Living with Chronic Pain

What to do for a False Positive Urine Screen


A urine screening is used to detect drugs in the body. Toxins and certain other waste products are filtered from the body's blood by the kidneys, which produce urine. Although urine screenings are a valuable tool for identifying the presence of drugs in the body, they can also produce a false positive result. A false positive result is a urine screening producing results that are positive for narcotics when no narcotics have been consumed.

Some people who are required to take a urine screening test fear a false positive result. It is important to note that if a narcotic was legally prescribed and taken as instructed, there should be no issue. However, a current prescription may have to be produced as proof. If a person gets a positive urine screening for opioids or illegal drugs when they have not used them, they should immediately request a GC/MS test. The initial urine screening tests for categories of drugs (for example, amphetamines) and not for a specific drug in that category. The GC/MS testing looks for individual drugs in the urine and also provides a more accurate reading. If a false positive result is negated by the person being tested, the physician in charge of interpreting the results should consult with the individual and explain the results in further detail.

When people believe their urine will not pass a screening, they often attempt to tamper with the urine sample by adding water to dilute it, adding enzymes to affect the sample's stability, or using another person's urine. However, the medical community is aware of these dishonest tactics and use countermeasures to ensure a genuine sample is provided. The temperature of urine is often immediately tested to ensure the sample did not come from an outside source. Creatinine levels are checked to determine if the urine sample was diluted. Furthermore, many testing labs color the water in the toilet bowl to ensure it is not being used to dilute the urine sample. People should be completely honest about any medications taken, including prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal.

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