Monday, April 15, 2013

Those Darn False Positive Drug Tests--Not Too Angelic

We've discussed false positive drug tests before--the kind caused by antibiotics and similar drugs or food. That's not what we're blogging about today. No, we're talking about those tests that come back as positive, but are immediately redone at another facility only to come back negative.

Well, someone used a cheap drug test, you say. Actually almost all drug tests on the market are extremely reliable. Some test for a basic ten drugs, while others have a larger range, but there's little difference in accuracy. Here's the basic ten-panel:

  • Amphetamines (including Methamphetamine)
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Cannabinoids (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Methadone
  • Methaqualone
  • Opiates (Codeine, Morphine, Heroin, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, etc.)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Propoxyphene

And they can be manipulated, you add. Yes, but they're manipulated to show a false negative, not a false positive. Hmmmm, but didn't you mention administering tests without adequate hand washing? Yes, that can result in a false positive for cocaine, but it's still rare. It won't result in a false positive for benzodiazepines or other substances usually tested for.

No matter what brand test, no matter the circumstances, it's extremely unusual for drug tests to produce a false positive for most substances. Oh, dear, you say. That would mean someone would have to intentionally falsify the results. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Why would someone do that? Perhaps someone has read...or been told...that testing should produce a certain number of positive results. Or perhaps the tester just doesn't like someone. Perhaps the tester has mental problems. Perhaps...well, you fill in the blank with whatever other reason you can come up with. No matter the reason, it would still qualify as sick. The damage a deliberate misreading could do to an individual couldn't be quantified. We're not talking about losing a job, but losing custody of a child.

Well, thank goodness that can't happen in North Alabama. Local DHR offices use only the most qualified contract employees. Really?

Tomorrow: The Angel Gieske Comedy Show (No angel, and no doctor either)


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