Expert Corner: Are False Positives in Drug Tests Common?

Expert Corner: Are False Positives in Drug Tests Common?

Expert Corner QuestionHere’s what happened. I just finished a treatment program cause I’m an alcoholic. I was moving from the center to a sober living facility but I have to take a piss test first. The guy there gives me a really cheap-ass test. I take it and he says I came up positive for oxy. I haven’t taken oxy in like two years. Docs gave me naltrexone and Wellbutrin to go with Lexapro. Would those affect the test? I’m going to take a real one tomorrow but now everyone thinks I’m relapsing and another friend from rehab just OD’ed. I’m on the floor at a friend’s house but I’m not gonna drink. Are false positives on drug tests common?


Elevate Expert AnswerFalse positives can definitely happen on instant UA tests, but they are fairly rare, generally. The best thing to do in this situation is: ask for the urine to be sent to a reputable lab where the liquid is broken down and read chemically in a much more thorough process than an instant UA test. It would be able to say what was in the urine – whether it be the other meds, Oxy, or something else entirely. It sounds like they are already planning on doing that sort of follow-up screening (which is what typically happens in the event of a positive UA test), so I wouldn’t get too worried yet. That test should be far more accurate and detailed.

Dan Manson, Elevate Addiction Services PresidentAnswered by: Dan Manson
Elevate Addiction Services President
Disclaimer: The Expert Corner is a place for an open, honest discussion about addiction that cuts through the buzzwords and clichés to bring you real, unfiltered answers. However, Dan’s responses are not intended and should not be taken as medical or psychiatric advice. Keep the conversation going by sharing your own thoughts or submitting a question to Dan.
  • Phillip Staddler

    This Q and A was very insightful to me. I have always wondered wether false positives occurred and what the process is incase this happens. It happened to a friend of mine playing college athletics and was a very scary situation. Thanks so much for this post!

  • Cal

    I think as long as you are honest, any lab or testing facility should let you retake it based on the claim that you’re clean. If there’s always the possibility of a false positive, that should come with the chance to retake it. Just continue staying sober and doing well!

  • Annalise Cain

    Interesting. It’s good to know that these facilities test very thoroughly.

  • Suzana Berry

    I think the best posture when you fail a drug test is that of righteous indignation.
    Deny it.

  • Lauren Elizabeth

    If you really haven’t used drugs, it should be coming up clean. It’s also possible you took something you didn’t realize would cause a positive result on a drug test. It’s good to get it sent to another facility, or just take another one.

  • Jachai DeJesus

    Honesty is the best thing in this kind of situation; being honest with yourself and those around you will help in the long run. Just stay positive and continue to work on being sober.

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