I recently had to undergo drug testing at my place of employment and I didn’t pass. To tell the story correctly though, I need to take you back in time about 20 years.
I was married at the time, and my husband found a job he really wanted. He was offered the position contingent on his passing a drug screen. Long story short, he failed the drug screen. He blew his stack, threw his tantrum, SWORE he had been clean for the test, and claimed that there was NO way he could have failed the drug test. Unfortunately, I knew he would go off and see his cousin quite often during the week, and that they both “partied” REAL hard during his visits. So, when he swore he was clean for the test, I was busy rolling my eyes, thinking about his cousin and him, and basically blew him off. I was extremely sceptical, to put it bluntly.
Failing The Test
Now, fast forward almost 20 years, I’m in a similar situation. I failed a pre-employment drug screen. I have been diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, Antiphospholipid Antibodies (try saying THAT one 3 times fast!), Hypothyroidism, Vitamin D Deficiency, Fibromyalgia, and finally, Sleep Apnea. I was on
Of course, the first thing I say is that my doctor either knows about everything I take or has been the one who prescribed it to me. My boss, being a very understanding guy, tells me that if I can figure out what medicine it is, and if I can do without it a few days, he would get me another drug test, but I would have to pay for it.
I didn’t know any better, but I suspected it was my anti-depressant, so I went for 5 days without it. BAD move!! I redid the drug screen and failed once again. I was fired that day. I almost had a nervous breakdown to go along with it (no antidepressants and all). I went back to the testing laboratory. They got permission from my now-previous employer to give me copies of both test results, then the manager of the lab took pity on me and explained how drug testing works.
The Drug Testing Process
• First, the sample is taken and tested.
• The results are then sent back to the prospective employer, and, if the employee fails the drug test, the lab asks the employer if they want to confirm the results.
• When the lab asks if the company wants to confirm, it does NOT mean do the same test a second time on the same urine. It means they want to put the sample through a Gas Chromatograph/ Mass
• The company will encourage you to “clean up”, drink lots of fluids, and try to pass a NEW test, rather than confirm the results.
• What the company wants you to do is take a wild guess on what MAY be affecting your drug screen, and then get you off of it so you MIGHT pass the drug screen. The lab will be doing the exact same test on different urine, expecting different results.
• If you guess wrong, you will STILL test positive for whatever it was, you will STILL lose your job, and you will have ZERO recourse because you used your second shot on a re-test, rather than a confirmation.
I found this out several days later, after discovering this handy guide to drug testing. It told me everything I needed to know about what COULD have shown up on my drug test.
So, the moral of the story is, if you KNOW you aren’t doing anything illegal, go for the confirmation rather than the retest, EVERY TIME.
Pamela K. Oakes is 48 years old and has suffered from Fibromyalgia for about 5 years. She lives in Louisiana with her three dogs. She has a vested interest in helping people in similar situations to her own, and seeks to educate people about her illness and how best to deal with it.