now my employer will not give me a copy of my results...how is this fair or legal?

6 month old baby was positive for cocaine

my 6 month old baby was had a hair test done and it came up positive for cocaine she has been on 3 different antibotics in the last month and half is there any way possible that the antibotics made her test come back positive

Tested positive for cocaine

I just recently took a drug test for work. I took a hair and urine test. My urine test came back negative but my hair test came back positive for cocaine. I've never even done cocaine! How is this possible? Is there anything I can do?

i need help

I need help fighting a false positive hair test. I don't want to loose my children any idea?

Military

I was a false positive for marijuana in the military after 2 years a letter of apology came.
The tests were incorrect. Already discharged (general discharge) a ruined career
and tons of stigma. My life is still messed up from this test. Do not do this to children.

I had same thing but they

I had same thing but they said I tested positive for cocaine I did hair test neg results, polygraph no deception, lawyer with to s of knowledge proved the government wrong and they still discharged me. As well forensic scientist back my results against the board but still discharged this is bs I hope they send me a letter soon

how did u find a forensic

how did u find a forensic scientist i need to prove that i have not used morphine because my hair test said i was positive for it....and now i might lose my son because of it.....fucking crazy!

hope its not too late going through the same thing but wit urine

go to www.fda.gov and use the search engine to find answers get the generic name or active ingredients to any medication you may have taken within a few months prior to the test. find out what concentration level was found in the test if possible. Here is results from a basic search i did already but if you know what may have caused it it is easier to find information http://google2.fda.gov/search?requiredfields=-archive%3AYes&q=morphine+false+positive+hair+follicle+test&spell=1&client=FDAgov&lr=&proxystylesheet=FDAgov&output=xml_no_dtd&sort=date%3AD%3AL%3Ad1&entqr=3&entqrm=0&oe=UTF-8&ie=UTF-8&ud=1&site=FDAgov&btnG=Search    

 

I had the same happen to me with a urine sample and had to use the fda website to prove it was caused by zantac (ranitidine came up as amphetamine) the active ingredient caused it and it was stated in the device regulations they tested me with on fda website under the interferance section III letter C number 3 even though my doctor insisted it was impossible. the government cant argue with itself. Before you try to fight it as being a false positive make sure something you have documented as taking or have proof of is what caused it, for example i have medical records as far back as 2009 from a couple different doctors saying i have been taking zantac over the counter daily, if you dont have that information you may not have a case

 

This is the document i used for my positive urine sample just as an example of what to look for when searching it is about the test itself see if you can find out the specific brand or type of follicle test they gave you and look for the info on that specific device. http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/GuidanceDocuments/ucm070612.htm

 

Good luck to you

morphine

hello, my name is Angela and I read your comment about morphine I have recently been in a suboxone program and last Friday I was kicked out because they had a third positive morphine test. I have never taking morphine! the cup revealed negative for morphine but the lab results came back positive! there is another guy on the Thursday group who is going through the same thing he has given two positive morphine test and has never taking morphine. I am certain there are more of us out there.... I told my doctor that I go to church on Sunday I am saved and I put it on my salvation that I did not take morphine. nothing is worth burning in hell for. I would like to start a class action lawsuit against either against the millennium laboratories or the clinic or somebody has to pay for all these false positives and having me go through this with an 8 month old baby is so unfair that I am Not sure if I'm going to get sick or how sick I am going to get but they cut me off completely... for something I did not do.

Millenium Labs

I also just tested positive for morphine from Millenium Labs I'm allergic to it, the drug makes me violently ill and now i  have been discharged from my pain doctor for  using a non prescribed drug. I have now way of proving myself innocent but would be more than happy to joim in a class action suit, their management won't even speak with me. I have 5 surgeries in the last 7 years and refuse morphine but Dr, won' even listen to me. How as patients do we protect ourselves as being accused of something we did not know.

Hello I'm working on

Hello I'm working on something for a class action suit. From this same Millennium company. I'm in a pain management clinic and my test results came back for positive cocaine, methadone and Heroin which I never used drugs a day in my life.

