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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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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 is this fair or legal?

not legal

you said you got fired from your job due to a positve result for cocaine but they would not show you the result.  This is not legal - otherwise they could be firing you becuase you boss is concerned that you are doing a better job then her and may replace her (yes this happened to me)  She tried everything to get me fired including a drug test that came out of nowhere.  However I did pass.  If you donrt see the drug test you have no idea of why they are firing you and they have to prove it;.  I would fight for workmans comp because they would have to provide it there.  If you dont want to go that route contact a lawyer..  Did your boss give you a reason why you could not see the results of the test but just had to take his word for it?  Think about it.  Do you think they would ever let you do an instant test and just tell them Yeah it is negataive,  of course not.  Dont give up

Happens more than we think

I had some legal things going on with my ex which involves CPS they were on my back because I was in recovery I was doing good and everything was going great my kids were put into my house and not even 24 hours later I go to my drug clinic to get my everyday Medicine of methadone and my counselor pulls me aside and tells me I came up positive for cocaine they contacted CPS and the time I got home my kids were already removed out of the house not even 24 hours after having them that I was devastated knowing I didn't do anything and No One Believes you when you're a recovering addict I thought and thought and finally I talked them into letting me take a hair follicle which is more accurate and goes back even farther at first they want me to pay $525 which I unfortunately didn't have considering I'm on an income basis of $900 my rent alone is 700 and I get help from the state since I was in a major car accident and severed half my foot thank God CPS ended up paying for it this has results came back a month-and-a-half after that first positive when my children were removed from the house and lo and behold the toxicology showed I was clean no opiates in my system so my children were removed from my house for no reason I was drug through the mud criticized by everyone and most addicts what are use this as a reason to relapse and I didn't I kept my head up high and told everybody I did nothing wrong and the truth will come out and it did but I still lost a month and a half of time with my kids they were pulled out of my house after being put back in my daughter still talks about it and my other daughter I missed out on a lot of First with her she was only a couple of months old if these drug tests are so inaccurate I can't believe that they can take your children your life everything from you and just so you know it's been another year-and-a-half since that has happened and I've had two other tests come up with both positives and I'm still clean I had to go get a hair follicle for one of them the other one thank God I had another test on that day and another place and it showed my innocence that day as well but it just shows in almost three years of recovery I have never failed a drug test other than the three full spas atives that I proved and you think anyone believe me for any of them no all I heard from the facility was that are drug tests are hundred percent it is a very very rare circumstance that something happens and I would respond well obviously it's not a hundred percent if it's rare that means that happens and obviously it it's happened once twice now 3 times it must happen a lot more than you let people onto and now since I've been in this facility for a couple years I have ran into many people that have had the same problems and threw my advice they did the same thing they went for hair follicle test the ones that were innocent and prove their innocence so this does happen a lot more than places want you to know

false positive test

I don't understand how I failed a test when I don't even smoke is it becausebecausei had sex with someone that does

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

Yes antibiotics can cause a

Yes antibiotics can cause a false test I have be reading about it online

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?

find an answer to false positives when taking rantidine

Have you had false positives of meth when taking rantodine?  I know there are many of you like us that  have a child on rantidine and have been taken out of the home because a hair follicle test came back positive for meth.  Now its up for us to prove them wrong.  What I need is your cooperation to help me prove that this drug will give false positives for meth.  In our case the child was taken out of the home at 3 mont hs of age,  Born in Sept and testing done 7 months later .  Positive for meth in very high dose.  This cannot be,  I am a Registerd Medical Technologist with 40 years experience.  Having done thousands of testing in my Lab Tech years I know this result cannot be possible.  Three months is the life of meth in your system.  Here it was done 7 months later with they say an extreemly high results.  Of all the comments I have read here and other places it is time we ban together and find  if this is true (that rantidine)  gives false results.  What have we got to loose,NOTHING and gain EVERYTHING>.  Help me get this child back home and yours also.Must have some information that will stand up in court Lets work together.  Lets get going and prove DCF wrong.  There has to be answers hidden somewhere..  Lets diligently and prayerfully start NOW..   If anyone knows of a document that will hold up in court PLEASE e-mail me at  [email protected]  Thank you for your help.  Lets hit the road running.  Like I said before one minute is to long to be without our children or a job because of false positives.

Did you ever find a answer or

Did you ever find a answer or something to proobe. Am going thru the same situation if you did please let me know

False positive

Please contact me by email. [email protected] I am going through the exact same thing. I take the same medication. Please help.


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!


