Last updated: November 23, 2020
A vast number of employers conducts drug tests, so you will most likely have to pass one to get your next gig. People hear tales about someone who “beat the test” and believe all the various stories about cheating the system. Others believe the myths and develop unwarranted fears about the drug testing process. The following are some common myths that you may believe to be true about drug testing:
1. “False positives” happen all the time
While it’s true that prescription drugs and ingesting a very, very large amount of unwashed poppy seeds before testing can lead to positive test results, there are two things to consider. First, in both cases, the chemicals are actually in your system, so the test is simply picking up those markers. Second, the testing facility has no interest in allowing for the possibility of botching test results.
Testing procedures cannot eliminate mistakes from ever happening, but a true “false positive” test is extremely rare. If you take a prescribed drug, it will show up, but if made aware with proper documentation, you have nothing to worry about. Many people believe that a potential employer must allow them to retest if they believe it was a false positive. You can request a second test, but it’s up to the employer if they want to grant that opportunity.
2. I can eat or drink something to pass a test
It’s not magic—it’s science. Any “detox” product you’re buying is made to be bought, so it has to work, right? If it works, did it say to abstain for drug use for three days? Did it say to consume large quantities of a liquid prior to the test? Doing the first will have the same result whether you consume the “detox” product or not. Any liquid, not just water, will dilute certain chemicals in your urine to the point where it’s difficult to test, but that happens to be the problem with that method. Once you dilute, say, THC, enough to pass the drug test, you also dilute levels of creatinine in your system to the point where the testing company will insist on a retest, because they’ll know something’s not right.
3. Drinking (chemicals) can help pass a test
A scary myth that people pass around today is that drinking bleach will make a person pass a drug test. Bleach is a caustic chemical and ingesting it can lead to so many problems that it’s a wonder people would risk death rather than give up taking drugs. Drinking enough liquid will still dilute creatinine levels in your system, but it doesn’t matter if it’s herbal tea, vitamin B, vinegar, “home brew”, energy drinks, jello or “magic elixir” given to you buy a person who sells it in the same store they sell their paraphernalia. Whatever you choose to ingest, make sure it isn’t a caustic chemical. No, it’s not because someone wants you to fail and not try it. It’s because they don’t want you to try it and end up sick or dead and still fail the drug test anyway.
4. Pouring (chemicals) in will “clean” my sample
Drinking chemicals won’t work, but what about pouring them into the sample? Besides being very difficult to get something like that past detection before the test, modern drug tests account for this and test for those common chemicals. Diluting the sample has the same red flags as drinking enough water.
5. I can exercise out the drugs
Specifically in the case of THC, people have heard that exercising a few days before the test will “burn out” the drugs from their system. Yes, exercise and healthy living will speed up your metabolism, but you’d have to exercise a great deal to get out all of the fat that may have stored THC. In that time, you’d have to abstain from adding more to the mix, so in essence, you’re just stopping the practice of doing drugs. This method does come with the added bonus of actually making you healthy, but it doesn’t guarantee a passing drug test, nor would it affect results if your hair was tested.