DEC 11, 2018 11:03 AM PST

5 Ways You Can Falsely Test Positive for Drugs

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Depending on the tea you drank, the muffin you ate, or the antibiotic you took, your urine drug screen could come up positive for a few illicit drugs.

In the US, tens of millions of employers gauge an applicant's suitability for a job partly through mandatory drug screenings. And by far, the most convenient and noninvasive method relies on urine samples. But urine can contain trace chemicals from substances other than drugs that could potentially cause a law-abiding applicant to fail his/her drug test.

For example, just a single poppy seed muffin contains enough codeine and morphine to trigger a false positive. Common antibiotics for urinary tract infections may also trick the system into thinking the sample is positive for heroin. And steer free of coca tea if you don't want a sample positive for cocaine. These and other perfectly legal substances cause up to 5 to 10 percent of urine drug tests to come up as false positives. So, watch the video and learn what to avoid in case you have a drug test coming up.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
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