Good Excuses For Failing A Drug Test

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    Positive Drug Test Excuses

    There are several ways to fight a false positive drug test or even fight a test that correctly stated that you used cannabis or another controlled substance. That’s why I have decided to write this article on good excuses for failing a drug test. First of all, before getting to the excuses, I am going to do a general overview of drug testing and drug tests.

    What If It Is Just Weed?

    Drug Screening For Cannabis

    Weed is legal in numerous states. As a result, you might think that if it is legal in your state, you will not have to worry if you pop positive for cannabis.

    Unfortunately, for almost all states, you can still be fired or not hired if you have a positive drug test result for cannabis.


    The only exceptions to you not being able to be fired over weed is if for employees in Nevada and New York City as both, with a few exceptions, makes it unlawful for an employer to not hire cannabis smokers. There are however a few exceptions to not allowing a THC test.

    These exceptions are that the law does not apply to federal, US government positions. Also, you can be tested if you have public safety job. I.E., Police Officer, or any job that is considered to be safety-sensitive.

    What Type Of Drugs Are You Tested For?

    You can be tested for any drug. However, you may be also tested for a specific controlled substance or additional drugs. It all depends on the goal of the organization that is testing you.

    The most common type of test that you will take is a 5-panel drug test, which tests for cocaine, opiates, meth, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates.

    Specific Types of Tests

    • Hair Test
    • Urine Test
    • Swab Test

    As it is the cheapest, urine testing is the most common.

    Reasons For Having To Take a Drug Test

    There are multiple reasons for drug testing. The following are the type of drug tests that I will be covering:

    Pre-Employment And Random Testing

    Pre Employment Test-Occurs when a job applicant is forced you have to take a urine test in order to be considered for employment. On the other hand, random testing happens if you are already hired, and to keep your job you have to submit to a urinalysis, hair test, or another type of screening.

    How Common?

    Whether or not you are subject to an employment drug screen largely depends upon who your employer is and your job. As an example, most US government employees are required to take a pre-employment drug test.

    Also, as I stated, you will be more likely to have to take one if your job is classified as being safety-sensitive. (I.E. Truck Drivers, Aerospace and Defense Industries, Construction, etc.)

    School teachers and others who work in the education field are also more likely to be drug tested.

    The good news is that, per Forbes, less than 1.47% of jobs advertise that they require pre-job drug tests. Also, only .66% of jobs state that they have a random drug testing program in place.

    DOT Drug Test

    DOT Drug Test Required


    Department of Transportation (“DOT”) -Per US law, you are required to take a pre-employment and random drug screening if your job is considered to be “safety-sensitive”. Safety Sensitive jobs are where a mistake could impact both the employee and the public’s safety. They range from a semi-truck driver to even an airline flight attendant.

    Also, safety-sensitive job positions are subject to random drug testing or testing based upon reasonable suspicion. A mandatory drug and alcohol test is required if you are involved in an incident that is deemed to be an accident under DOT guidelines.

    Under the DOT, an mandatory reporting accident does require and injury or fatality. For example, reporting is required if the other vehicle or your vehicle has to be towed away.

    There are other reasons a safety-sensitive worker might have to take a drug test. Click here, for further info.

    Athletic Drug Testing

    UA for PEDS

    Sports drug testing is a whole different animal and is likely not applicable to you. So, I will only briefly go over sports drug testing. Athletic drug testing essentially the same as a regular drug testing program with the exception that athletes will likely be tested for steroids or another performance enhancing drug.

    Military Drug Testing

    The military has a no-tolerance policy when it comes to any illegal drug use. This includes cannabis and even CBD oil.

    Correction, US military personnel are now allowed to take CBD oil and hemp oil-based products.

    This means that if you fail the drug test, even one time, you will be kicked out of the service and could even be criminally prosecuted. I went over Navy/Military drug tests extensively, in this article. So, check it out if you want more information.

    Condition For Probation

    A probation officer, as a condition of parole, may require you to take a random test. If you fail your test you may be subject to having your parole being revoked and being sent back to prison.

    Good Excuses For Failing A Drug Test

    The following are good and legitimate excuses on why you had a failed drug test.

    Cold Medicine or Other Type of OTC Medicine

    Taking over-the-counter cold medicine or other OTC medication can result in a false positive drug test. Below is a shortlist of OTC, cold, and allergy medicine that might result in a false positive.

    Cold Medication

    Sudafed PE Sinus Congestion Maximum Strength Non-Drowsy Decongestant Tablets, 36 ct Cold and allergy medicines containing the following can result in a false positive drug test.

    • Dextromethorphan-Found in Robittusin, Delysm, and other OTC cough medicines.

    Mistaken for opiates and even PCP.

    • Diphenhydramine-(AKA-Benadryl)- Is a common, allergy medicine ingredient. Examples are Tylenol PM and Advil PM.

    Mistaken for Methadone, PCP, and opiate drug.

    • Pseudoephedrine-This is better known as Sudafed.

    Mistaken for Meth

    NSAID-These are non-steroid medicines like Aleve and Ibuprofen.

    Aleve can be mistaken for Cannabis, and Ibuprofen can be mistaken for PCP and THC.

    Click here, for more information on OTC drugs and their relation to a false positive result.

    Prescription Drugs

    That your legally prescribed prescription drug caused a failed test is one of the top legitimate excuses for failing a drug test.

    Some of the prescriptions that could result in you wrongly failing your test are quite obvious. For example, taking Oxycodone or Tramadol will show up as you testing positive for opiates.

    However, at least for me, it was quite surprising just how many drugs can cause false positives. One example, of this, is the blood-pressure medicine Labetalol, which can result in a positive test for meth and even LSD. Click Here, for more info on this.

    Testing Lab Errors

    Obviously, a testing lab error can result in a false test. Some examples of this would be your urine sample ends up being contaminated, or your urine specimen may have been tested on faulty lab equipment.

    For the average person, these mistakes will be very hard to prove. Also, you will likely not get any cooperation with the drug lab as they will not want to ever admit that they messed up.

    So, depending on the consequences of your failure, you may be required to hire an attorney. (Who will, in turn, may hire, expensive expert) Your attorney, or an expert, after getting the lab records will then be able to find out if a proper testing process was followed by the lab.

    Certain Drug Lab Tests

    Not all drug tests are created equal. Some drug tests are more accurate and some drug tests are more prone to be false. For example, an immunoassay test, (these are cheaper tests and also tend to be home tests) or a point of contact test has been shown to be less accurate.


    poppy seed muffin
    PoppySeed Muffins

    If you are a Seinfield fan you likely remember the Seinfield episode where Eileen failed her drug test because of poppy seeds, when poppy seeds from her muffin showed up as being heroin, which resulted in a failed drug test.

    This classic Seinfeld episode was realistic as you can fail a drug test by eating poppy seed muffins. ( It would though take a lot of poppy seed muffins to fail your test) False test results may more likely occur for THC if you eat foods made of hemp oil.

    What You Should Do

    Make sure the lab gets a full list of any prescriptions you are on, and any OTC medications and supplements that you’re taking.

    Also, be sure to tell the lab if you were eating any food that could result in test errors I.E, CB

    Final Thoughts

    First of all, retain a lawyer if a failed UA might result in jail time. (Hire one even if you were clean) Also, you will be facing an uphill battle when trying to change any lab test results.

    So, these excuses may not work for you. But, using the above “good” excuses may be the only chance you have to keep, get a job, or even stay out of jail.



    Can you still get hired if you fail a drug test?

    Can ibuprofen 800 cause you to fail a drug test?

    How do I pass a drug test with water?

    Does a failed drug test go on your background?


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