Home Alcohol and Drug Rehab ResourcesCourts and Drug Testing Best Defense for Positive Drug Test Results
Best Defense for Positive Drug Test Results

Best Defense for Positive Drug Test Results

by Isabella Coronel
Published: Updated:

A Plan for Treatment: Your Best Defense

Pre-employment drug testing is common practice for many businesses, as well as random testing that is done by many private employers. Coworkers may feel uneasy or even in danger if an employee who has been drinking or using drugs comes to work. The best defense for positive drug test results can often be a solid commitment to get treatment, and Catalina can and will help in just such a situation!

What an employer may do if an employee tests positive for drugs varies from state to state. Knowing what to do if you think you could fail a drug test will help ease your mind.

Find out your legal options and the best countermeasures to a failed drug test. If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance abuse, learning how the law protects you and obtaining treatment are crucial steps toward a better quality of life and greater professional success.

Keep reading to find out more about how to present positive test results in the best light and show your employer you are taking steps for treatment with Catalina Behavioral Health!

Get Licensed Drug Treatment Options Now!

A General Overview of Drug Screening

Workplace drug screening is a preventative measure that helps maintain a safe and drug-free environment. When performing drug screening on the job, employers must adhere to all applicable local, state, and federal regulations.

Workers may have a trained collector come to their place of employment to collect samples, or they may be required to travel to an accredited laboratory to have urine samples taken.

There are five types of substances that are typically tested for during a drug screening:

  • Amphetamines
  • Cocaine
  • Marijuana
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine

These are the most common. However, additional illicit drugs may also be ordered as what’s known as a 12 or 13-panel drug screening.

  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Ethanol (alcohol) (alcohol)
  • Hydrocodone
  • MDMA
  • Methadone
  • Methaqualone
  • Propoxyphene

Typical Process for Confirming Drug Test Results

Drug Screening

Along with the interview and the background check, a drug test may be a requirement for the job. While employers are prohibited from rejecting candidates according to their drug usage history, they are allowed to ask applicants to pass a drug test.

In some cases, a candidate who tests positive for drugs will be disqualified from further consideration for the position.

How Are Employees Tested?

Existing staff members may be subject to random drug tests by some companies. An employer may issue a test if they think an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol because of obvious symptoms of unfitness for the job or a history of risky work behavior.

Current employees may be subject to testing for a variety of reasons, including as part of an annual physical. However, employees have a right to know that drug testing is included in their yearly physical examination, thus, employers must provide this information. It’s important to be consistent while conducting drug testing on the job.

Drug Testing Should Be Random

To discourage employees from illegally using drugs, a company may use a random selection technique to conduct drug tests. There have been cases when employees have sued their companies for invasion of privacy, defamation, discrimination, or wrongful termination after being subjected to random drug testing.

In no jurisdiction are employees required by law to submit to surprise drug testing, and each state has its own rules about when and how often employers can conduct drug tests.

What Happens If You Fail a Drug Test at Work? Can You Be Fired?

What Happens If You Fail a Drug Test at Work

What an employer may do if an employee fails a drug test is subject to different regulations in each state. If a job offer is conditional on a drug test and the applicant fails, it is likely that the offer will be withdrawn. Some jurisdictions provide legal safeguards for working individuals. Employees who submit a positive drug test but agree to attend drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Vermont and Minnesota are protected from termination under state law. In some jurisdictions, employees can challenge test findings and retake them, or employers must provide advance notice of major repercussions for drug test failure.

The ability of an employer to terminate you is also job-specific. The federal government has standards that might necessitate a certain type of drug test for some contractor employees. If an employee fails an exam, they might lose their job.

HIPAA and Finding a Rehabilitation Program

A positive drug test result might also be grounds for termination from a safety-sensitive position. Employers are legally obligated to protect the privacy of their workers’ health records in accordance with HIPAA. This is done to safeguard privacy, but it can make it difficult for testing facilities to share screening results with prospective employers.