FALSE POSITIVE

I had a test for my probation and came up false positive for coke I have not taken any coke.
I was shocked at the results, I asked for a retest at a lab as i wasnt happy I am waitng for the results back.
I was taking a brazilian slimming pill that has showed up in others as amphetamine.
I am really worried about this has anyone had the same ??

drug hair analysis

2-29-08
Just had this hair test done today for employment purposes. I am not a drug user, and am shocked that all these false positives are out there. I hope this does not happen to me, as I really need this job. It will be interesting. Looks like a lot of the above posts are stating false positives through hair analysis. Will keep you posted.

TEST

I JUST HAD THAT HAPPEN TO ME THEY TOOK AWAY ALL MY MEDICTIONS AND IDK WAT TO DO THEY SAID I NEED TO WRITE A LETTER TO THE NARCTIOS BOARS.. I NEVER DONE COCANIE ... IDK WAT TO DO OR WHO CAN HELP ME???

meth test

member of my family works on cars for a living he had a hair test done on hair on his arms the chemicals he uses daily there are at least 17 out of 20 chem that are used for meth and he breaths them in and gets them on him every day he is not a drug user except uses a inhaler for his asma the first test came back 4000 parts on test so he did his own two weeks later and came back only 800 parts now chance may loose kids due to this test. can the chemicals he uses cause a false pos

false positive

My mother was recently tested for drugs at her place of employment. Damned if the test was positive for Maijuana. No damned way, she's in her 60's and never has done this.

Meanwhile her employer won't do a retest. (she figures they must have made a mistake) She tried to get her own test but appearently you just can't go down and pay for your own. Need a Dr's note or employers deal. She did find a place after lots of searching, they told her to check in in the morning to get the results. Now the story has changed and they told her she cannot get the results, she has to go through the Seattle Police.???? What the heck is going on? She ordered and payed for this test.

I've been checking the internet for answers and was shocked to see that so many products may produce a false positive. I asked her if she had listed all of the drugs/suplements/etc. She said they did not mention anything about that when they were taking the sample (hair test)

Just hoping this can get straightened out soon.

Re: Your Mom's false positive results....

Hello,

So sorry to hear about your Mom's false positive 'Hair Test' for Marijuana.
My Mom is facing a similar test at here job, where she has been employed for over twenty years.
My question is, what type of supplements was your Mom taking? I would like to warn my own Mother in case she is taking anything that would jeopardize her position.

Good Day,

CJ

False Mary Jane

Sorry about your situation. I had a false THC at a new Pain Clinic and the doctor was very accusatory and arrogant. I went to the hospital to get a second test. No THC. They received their results from the MC/GS and it was negative. It turns out that the very Ibuprofen that they were prescribing for me triggered a false positive for THC. You can Google it

false positive for cocaine

i am 35 years old and recently had to take a urine and hair drug test. i am a single mother of 5 children since the death of my husband 8 years ago. i have never in my life done cocaine and never will but yet my urine test came back negative on a 10 panel drug test and my hair test came back positive for cocaine. the cocaine amount was 2716ng which basically would mean i would have used cocaine on a daily basis which i dont. i requested another hair test and are awaiting for the results.

Why me

Hello,

I recently took a hair drug test for my job. 12 days later I got the results back positive for cocaine use, which I have never ever used or will ever use. You see I was raised by two crack additced parents. I have suffered a great deal be hind their drug use. I even have a birth defect on my right dumb because of it. It is like I am being accused or something. I realy love my job. I just bought a house and I have a car note and plenty of bills. I am single with no kids and I do it all on my own. I just fill like people like us need to get to the bottom of this. Something is not right. Yes I asked to be retested but the test is going to the same lab, which I am questioning there services. I went and had a test redone at my own expense. I am currently waiting on the results. Yes I will keep you posted. This leads me to think if the other test comes back positive for cocaine someone had to put it in my food or drink and this is a hard thing to realize that someone would do this to a person. This test should come back negative becasuse I never used cocaine in my life. Then I wont loose my job. If I loose my job I will loose my life until I find another job, which 9 out of 10 will not pay as much. All I can think of is to PRAY, why me.

