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False-Positive Drug Tests
Causes of False-Positive Tests

Whether or not your company conducts random drug tests; this page offers a look at the false-positive results that have occurred over the years. It also offers links so that our readers can learn more about the topic.

"Once those blood and urine specimens leave my sight, I have lost control of my future. Transportation Secretary Jim Burnley acknowledges that one in 10 drug tests initially results in a false positive. I can only hope that whoever processes those tests does not make a mistake."

From:ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH: December 31, 1988

The falures of Drug Testing and what those results can do to the victim are age old, as are the reports that accompany the bad test results

"False positive and negative results of drug testing occur. If you don't use drugs but for some reason test positive, no one will believe you. If you use drugs and test negative, you're going to keep your mouth shut."

School drug-testing no quick fix for social ills
From: THE WASHINGTON TIMES: April 2, 2002

Poppy Seeds Cause False - Positive Drug Test Results:

"False positives in drug testing are common. Jolt Cola, poppy seeds and some legally available medicines can trigger a positive result. Increased punitiveness will not solve the problems associated with drug use. Jailing, stigmatizing and depriving people of subsistence will not decrease drug abuse."

From: Buffalo News: August 14, 1997

Upon further investigation, I have uncovered further information regarding the matter of poppy seed and false-positive drug testing results. The Food and Drug Administration has an article on their site regarding the eating of poppy seeds and false-positive drug tests. (See page 25: "Poppy seeds contain morphine. And they will trigger a positive test on a urine test.")

The Urban Legend site has several cases concerning these false positive tests documented. (Search words drug test will bring you to the articles)

It is simply amazing as to how many reports of false-positive drug tests are available, and as to how many lives have been ruined by these test results; yet, the system keeps on testing. Sometimes I think that drug testing is just another means to get around at-will dismissal with no lawsuit attached.

"A trusted employee who held keys and alarm access to her store tests positive for drugs, so he's terminated. Would she have fired him for using Primatine for asthma? If he had used Actifed, Benadryl, Contac or Nyquil? How about Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Alka-Seltzer, Robitussin or Sucrets? Of if he had eaten a poppy-seed muffin? "

''No,'' you say? Well, she very well may have. Every item listed above and over 2,000 more will cause a false positive on a drug test. Would a better employee drink four shots of whiskey at lunch, chain smoke three packs of cigarettes a day and drop two tabs of LSD at night? A person using these substances will pass a drug test with flying colors. In fact, she may have hired someone just like this to replace her so-called ''trusted employee,'' so how does drug testing make any sense? "

The Fresno Bee: September 9, 1995

"Such screenings will prove to be costly, especially when over-the-counter medicines produce false-positive results that will require retesting. Of course, no price can be placed on the stigma and embarrassment an innocent applicant must endure while waiting for the absolution a second test brings."

St. Petersburg Times: January 17, 1999

Antibiotics Can Cause False-Positive Drug Tests:

According to several sources, including the FDA, antibiotics such as levofloxacin, ofloxacin, Ampicillin, Amoxicillin and Cipro can cause false positive drug testing results.

Since positive drug tests can cause a person his job, his livelihood and his reputation, I felt a strong need to address this issue here.

If Amendment V states"..nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." Aren't the drug tests breaking our 5th Amendment rights? Is our job not our property? Is this test when falsly showing positive results a means by which our property (employment) is being ripped from beneath us without due process?

"The first problem with random drug testing of student athletes is a fundamental problem with all drug testing: The false positive test result. Depending on the circumstances, if a child ate a poppy seed muffin for breakfast, he could produce test results indicating that he is a recreational drug user. He would then no longer be innocent until proved guilty; he would be assumed guilty."

From: Wisconsin State Journalocument; July 2, 1995


Please follow the links below; for more information, and let us know if this has ever happened to you.

"Just what do they think will be the rate of false positives in their proposed drug tests? At a false-positive rate of just one half of one percent, Ridgefield (with 400 athletes) can ruin the lives of two innocent kids for the crime of wanting to play ball."

Record (Northern New Jersey):December 1, 1997

"And "false positives" do occur. NATCA is awaiting a decision in an arbitration involving a false-positive drug test. A controller tested positive in the random test administered by the CompuChem Co., under contract with the Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration."

From: Seattle Times: December 8, 1989

Drug Testing Litigation


From: Virtual Hospital

From: Journal of Analytical Toxicology

From: Substance Misuse Management in General Practice (SMMGP)

From: OML Labs


The ACLU (The American Civil Liberties Union

The Working Stiff Journal

The United States Government Health Organization

The Media Awareness Project

Clear Choice of NY

The Trade Union Congress (UK)

Make sure you read our
reader's present dilemma
created by drug testing.

Drug Tests & False-Positive Drug Tests Section:

  1. Reader's Dilemma: Fired For drug Test Result                       

  2. Reader's Dilemma: Update   

  3. Reader's Dilemma: Issue's Assessment

  4. Causes of False-Positive Drug Tests

  5. Drug Testing America: Is it Worth the Cost?

  6. State-By-State: Drug Testing Laws

If this has happened to you please CONTACT ME

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This Page Last Updated 6/15/2002
Completely Updated: 6/17/20025
C 2002 L Munro