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How Accurate Are The Drug Testing Methods That I Will Be Required To Use?

If testing is done in accordance with the Rules and Guidelines, ( Chapter 0800­2 ), the results are highly accurate and reliable. Sometimes, you’ll hear that urine drug tests can be “beaten”. Once, this was true; people could add water, soap, ammonia, vinegar or even table salt to a specimen and produce a negative test result. Today, collection site and laboratory procedures make tampering nearly impossible. At the collection site, employees must leave coats, purses and briefcases outside the cubicle where they provide the specimen. The person collecting the specimen adds a bluing agent to the toilet bowl and remains in the area directly outside the stall while the specimen is being given. Immediately afterward, the collector applies a temperature strip to the specimen to make sure that it matches body temperature. The collector also checks the specimen for unusual color and odor. Later, when the specimen arrives at the laboratory, technicians perform simple tests for gravity and acidity to detect adulterated specimens. Another misconception is that drug testing is prone to inaccuracy with so­called “false” positives. Several years ago, some over­the­counter drugs such as ibuprofen or diet pills could cause false positives for illicit drugs. Today, tests have been refined to the point where this does not occur. A more legitimate concern is that of true “false” positives. That is, where the laboratory accurately determined the presence of a drug, but its presence is not the result of abuse or illicit use. Certain foods and medicines do contain detectable amounts of “controlled” drugs. For example, poppy seeds used in bagels and other baked goods can sometimes contain enough morphine to produce a detectable level in urine. Over­the­counter drugs that are sold in countries outside the U.S. often contain codeine. Codeine is also found in commonly­prescribed cough and cold medicines, such as Tylenol with codeine, and can produce a positive result in drug tests. In all these cases, a Medical Review Officer ( MRO ) is able to determine if the drug is being properly and legitimately used. While there have been some reports of errors, they can usually be traced to the fact that a confirmation test was not performed to verify an initial positive result.