Why, I hope your right Dumb

Why, I hope your right Dumb is fine

false positive for

I was just fired for my urinalysis being positive for a drug called propoxyphene I dont know what to do sny answers for me out there

propoxyphene is a

propoxyphene is a prescription pain med like darvacet if u have a prescription 4 it or had surgery went 2 the hospital u should b able 2 get some sort of documentation proving it u should b fine if no documentation ur screwed

Law Enforcement

I am currently in law enforcement in illinois. I applied for the Illinois State Police in 2007 and made it to March Orientation where I was measured and fitted for uniform. I also gave a blood, urine, and hair sample. Five days later, I was called by the lab to inform me my hair tested positive for THC. I tried for 2 weeks to get ahold of ISP and when I did they told me I was DQ'd because of the test. I asked for a retest because I have never done it before and was denied. The lady said verbatim, " It's not my problem and I'm not here to offer you any guidance. I wouldn't apply again." How cold is that? Now I am stigmatized at work as the pothead cop. What am I suppose to do now? I lost a job I had worked extremely hard for. Now I have to spend hundreds of dollars for an independent test that won't be accepted by the ISP. It almost ruined my marriage.

false positive

Did you know that anti inflammatories can cause false positives for THC

i read that there r over 250

i read that there r over 250 over the counter & prescription meds that cause false positives not 2 mention enviromental contamination that can cause false positives for hair tests also certain medical conditions like liver disease,kidney infections and certain antibiotics that cause u 2 test positive 4 cocaine & herion!!!!! people r loosing their children jobs & lives over this bs!!!!!!!!!!!

false positive test

I was brought in on a complaint that  I was smoking pot with my son and his friend (son of the complainant). The son had been arrested for sexual battery on a 14 year old girl, who lived across the street from me. There was a no contact pre-trial order in place. I saw the defendant at the girl's bus stop and again near her house as she walked home. I wrote a report and submitted a warrant for his arrest. This complaint was brought about a week later.

I was told that I could submit to a drug test to clear this incident, which I did without reservations. The drug test should positive not for marijuana but cocaine. At no time have I ever ingested, inhaled, injected, nor by any other method put cocaine, or any other illicit drug or substance, in my body. After which I was fired. Now my certification is in jeopardy. I've been a Law Enforcement Officer for 20 years, 10 months with no history of any illegal activity. 

Has anyone ever heard of

Has anyone ever heard of something that might cause a false positive drug test for propoxyphene?

False positive

There is nothing out there over the counter that would cause a false positive for propoxyphene. There are

only two drugs that have that in it, Darvon-N or Darvon, and they both have to be filled by prescription.

borden's picture

You need to read more about

You need to read more about this. Some of the drug tests generate false positives for illicit drugs from mere exposure to air.
 

Darvon

The drugs Darvon and Darvocet and any of their variations are off the market and are not prescribed any more. Darvocet was fairly recently pulled, but Darvon has been out of the legal market for some time. I you have a legit script for it, it has to be ancient.

Propoxyphene

Benadryl can cause both false positives for propoxyphene and methadone on an EIA

Propoxyphene

Benadryl can cause both false positives for propoxyphene and methadone on an EIA

Set Up by employers.......

I suprized that nobody has mentioned of being set up at work by others offering you food or dink that is laced. I did a check on myself and came up positive for PCP I don't do drugs.. Now they have retested me I will wait to see the results.... I don't do any drugs at all ... Better be a clean test.....................

false positives

i recently got a great job offer pending my drug test.this for the 1st time i've ever had t do a hair follicle test.surprisingly it came back positive for cocaine.i literally caught a panic attack,the manager stated they never had that happen before while the lab is telling me they are 100%positive.i immediately thought they switched my hair with someone else but now reading these comments from others its even more disturbing.of course i paid for my own hair test and am awaiting the results.

