Last updated: September 28, 2020
Home drug-test kits are commonly sold online and in stores. Parents utilize them to drop a test on a child when they suspect drug use. Employees facing a workplace drug test might wonder if they have abstained long enough to pass. They may choose to purchase home test kits for a trial run. However, sometimes the result is hard for them to determine. Usually, it’s when the test result is a faint line.
The home test instructions say that a line in the test area determines a negative result. Parents and drug-using employees often become unnerved, however, when that line is faint or nearly non-existent.
Negative never equals positive
Home test kits are pass or fail. There is no in-between. When reading the test result, there should not be one colored line present. There should be two. This indicates a negative result.
The first line is found at the very top of the testing window. That is the control region (C). The test is considered invalid if there is not a line in the control region. The second line appears in the test (T) region.
If there is a colored line in the control region and none in the test region, the result is positive.
This said, no matter how faint the line is in the test region, it does not indicate a positive result. Fretting parents and nervous employees often mistake a faint line as meaning a small amount of the drug still remains in the system.
This is not the case.
The intensity of the line has nothing to do with drugs in the system. A positive urine drug test requires a minimum amount of the drug being present. If that level is reached, there will be no line at all.
The minimum drug quantity required to obtain a positive result differs depending on the drug. If that amount or a higher amount of the drug is contained in the specimen, no line shows up.
Crossing the line
Every drug test has a pre-set detection level. Hopefully, it uses the levels set by SAMHSA. It’s best to choose a home drug test that is FDA approved.
This determines the positive or negative. However, it has no way to detect the precise amount of a drug. Remember, the method is either pass or fail.
There are valid reasons that the line in the test portion of the drug test is faint.
Urine excretion cleanses the body of unnecessary substances. It makes sense that what you put in affects what comes out. This pertains to everything, not just drugs. Individual factors can cause a faint line to appear on a drug test.
- Medication intake
- Fluid consumption
- Overall health
Over the counter medications abound. Some of them are chemically similar to the illicit or abused drugs contained on drug screens. If a similar compound is present in the urine, a faint line is likely to indicate that.
Consider the source
Laboratory technicians are experts when it comes to reading drug test results. Any red flags cause them to look a little deeper. A faint line on the test result doesn’t cause concern. The test is deemed negative.
The nervous employee probably won’t consider taking such a route. Still, if you’re a parent, spouse, or even an employer using home test kits, using a SAMHSA approved laboratory to determine test results is one way to alleviate the concern equated with the faint line. They guarantee accurate results.
Contact a local laboratory to inquire about cost, the collection process, and to answer any questions you have regarding the test. A representative will be happy to help you.
Less reputable companies may have substandard ratings. SAMHSA approved laboratories earned that rating. Government regulations hold them to the strictest of standards. The staff is aware of the possibility of varying test results. Moreover, they ascertain that their sample cups and saliva test swabs match government standards.
This is especially important for employers who utilize employee drug testing. It’s equally important for parents who need to know the truth about their child and drug use. The thought of where such a dark path leads is terrifying. Allowing a laboratory to determine whether or not their child is using drugs rather than trusting a home test kit they grabbed at the local shopping center brings peace of mind.
In the case of a positive result, parents can trust the accuracy and begin seeking outside help for their child. If it’s the case of an employee, follow the company protocol.
A negative result brings a sigh of relief.
Straight and narrow
Employees or teens that use drugs are putting themselves at risk. Many illicit or misused drugs are highly addictive. Becoming a drug addict is not something anyone plans. It usually begins as a thrill-seeking adventure or perhaps someone chooses to self-medicate when faced with uncomfortable situations. For instance, someone who suffers from anxiety may drink or use drugs to lessen it.
As a matter of fact, fifty percent of drug addicts are genetically predispositioned to be so. Seriously, it’s in their DNA. Perhaps, they may have never used a drug in their life, but after using opioid pain killers after surgery, they looked for more when the prescription ran out. The other fifty percent of addicts have poor coping skills.
Addiction is a disease, not a weakness. Drugs eventually change how the brain works. This leads to a loss of self-control and damaging behaviors. And, all too often, death.
We must draw a line in the sand. It will not be faint but bold and strong.
Continued education, employers who promote drug-free workplaces, and parents that promote drug-free homes are all sound ways for us to leave our mark.