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.

been accused of heroin and meth never touched it ever

I was accused of meth and morphine im trying to get proof that i never takin those drugs im so upset and really pissed im going to get deathly ill because they will not fill my montly scrips what shoiuld I do????????????

marcy chandler az dr angel and millinium labs will not reason with me at all im calling a lawyer

I had to take that test today !

Now I'm scared my Dr wants to get rid of me because I don't see any younger people in her office ever I feel like I have become a target for her what are you doing finding another Dr ?

been accused of heroin and meth never touched it ever

Hi ,

my urine test went to millinium also i live in chandler az and my dr cut me off of my pain meds ive been on for 5 years and always tested negative except for what im supposed to take , but today omg i was in shock and they just said by they didnt even care so im going to try and get a hair folical test tomorrow to try and prove my innocents if not im sueing for stress and im going to get very sick with withdrawls im so scared i dont know what to do i need my refills i always take as directed im so sick of being treated like a addict im not a drug user only legal what im perscribed , the dr id Bogdon Angel in chandler az what should i do????????thank you marcy they said i was on heroin and meth discusting i would never take that stuff EVER!!!!!!

Hey I kno I'm little late

Hey I kno I'm little late reading this forum but I am just recently going through same exact thing but for different drug! I too go to suboxone treatment and I went to a doc prior to this one for yr&half and never had a false positive. They do oral swabs @new doc and twice I showed up for cocaine and once for heroin which I swear on my kids lives I've nver touched! I've admitted to some shitty drugs I've tried in past but nver heroin! So bc all if this I lost my daughters temporary through nasty custody battle. Well been a wk since I got results and now the director of the company wants to speak with me tmrw. I'm praying they admit to faulty testing bc my kids lives depend on it. If they don't, then I'm willing to do the hair follicle but that makes me as nervous, for I've heard horror stories of false positives on them as well. Anyhow, I hope you found new doc&r doin well. Anytime there is a positive & we demand we r negative I think they shld automatically do confirmation on it. Unfortunately it was too late for me bc they nver told me mine were positive. I found out @my custody hearing where I had my own results sent over bc I knew I was clean!

Did you get your son back

Did you get your son back because the same as happened to me!

Ive lost my children bc I was on Methadone

I lost my children bc i was on methadone while i was pregnant under the cate of a doctor all my medications were prescribed. My one daughter is 4 and in foster care i havent seen her in about 2 1/2 years now the foster parents want to adopt her. My younger daughter is 2 and with my aunt thank god. But i still have 2 do supervised visits with my baby ive been petitioning the court for 2 yeard for unsupervised visits they always tell me NO! I just petitioned again in January 2017 theu asked me 2 do a HAIR FOLICLE TEST I SAID NP, I DO THE TEST AND ITCOMES BACK POSITIVE FOR MORPHINE HEROIN AND CODONE. NOW I GOT TO 2 OTHER PLACES TO GET SUPERVISED URINE TEST WEEKLY AND THERE RANDOM TESTS AND THEU ARE ALL CLEAN AND ARENT POSITIVE FOR ANY KIND OF DRUGS. IVE DONE TESTING AND HAIR FOLLICLE TESTS ELSEWHERE AND THOSE ARE ALL CLEAN AS WELL. IDK WTH TO DO ANYMORE IM AT MU WITS END HERE. WHERE CAN I FIND A FORENSIC SCIENTIST TO BACK ME UP AT COURT.


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

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.



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

meth test

not to make fun of a sad situation but my answer would be yes it could as well as the chemicals the testers use in thier private lives

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....


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,


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


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.


My  daughter  needs help with them,at time she did do meth but cleaned up,and added 2 more 

Children to the family but when she had the 2 one ( a seg c section) we took my grandaughter home

For 11 days then cps and 2 cops come to take my grandchildren away,they wouldnt Show us anything

and they left the 16 year old withme but not the babies.It has been a year and its mostly couse the drug patch, she can take a piss test every day she has the patch on and pass but the patch will come back with meth,one time it came back with thc,she has never liked pot,I have read that the meth will stay in fat cells and when you burn that fat cell it will come out on your skin and one said that the drug stay on your skin? We could use some help we may loose my grandkids.we go back to court 5-1-2015 so please help

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 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.....

Exact Same Situation. !

I just got declined for going full time at my place of work for coming up positive on a hair follicle test for THC. As well as being rejected for the job, I was put on a final warning for failing the drug and alcohol policy at my place of work. I have been employed for around 8 months before this drug test and I have not touched marijuana in over a year before it. I have asked to contest the results but my employer on every teir does not know how to do it. I work so hard. I really do. I feel like all of my hard work was just thrown away because of a false positive result. On top of that, I feel so ashamed of this result that I don't even want to go back into work. I feel like everyone thinks that I am some sort of drug addict now.

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