Costly False Positive

In the course of a custody battle, I had a hair follicle test come back positive for cocaine at a ridiculously high level that would seemingly indicate regular (practically daily) usage. I have never done nor would I ever do cocaine. This false positive was used against me to suspend visitation with my children for a year and has stigmatized me ever since. I took my own, independent hair test a few weeks after that initial test and it came back negative. I was ordered to take yet another test within the 90 day period (which should have also detected anything in the timeframe that the original false positive would have reported) which also came back negative, which even an alcohol and drug counselor said had to prove that the first test was a false positive. Nonetheless, it's a black mark on my reputation that I now have to live with indefinitely. I can't believe all the stories here similar to mine.

I want to fight back they are

I want to fight back they are corrupt 4793583628. Look up senetor Nancy Shaffer she sums it up well before she was murdered

false positive for THC

Got a job after being laid off for a year, had to take a hair test...it came back positive for thc. They claim higher than second hand but
they have yet to give me results.
I did make a stink. I have not smoked pot in years! They would not take my list of precrip drugs or my list of vit and over the counter meds.
I talked with my doc and he said he thought this was bad medicine.

when I went for retest the lady said my hairs were to short, she called phyconeics....they said it was ok but could cause a false positive.
Of cource as soon as I wanted that in writing everyone said no. Also told my employeer....he said he needed a cert with clean on it
it did not matter to him......told him he is using a bad lab!!!!

Took a retest that I had to pay for and I am waiting for that.....

Was hard to believe until I saw this page. FALSE POSITIVE "COCAI

Been out of work for 9 months now, moved back home and finally found a promosing gigg until about an hour ago. I got a call from a doctor stating to me that I tested positive for "COCAINE" never used the stuff, can't afford it from what I have heard and I called the manager to tell him that this couldn't be true because the only thing I use is my high blood pressure meds and that is it.
The emp;oyer said let me talk to someone, which seems like a blow off, but lets see if we can work something out. This mess is crazy with all ths false positive stuff.
Do they understand that they are messing with peoples lively hoods here. Man I hope that they can see through this.

false positive

it was a hair test

Hair Tested positive for cocaine?

I just got the results from a hair test for my dream job, and it came back positive for cocaine.
I don't use drugs, but I have been taking Accutrim to loose weight.
I cannot believe this. I am so depressed. I have been out of work for a long time, and this has devistated me beyond belief. I was so sure I was getting the job, but.....

False Positives

I am an opiate addict in recovery for many years now. Yesterday I was in to see my doctor for my regular urinanalysis as I have been taking Suboxone to help with pain management as I injured my back a couple years ago and cannot safely take any other type of pain med. Why he waited until now to tell me, is beyond me. But he stated "this is what some like to call a Jesus moment"...and then proceeded to tell me I have tested positive for Marijuana several times over the past year and a couple times for COKE!! And a couple times for amphetamines and opiates. Unfortuantely as opiates WERE my drug of choice..I don't have much leg to stand on to argue that. But I havn't used opiates except for one relapse in the last year that I admitted too {but previously had several years of clean time} and I have not touched Marijuana in over 8 years! I have tried coke two times in my life..over 5 years ago. I have never taken amphetamines until recently prescribed to me by this same doctor for a sleep disorder I am dealing with..{which leads me to another question: why would he prescribe adderall to me if I tested positive a few months ago-therefore seemingly abusing it as I certainly was never prescribed this until now? Why would any doctor prescribe this if a test looked like I had a problem with this drug?} I have never taken Benzo's other than a one time prescription about 3 years ago after the murder of my infant nephew..when the script was gone {after 30 days}..that was it. I am doing much research and have given this doctor a list of all OTC and prescribed {to me} meds I have ingested over the last year and hoping he will help me figure this out! I also am going to pay out of pocket for at home drug tests and bring them to my next appointment to have the nurse winess the test performed and compare the results with their lab results {which get tested by some lab of which I don't know the name or location}..but clearly someone is screwing up BIGTIME at this lab or it is my own medications causing this. I'm talking their have been over ten positive tests in the last year! My doctor told me that a false positive can happen but not this often!! He told me to stop and that clearly I am very sick and need help!!! I am with a counselor I still go to meetings and take my medications as prescribed! I do not associate with drug users and had a great job as a substance abuse counselor until some recent health problems got in the way..and deciding to take a leave of absence due to my relapse. My big question is WHY in the world would my doctor only be telliing me about these positive results NOW? And what in the world am I supposed to do about this other than fight tooth and nail with my honest words and bring my own tests to the doctor {which from all these emails from others make it look sound like the home tests are just as faulty!}. I have two children and could face losing them if my doctor chose to report this to DHS! I am extremely stressed and feel alone in this fight! I used to be the type of person that felt bad for the people who tried to deny so called "foolproof" drug test results! I would say: "How can they continue to deny this even after a test confirms it?" I agree with the folks who made the statement that this is ruining peoples lives! Nevermind the individual who is in recovery! For me this looks especailly bad as there was a time when I had a drug problem! But I have learned that lying about it only digs the 'hole' deeper and I would never again risk so much for a temporary "high"!! I am a good mother and my boyfriend and sister know that this is false but how to prove this to my doctor and anyone else that may come to question this??! Please help!!

