Drug testing has been around since 1986, with the signing of Ronald Reagan’s Executive Order 12564, to create a Federal drug-free workplace. It has rapidly expanded into a wide variety of non-government companies and organizations.
Since then, a lot of myths about drug testing have swirled around, much like marijuana smoke billowing from Cheech Marin’s van. But much like most of his movies, these myths are absurd. Here are three
If you don’t use drugs often, you won’t test positive
Your body metabolizes any kind of drugs you take, in any amount. This produces by-products, which are what a drug test looks for. It doesn’t matter if you just smoked your first joint ever—you will still test positive.
If you doesn’t use drugs often, they might not stay in your system as long, but there’s no guarantee. And if your company conducts random drug testing, you could very well be tested at any time. It seems like a pretty stupid thing to take a chance on, right?
I can detox, or flush the drugs out of my system
This myth has been around for as long as I can remember.
There is nothing you can ingest, not a pill, powder, supplement, not even copious amounts of water, that will flush drugs out of your system any faster. Your body has a natural detoxification system, but there’s not a lot you can do to speed it up because everything still has to pass through your liver and/or kidneys.
Every drug has a pretty reliable detection window. Someone who smokes marijuana infrequently will usually test positive for 1-3 days afterward, according to research by the National Drug Court Institute (NDCI). Someone who smokes more often can expect to test positive for up to about 10 days from their last use. Studies even show that it’s possible for frequent users to test positive for up to a month after their last use.
Plus, if you drink too much water in an attempt to flush drugs from your system, it will create an imbalance in your urine (in the case of urinalysis drug testing) which will be a red flag to the lab, resulting in you being retested, under greater scrutiny.
Drug testing is a violation of my rights
Nope. People who make that claim are talking about the 4th Amendment, even if they don’t realize it. The 4th Amendment protects American citizens from unreasonable searches and seizures.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
In other words, the GOVERNMENT cannot require you to take a drug test for no reason, however, as a condition of employment or continued employment, any employer, including the government, is well within their rights to require a drug test. It is a part of a contract between two parties—the employer and the employee. If you feel that a drug test is a violation of your privacy, you are free to get a job somewhere else.
Urinalysis is used for all drug tests
There are several drug testing methods, but urinalysis just happens to be the most common because it’s less expensive. Testing can also be conducted using saliva, hair, and blood. Saliva drug testing has the shortest detection window, however, it can detect drug use earlier than other methods. Hair drug testing, on the other hand, can go back as far as 90 days, and short of shaving your entire body, there is zero chance of successfully cheating it.
Second-hand smoke can cause a positive drug test result
As long as your buddy Cheech doesn’t give you a ride to the drug test with the windows up, there is no way you’ll inhale enough second-hand smoke to test positive. Drug test cutoff levels are set to prevent second-hand exposure from triggering a false-positive.