question about urine drug screening

  1. I have to take a urine drug test for a prospective employer. I guess I am a little ignorant of all that they test for, and my concern is this...

    My back has been hurting for about a week, and I have tried several meds, the strongest of which have been Darvocet and Tylenol 3. Does anyone know specifically what drugs they test for and if these drugs will show up? For how long do they have to be out of my system? If I haven't taken them for 2-3 days, would traces of them still show up?

    Any answers would be appreciated. Also...I don't want to let on that I have occasional back problems, so making any excuses to my prospective employer about being on these meds is out of the question.
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    About melissa24

    Joined: Jun '02; Posts: 92
    Home Schooling Mom/Home Health RN


  3. by   Nurse Ratched
    (Wed do UDS's frequent;y on my unit.) Both will pop positive results (under opiates.) Our lab tells me typically 1-2 days after ingestion will get a positive results.

    So your dilemma is this - tell the employer, and risk them classifying you as a workman's comp potential hazard, or don't tell, and in the off chance you come back positive, having them classify you as a drug user because you didn't tell them about it.

    Good luck with your decision.
  4. by   nakitamoon
    Melissa24~ You need to list all medications you have taken,,, on the lab form before you test~

    You always can clarify~ they are prn,,, explain your back problem,, there will be questions on your physical about that,,,

    Not a good idea to try to hide anything~ will get your fired faster than being honest about back problems,,,, If in the future they find out~~

    Going to save you a lot of trouble in the future,,, ie: your test comes back positive,,, then you have to explain why? and why you weren't totally open in the beginning,,,,,, (if they give you the chance to explain)

    Or if you are not 'up to par' one day due to your back,,, It won't be taken as attempt to file for workers comp,,, or that you can't carry your load~

    Every company is different,,, but with mine,,, find that even with problems,,,, as long as they are discussed in the beginning,,, plan taken to avoid further injury,,, (as say~~ you will were a back belt & only do two person lifts,,,) shouldn't effect your being hired or retaining job~

    If they don't hire you do to physical problems,,, you can fight that,,, or save yourself from being fired after the fact,,,, Just my two cents,,,,,,

  5. by   pfleige
    Be honest, or try to pospone the test as long as you are taking the opioids for medical reasons and you feel you and your back are ok for the job. Honesty is probably best since they may do periodical testing and if you need to continue taking the meds eventually it will caught up with you! On the other hand depending on the facility you my be just writen off because of your back and since you have to take the physical anyways...
    I would try to postpone the test if it was easy to do and tell the truth about the your back in the physical and down play the medication taking a bit that way you are not lying just somewhat omiting or downplaying the situation, but you must be honest to yourself.
  6. by   mintyRN
    Just wanted to add one thing. Make sure you have up to date scripts for those meds. If you do test positive you'll need proof that you were taking them under a doc's care.
  7. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Interesting subject. I remember, a while back I self-submitted to a drug screen where I work. Why? A whole vial of ketamine came up one knew where it went. So to clear ourselves, several of us submitted voluntarily on the spot. The house supervisor said he did not think it would be necessary, but we had a strong desire to be in the clear prior to going offshift, rather than be called in later on (when we are sleeping) to do a urine drug screen test anyhow.

    THEN as I was filling out the darn form, I remembered the Vicodin I was using the prior week for a nasty dental extraction. So what did I do? I listed that drug on the form and explained in the notes area that I had current proof of prescription to clear up any opoid detection in my urine. It turned out fine; I was never called on it and we all turned up negative so mine would have been the "suspect" specimen, had I not remembered and listed that medication on the form.

    I say, try to postpone and explain why you wish to do so. If this is not an option, list the drug, and state you have current proof of prescription, like I did. That should about cover you. Don't worry! You are being honest.
  8. by   Youda
    Like Nurse Ratched said, they will show up under "opiates," but the test won't show whether or not the "opiate" is a legal drug or an illegal drug, only that it falls into that category of med. So, yes, you need to say upfront what you're taking and show the script. Some places automatically report a positive to the Board of Nursing, and let you explain to THEM what you're taking. So, don't try to hide anything.

    Also, there is a percentage thresh hold. So, if you haven't taken it in 2-3 days, it might show up, but below the percentage so it isn't "counted" as a positive, even though it's there.

    Because the labs use a percentage system, a lot of druggies drink gallons of water before the test so that the percentage of illegal drugs per volume is below the thresh hold. Many labs and employers now assume drug use if the specific gravity is abnormally low. So, better to be a little dehydrated for the test than to drink a lot of water beforehand.

    For any drug testing, be aware that there are false positives depending on the testing equipment and procedures the lab is using. Alot of cold medications still show up as amphetamines, and ibuprophen often shows up as an opiate. So, if you get a "positive" on something you are not taking, insist on a "confirmation test." This is a test that analyzes the positive in more detail; and is required by the Feds for positives to r/o the false postives.

    Also, make certain whoever collects the specimen seals it in your presence, and the chain of custody remains intact. I have a friend who got a positive because someone else applying for a job the same day switched specimens.

    But, don't be nervous or worry about it. Just pee in the little cup and be honest.
  9. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    I got denied a job once because I was taking "fat burners". I showed the bottle,declared it on the form,talked to the doc,the nurse,and my prospective employer about it.

    After two weeks of phone tag I found out that I was disqualified because they found amphetamines.

    Nobody wanted to hear about it.

    Nobody would give me the benefit of the doubt.

    Screw that! GNC has something called GHF. It's a liquid that you can drink and it covers you for 6 hrs.
    Just tell the person behind the counter straight out that you need to pass a drug test(they think they're all urinalysis) and they will show you what they have.

    Do not take Goldenseal. Even though Goldenseal masks wonderfuly,and is not a controlled substance,the tests have been designed in some labs to detect it,so you might as well be on heroine for all they care

    You haven't done anything wrong,but do you really want to leave the decision up to some tech in a busy lab that just has to check one box or the other? They don't exactly get paid to detect clean samples do they?

    Do you sense maybe that I'm kind of pissed about not getting even an interview for that job because I took some OTC fat burners?
  10. by   indynurse
    Be upfront about the prescription med use. If you have proof it is prescribed for you by your physician you will be fine. My mother was in a MVA a few days before she had to take a drug test. She was given Vicodin and Flexiril for a strained back and neck. A few days later she was called and offered a position dependent upon results of a drug screen. She explained the meds on the form she had to fill out prior to the drug screen and she got the job.
    As others have said, you need to be honest about your meds and why you are taking them. At my hospital, all applicants who are being considered for a position are screened. We are also subject to random drug screens and breathalyzer tests and if we are injured on the job, we also must submit to these tests. If we are ordered to take a drug screen, we must submit to it within three hours or we are subject to termination.
  11. by   deespoohbear
    Like the other posters stated, make sure your scripts are current. I had surgery about 10 days before I got a new job. I was still taking T-3 for occasional pain. I tried to tell the lab upfront, but they wouldn't listen to me. They said they would call if there was a problem with the drug screen. Guess what? The screen showed positive for opiates. DUH!! So, I gave them the office number of the surgeon and they called and the surgeon verified that the script was current. That was all I heard about and I was hired for the job.

    Our facility used to do random drug screens on employees. Employees also had to give a drug screen if they were injuried on the job. A couple of months ago, the policy was discontinued. Now they will only test you if your superivisor or the treating MD is suspicious that you are using drugs or alcohol. My guess is that the administrator decided that too much money was being spent on drug screen for employees. Who knows?
  12. by   nurseman
    According to codeine can be detected in your urine for up to 5 days.