Substance Use

Urine Drug Test: What You Need to Know

doctor holding urine drug test

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Are You Facing a Urine Drug Test?

Urine testing is one of the most common types of drug tests because it can detect a range of substances for up to a month after a person last used the drug.

If you’re curious about how a urine specimen is collected or what might lead to false-positive results, here’s what you need to know.

Urine drug testing is just one way to find out about drug use. If you or a loved one needs help with addiction treatment, Zinnia Health can help. Dial (855) 430-9439 for guidance and answers to any questions you may have.

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How is a Urine Drug Screening Done?

There are many circumstances in which you may be asked to provide a urine sample, but the most common include routine testing by sports organizations or health care providers for reasons such as a high-risk pregnancy.

In the case of workplace drug testing, you’ll generally get about two weeks’ notice before the test is conducted, but it depends on your employer’s policies and state laws.

Urine testing does not require you to stop eating or drinking, so you can continue as usual in the hours before the test. However, you may be asked to alter your eating or drinking habits if you also have a blood test or must provide a saliva sample. On the day of testing, you’ll be given a sterile cup for specimen collection.

Once you hand the sample back to the administrator, they will label it and put it into a box that will be sent to a lab. You’ll generally hear news of your urine drug test results the next business day. If you tested positive, the administrator will follow up with you and may conduct confirmatory testing, which can consist of another urine test or blood, saliva, and/or hair sample.

In some cases, you may be taking an instant results test or an at-home test. These types of tests are not entirely accurate but may be used as a screening test for reasons like pre-employment checks.

What Drugs of Abuse Show on a Urine Test?

A number of different urine tests may be requested, depending on the circumstances of the test and whether the administrator is looking for specific drugs.

For instance, a sports organization will test for performance-enhancing drugs, while clinicians may test for prescription drugs you’re supposed to take, like fentanyl, to make sure you’re not taking too much.

The only way to know what drugs will show up on your urine test is to ask about the test you’re required to take. One of the more common tests used for general screening is known as a 10-panel drug test, which can detect a variety of drugs, including:

  • Marijuana, including extracts that contain THC
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates such as heroin, morphine, and codeine
  • Synthetic opioids like oxycodone, fentanyl, and hydrocodone
  • Benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium
  • Amphetamines including methamphetamine
  • Barbiturates like amobarbital or phenobarbitol
  • Specific drugs such as PCP

Even if you haven’t taken one of these drugs in the last few days, you may still get a positive test result.

This is because a urinalysis doesn’t just look for the drug but for drug metabolites. Metabolites are by-products that result from your body breaking down a substance, and the concentration of metabolites in your urine can reveal which drugs you have taken.

Drugs and their metabolites will stay in your system for varying lengths of time depending on factors like how long you’ve been using the drug. For instance, marijuana metabolites can be detected in the urine for about three days in a light user or up to one month in a heavy user.

The only guaranteed way to pass a drug test is to live drug-free. If you’re looking to quit, Zinnia Health can help. Call our helpline at (855) 430-9439 to get started.

Will Urine Screens Detect Prescription Drugs?

If you’ve been taking prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications, you may be concerned with the risk of false positives.

The good news is that laboratory tests distinguish between over-the-counter (OTC) and illegal drugs. With that said, certain prescription medications are considered illicit drugs because they can be misused.

If you’ve been taking a prescription medication, it may show up on test results, but it depends on the specific test conducted. How you wish to handle this situation depends on the circumstances under which the drug test is being given.

For instance, if your healthcare provider requests a test, they’re already aware of your prescriptions. On the other hand, if your employer requests the test, you might be reluctant to tell them.

Before you reveal sensitive medical information to your employer, you should speak with the HR department to see what your rights are as an employee.

Ideally, you’ll do this as soon as you receive notice that drug tests will be administered to avoid confusion and possible suspension once the test results are returned.

Can I Produce a False-Negative Drug Test Result?

People dealing with substance abuse may be concerned about failing a urine test.

There’s a lot of misinformation on the internet about how to “cheat” a urine test and produce a negative result even when you’ve recently used detectable drugs. Many products promise to detox your body rapidly, but studies have found this is not true.

One of the most common tips for passing a urine test is to drink lots of water. Doing so will dilute your urine, which means the drugs will be in a lower concentration in your sample.

However, the drugs will still be detectable, and the fact that your urine was so diluted may raise suspicion and lead to additional tests.

If you’re worried about failing a drug test, seeking treatment for your substance addiction is your best option.

How Zinnia Health Can Help

If you’ve been asked to take a drug test, or you’re worried about tests in the future, it’s critical to recognize that your options aren’t limited to failing or faking.

At Zinnia Health, we’ve helped many people get on the path to a drug-free life.

Our confidential, judgment-free team can give you the support you need to make the transition and stay clean for good.

If you’re ready to take the next step toward addiction treatment, let Zinnia Health help. Call our helpline anytime, day or night, at (855) 430-9439 for more information. 

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