False Positive

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Definition - What does False Positive mean?

A false positive refers to an erroneous test finding that indicates suspected drug metabolites in the system, leading to the belief that the donor in question engages in regular substance use. Although a urine specimen is a preferred method for drug testing protocol, many individuals often encounter perceived biases from conflicting evidence of purported substance abuse issues reflected in false-positive cases.

SureHire explains False Positive

On the surface, a false-positive test result carries implications of attempting to mask a substance abuse problem, spurring pushback from applicants and current employees who might otherwise deny allegations of suspected drug use by their employer. Incidentally, a urine specimen may undergo auxiliary drug testing procedures; for example, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is an advanced modality that targets molecular compounds related to drug metabolites against false-positive outcomes. It is critical to disclose pertinent medical information covering prescription medications or the use of over-the-counter remedies before submitting to a drug screen, helping to identify any likelihood of cross-reactivity from substances with enzymatic similarities to drug metabolites. Laboratory-based urine drug testing serves as the linchpin for many provincial jurisdictions across Canada, bolstered by partnering entities such as the Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA) alongside the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulatory guidelines. While urine testing operates as a deterrent against substance abuse, low cutoff threshold values or negligence/oversights (i.e. mislabeling containers) can result in false positives, compromising the overall integrity of drug screens. As federal mandates extend latitude toward recreational drug use (i.e. legalized marijuana), a comprehensive drug testing policy may help buffer the impact from negating factors such as passive inhalation where job prospects may incur a false-positive.

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