According to HIPAA, a company can only see so much information about an employee’s drug testing and must keep the findings private.

Human resources, direct supervisors, and other managers in positions of authority over the employee are often the only ones with access to such data. And they have a legal obligation to maintain the confidentiality of your information.

However, what follows a positive test result on a drug test? However the positive drug test turns up, you still have rights, and your information must be kept private.

What About Medical Marijuana and a Positive Drug Test?


There is less of a consensus on the issue of legalizing medicinal marijuana compared to other substances, including alcohol. Though more and more states are legalizing medicinal marijuana, federal law still prohibits the substance. Additionally, cannabis is still an addictive substance, which can result in the need for marijuana rehab services.

Workers who have been given a medical marijuana prescription for the treatment of a serious sickness or condition are protected from prosecution in places where this practice has been approved.

When it comes to medical marijuana, state rules are all over the map. However, no state currently permits medical marijuana usage in the workplace.

What is the Best Defense for a Positive Drug Test Result?

If you are caught submitting a positive drug test, what should you do? The following section outlines how to handle the event a drug test failure occurs.

Be forthright and honest with your employer about why you submitted a positive drug test. If you submit a positive drug test, being honest about it and considering getting help is your best defense. Being ready with a plan to enter a treatment program immediately can be a huge factor in holding onto your job and satisfying a nervous employer.

In most cases, private businesses are willing to help their employees pay for and/or participate in drug and alcohol treatment programs. Signing up for treatment can get you the aid you need and save you from losing your job if you are caught for a positive drug test.

There’s also the possibility of taking advantage of the Family and Medical Leave Act. Thanks to this rule, you may get help right away at an approved treatment center (such as Catalina Behavioral Health) for as long as 12 weeks for a positive drug screening.

Within that window, your job can’t be eliminated, and your benefits can’t be revoked. The company is not obligated to keep paying you, though. You only get one opportunity for the Medical Leave Act for positive drug tests.

Rehab can help you overcome your addiction so that you can get your life back on track and get back to work. In the long term, this may be good for your health and your career.

24 Hour Addiction Treatment Hotline – Call Now!

Questions to Ask Before Starting a Urine Test Regimen to Detect Drug Abuse

  • Who must submit to the random drug test?
  • When are they?
  • Who will test employees?
  • Is it very specific drug testing? What are you looking for?
  • Are you using an advanced testing method?
  • How do I know a positive result is accurate?
  • How do laws protect workers from positive drug test results?

It’s important to keep in mind that either a recognized laboratory or a qualified collector should gather the samples needed for the tests.

When conducting screenings, are drug tests protected? There should be no chance of a false positive test result or any tampering.

Private employers must keep all matters pertaining to testing and drug use confidential. You should also know what to do in advance to avoid a false positive test result.

What are the Types of Standard Drug Tests?

Positive Drug Test Result

The results of a drug test might range widely based on the substance being tested for and the sample taken. In addition, the chances of a false positive drug test may be increased depending on the specific type of test.

What types of samples are taken on different tests?

  • Urine
  • Hair
  • Blood
  • Oral (saliva)

Although the Secretary of Health and Human Services has recommendations for the inclusion of oral fluid specimens, only urine samples are collected in federally regulated programs.

The following are some potential scenarios in which drug testing might be administered:

Pre-Employment Exams

You can require candidates to undergo a drug test as a prerequisite to employment. In this scenario, prospective employees are subjected to a drug test before being recruited. A positive result usually disqualifies a prospective employee from work.

Checkups With a Doctor Every Year

As part of a yearly checkup, you can provide drug and alcohol tests to your staff. Those being evaluated should be made aware that drug testing is a part of the process. A breach of the employee’s due process rights results from the lack of advance notice.

Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause Standards

Reasonable Suspicion and Probable Cause Standards

Employees who exhibit symptoms of unfitness for duty (for-cause testing) or have a history of dangerous behavior on the job may be subject to testing (reasonable suspicion testing.) The purpose of these examinations is to ensure the worker’s and their coworkers’ safety.

Testing Done After an Incident

It is possible that alcohol or drug usage contributed to a workplace accident or risky practices by testing personnel involved in the occurrence.

Evaluations Conducted After Treatment

When workers return to the workplace after finishing a recovery program, drug testing might be a positive reinforcement for them to maintain sobriety.

It’s important to keep in mind that the most effective method of discouraging drug usage is to conduct random drug testing. The testing procedures used by employers are completely arbitrary.

Defending False Positive Test Results

Medic staff performing a drug test

Now what? If you’ve bombed a drug test, what do you do? Before undergoing a drug test, it is important to tell your doctor about any medications you’re taking. If you are certain that you have not taken any illegal substances prior to the drug test but failed to report this information, you should contest the results. This could be grounds for false positive test results.

1) Perform another test

In most cases, your initial sample will be retested with a more sophisticated technique that can identify and remove potential confounding chemicals.

The laboratory can do a different test to ensure that you have not used the substances of interest if you have recently taken any medications that could have created a false-positive result. It may help your case for a second chance if you disclose your use of these substances to your employer.

Any uncertainty about the accuracy of the results can be put to rest with the help of confirmatory tests like Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry and the High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Test. In many cases, consumers depend on these more reliable tests as the last verification step. Due to the high cost and technical complexity, they are not the first test conducted.

2) What If the False Positive Test is Confirmed as Positive?

If the results of the advanced, confirmatory drug tests are positive, even though you are confident that the result is a false positive, you should probably speak with an attorney.

Humbling Yourself and Asking for Help

Sometimes the issue is a matter of humbling yourself and asking for help. It’s not always easy, to be honest with yourself regarding a substance abuse problem. These are the best ways to ask for help for your substance abuse challenges:

Ask for Help from a Medical Professional

Ask for Help from a Medical Professional

A physician’s training includes learning what signs to look for and how to proceed while treating a client. Make an appointment with your doctor if you feel you need to talk about any difficulties you’ve been having. You should expect them to ask you certain questions designed to help them better guide you. Doctors are unfazed by most things, which is reassuring when you need to reveal something embarrassing.

Use Internet Resources

Numerous tools, including hotlines, online forums, and websites of rehabilitation centers, are available online. Many results may be found with just a few clicks on Google. It’s OK to seek help online rather than face-to-face and sharing your struggles with others who understand may be comforting. Some people find it beneficial to initiate a conversation with an unfamiliar person before turning to a friend or family member.

There is no one more equipped to guide you than someone who has been where you are now and made it through. People like this are usually quite approachable and interested in hearing your side of the story. They’ve been in your shoes before and will do what they can to put your mind at ease. Inquire about the specifics of their successful strategy to ascertain if you might undertake it on your own.

At Catalina Behavioral Health, we understand that many people are uncomfortable with the idea of rehab, not to mention the online search for treatment. Reach out for a confidential call today and we can discuss our facility and any questions you may have.

Get Immediate Placement for Treatment!

The Best Defense for Positive Drug Test Results: Catalina

At Catalina Behavioral Health, we know how difficult it can be to admit you have a problem with drugs or alcohol. When you reach out, we have your back from your initial contact, and that doesn’t stop – even when you’re done with our treatment services.

Consider us a lifetime pillar of support – with a true passion for helping our clients succeed. For more information on how we can help you take this step, contact a member of our admissions team today.

You may also like

Popular Posts

Joint commission seal accreditation given to Catalina Behavioral health
Catalina Footer Logo

Our mission is to help as many people as possible overcome their addiction or mental health struggles. We do this by offering evidence-based and individualized treatment programs to each person who enrolls in our facility.

Copyright @ Catalina Behavioral Health 2024  All Rights Reserved

Call Now (520) 999-2560