If you come to work under the influence of marijuana, cocaine or other controlled substances, you could be at a higher risk of hurting yourself or your colleagues. If you play on a sports team, you could create an unfair competitive advantage by taking steroids or using other banned substances. To ensure that everyone is abiding by the rules, employers, sports governing bodies and government agencies may subject individuals to random or scheduled drug tests. Let’s take a look at how you can prepare for them and what to do if you receive a positive test result.
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How to Prepare for a Drug Test
It’s possible that your employer may ask you to take a drug test during the work day or immediately after your shift comes to an end. There is also a chance that you will be subject to random drug testing while your sport of choice is in season. If you are pulled over by the police or have been convicted of a crime in the recent past, you may also be subject to random testing that you can’t truly prepare for.
However, if you have some idea as to when you might be tested, the best thing to do is to refrain from using any substances that a test is designed to detect. For example, if you know that your employer conducts an alcohol screen in January, the best thing to do is to not drink alcohol in the hours or days prior to that event. If your sports league tests for the presence of marijuana, steroids or other items that may linger in your system, you’ll need to refrain from using them for days or weeks prior to your test.
It’s also important to create a full list of any medications that you take on a regular basis or have taken in the recent past to treat an injury or deal with a chronic health condition. There is a chance that you’ll need to switch to another product during the testing season if any of your medications contain banned substances. This may be true even if taking it would otherwise be legal.
Items That Can Increase the Risk of a False Positive
Cough syrup, allergy medications and products used to help you lose weight may all contain ingredients that could result in a false positive drug test. Specifically, cough syrup could cause you to test positive for PCP while medications used to treat allergy symptoms may make it seem as if you are using methamphetamine. In some cases, using products such as Advil that contain NSAIDs may be enough to test positive for THC, which is the primary ingredient in marijuana.
It’s also worth noting that items such as shampoo or lotion might also trigger a false positive. Therefore, if you have a drug test coming up, it’s important to carefully read the label on everything that you use. Your physician, personal trainer or other professionals in your life may be able to help you screen anything that you use on a regular basis to reduce the risk of a false positive occurring.
Defending Yourself After a Positive Test
The type of defense that you use will depend largely on the reason why you were tested and who conducts the testing. For instance, your employer will likely conduct a drug test to determine if you are using substances that are prohibited by state or federal law. In addition, they may test to ensure that you aren’t using substances that might make you drowsy or otherwise have side effects that could make you more likely to make a mistake while on the job.
In such a scenario, you will want to show that a positive result was triggered by a legal substance or one that causes a few dangerous side effects. You may also avoid negative consequences if you can show that you have a prescription for any medication that might have triggered a false positive.
This strategy may also be ideal if you are taking a drug test as part of a plea deal in a criminal case. Generally speaking, you won’t get in trouble for using or ingesting something that is used to treat a legitimate medical condition.
You may also assert that you were unintentionally in the vicinity of someone who was using marijuana, cocaine or other substances. Therefore, you would likely argue that a positive test result was caused by accidentally inhaling smoke or by residue left on your clothes or luggage. Trace amounts of residue that is on your clothes or luggage could conceivably make their way into hair follicles or into your blood or urine.
If you are being tested because you play a sport, claims that you were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time may fall on deaf ears. This is because most leagues and governing bodies require athletes to know exactly what they are putting in their bodies. However, you may be able to avoid a suspension or other penalties by asserting that there were issues with the way a test was conducted or how samples were handled after they were submitted.
How to Dispute a Positive Drug Test
There are several strategies that you may be able to use to dispute a positive test, and the one that you choose will depend largely on the circumstances surrounding the result. Let’s say that a positive result occurred because you were using marijuana, cocaine or some other controlled substance. In such a scenario, it may be best to simply acknowledge your guilt right away.
Taking responsibility for your actions may encourage whoever required you to take the test to show leniency in your case. Instead of being terminated from your job, you may be suspended while you go to rehab. If you were tested because you are an athlete, you may merely be suspended from your sport for several months instead of being banned for life. A judge may decide not to revoke your probation and send you to jail if you agree to go back to rehab or agree to submit to more stringent testing requirements.
In some cases, simply taking responsibility for your actions is the first step toward overcoming drug addiction. It’s not uncommon for those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol to deny that anything is wrong. This may be true even if a chemical dependency has resulted in the loss of a job or the loss of relationships with friends or family members. If you are a parent, admitting that you have a problem may be the first step toward obtaining custody or other rights to your children.
If you can show that a positive test was caused by an error with the test itself, the result may be thrown out. The same may be true if you can show that it was caused by prescription medication or some other substance that you have the legal right to use. Finally, if you can prove that you were given something against your will or that it was improperly labeled, you may be able to save your job or avoid other negative consequences.
Get Help Today
If you are struggling to overcome your dependency on methamphetamine, cocaine or any other type of controlled substance, we can help. The folks at Illinois Recovery Center will help you pinpoint the cause of your addiction and provide you with a plan to achieve long-term sobriety. We offer a variety of treatment methods in an effort to tailor a plan that meets your needs. Feel free to contact us today to learn more about our services or to start your journey to a life that is free of dependency.