Drug abuse is a serious offence which is detrimental to the person consuming drugs as well as to those around in case of mishaps due to drugs. Many small and medium as well as big businesses, across sectors, conduct pre-employment drug testing. Those who don’t may seek such help in case of any raised suspicion of drug abuse or an accident in workplace. There are many types of drug testing tests, wherein the samples for testing include mouth swab, hair, nail, urine, and so on, depending upon the requirement and timeframe available. The result may be positive or negative. But sometimes, it may be non-negative, which could lead to confusion. It does not necessarily imply a positive result. This post discusses what is non-negative drug testing and how to interpret it correctly.
Why the Term Non-Negative is Used for Drug Testing
As mentioned, non-negative does not mean positive, it simply means, traces of certain drugs are present in the sample; however, their amounts are very small or marginal. In such cases, the test is either repeated after a few days or it could be a testing error. So, further testing and analysis is required to conclude it correctly. A non-negative result can be overwhelming for employers, especially jobs wherein safety is a crucial factor, such as truckers, drivers, and so on. The sample is taken for the second time and subjected through tests such as mass spectrophotometry or liquid chromatography for an exact output. These tests, although accurate, are not preferred over other standard lab tests in normal situations. They are more expensive than standard tests, and thus cost is one of the factors. Also, it does not mean that standard tests do not offer an accurate output. It is just these tests rule out any confusions as they offer a detailed analysis. For instance, the marginal amount of traces found in the previous blood sample may be analyzed to check if these are illegal drugs, why were they consumed, and when. Some drugs could be prescribed medicines, and hence this factor needs to be ruled out. Yes, certain medicines may influence test results due to various reasons, giving a positive result in case of non-negative could ruin the career and life of an individual. Hence, it is imperative to repeat the test.
How Do Prescribed Medicines Influence Drug Testing Results
As mentioned, some prescribed medications may influence the output of the drug test, thereby leading to a non-negative test result. The ingredients in some medicines may have a similar molecular structure as that of certain illegal drugs. If a person being tested is under a certain medication, the traces of the same may appear in their urine or saliva sample. To avoid this situation, it is a good practice that the person declares their medications or any medical conditions prevalent.
Through a regular immunoassay, only the presence of drugs is detected and a detailed analysis can be done using chromatography techniques. The immunoassay outputs are based on reagent binding with the urine or saliva sample. This may turn mildly positive or non-negative, it is also called as false positive result. So, if a person in a critical job gets a non-negative test result, they may be put on hold until a proper conclusion is drawn. So, this may temporarily affect their prospects. But, this is the reason why a second test is necessary so that their jobs can be back on track in case they test completely negative. In case they test positive for the second time, the required legal action may be taken.
If you are a business owner and have a significant number of employees, you may want to conduct workplace drug testing .of your employees. It is helpful in keeping your office environment clean and safe. You can either partner with a reliable and certified drug testing services provider for periodic testing or call them as a third party for one-off cases. Medway OHS offers various types of drug testing services both onsite and offsite, and has DOT certified technicians.