Look up senetor Nancy Shaffer

Look up senetor Nancy Shaffer she summed up corruption of Dhs before she was killed. Weird bur true. Call 3793583628 fight back

Im a recovering alcoholic,

Im a recovering alcoholic, been of alcohol for 13month now, i recently had a hair strand test carried out to prove to the father of my 2 boys that im not depentant on alcohol, i wasnt worried about the result because i knew 100% that i haven't touched a drop in the past 13month, i was devasted when i did get my result it was 'POSITIVE', luckily for me my court case has been ajourned and im fortunate to have another test done, not by the same Lab. What worrys me now thou is that im scared incase the new one comes back POSITIVE, this result is so important to me because its the link between me getting to see my children, so they have my life in there hands, how unfair is that, if anyone can help me out there or if anyone is going through simuilar experiences, please,please email me. sharontrotter19@yahoomail.com. Thank you for reading this.

An injustice by the justice service!

I to have been wrongly accussed of taking Amphetamines, I found myself in a court room having everyone on the case accussing me of being an alcholic drug addict who is in denial, for something i hadn't even taken. They wanted me to lie on the Bible to tell them i'd taken things that i hadn't because my tests had come back showing Amphetamines. My children mean everything to me! WHY would i take a test to get my children and take drugs to destroy that from happening? The judge has seperated my children my 9 yr old daughter now lives with my parents & my 4 yr old daughter lives with her dad, who put me through 6 1/2 yrs of violence and control and manipulation. He is the one who should be punished, not my children. How can i prove my innoscents and get my children back with their mum where they belong?!

Look up senetor Nancy Shaffer

Look up senetor Nancy Shaffer she summed up corruption of Dhs before she was killed. Weird but true. Call 3793583628 fight backLook up senetor Nancy Shaffer she summed up corruption of Dhs before she was killed. Weird but true. Call 3793583628 fight back. She came up murdered while exposing child protective services

Look up senetor Nancy Shaffer

Look up senetor Nancy Shaffer she summed up corruption of Dhs before she was killed. Weird but true. Call 3793583628 fight backLook up senetor Nancy Shaffer she summed up corruption of Dhs before she was killed. Weird but true. Call 3793583628 fight back. She came up murdered while exposing child protective services

false positive

I take anti inflammatories meds and anxiety med every day and came up positive for marijuana so your prescription meds will cause you to fail a test. Always take your meds and mg and dr who prescribed so they can verify!

false positive hair drug test

i dont understand this is affecting alot good people. i just took a hair drug test and i tested positive for coke. i have never done coke in my life. my heart is broken and i am so confused. when the lab called me i wanted to grab that man through the phone and beat the hell out of him. im still in shock and have cried for the last pass four days. this has caused me to miss out on the job of my dreams. i have always heard bad things happen to good people...... i believe that now. may god bless all of us.

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