What Happens If You Fail A Drug Test?

What Happens If You Fail A Drug Test?


If you fail a drug test, you may face disciplinary action depending on the circumstance. You may be declined a job offer if you are a potential applicant. If you fail a drug test during employment, your employer may terminate, suspend or demote you according to your company’s policies or agreement.

In general, if you pass a drug test, you will either advance through the hiring process or continue with your current employment.

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We usually do not take discipline seriously until we are tested for one during the most important turns in our life. Be it employment opportunity or college admissions or athletic selection, checking for discipline is one such priority. In that sense, drug testing is one of the crucial disciplinary evaluations that everyone at some stage would come across.

But, will your future get doomed if you fail a drug test? We cannot respond to this question with a straightforward answer. In this blog, we discuss what happens if you fail a drug test and a panoramic view of various dimensions to get a clear picture.

What Is A Drug Test?

A drug test is a screening process to determine the usage of illicit or illegal drugs. It is an analysis of biological specimens like urine, blood, hair, sweat or oral fluids to identify the presence or absence of drug(s) or their metabolites. A drug tester can determine the kind of drug(s), amount of usage and usage frequency. So, companies who hire employees for a reputed role undertake drug tests to determine the candidate’s accessibility to drugs.

Passing a drug test does not require much effort. You just need to be clean.

What Happens If You Fail A Drug Test?

Failing a drug test is painful. Disciplinary actions such as getting fired, getting rejected from further recruitment formalities or getting disqualified will be the case, but the decision will depend on the situation.

  • If you are a potential applicant, you might have chances of losing the job offer.
  • If you are a working employee, there are chances of being laid-off, suspended or demoted.

If you fail a drug test, a trained psychiatrist will provide counseling based on employee policies. Some companies fire their employees too if they find any particular employee in question is consuming illicit drugs.

A company with strict policies against illicit drugs will never accept an employee if he or she fails a drug test even if the country legalizes the usage of specific drugs such as weed. Some companies may be flexible to the country’s laws where it operates, but others may not.

Consequences of a Failed Drug Test

If you fail a drug test as part of pre-employment testing, your job opportunity may be revoked at the most.

If you fail a drug test during probation, your job opportunity can be altered or revoked depending on the position and may be referred to rehabilitation program. In some cases, it may even contribute towards criminal charges.

If you are a working employee and failed a drug test, there are chances of being laid-off, suspended, demoted or even getting arrested depending on the company’s policies. Most of the companies in the US prefer counseling to confine their employees because the reputation of the company precedes law enforcement actions.

Can You Fail A Drug Test From Secondhand Smoke?

According to a research, the THC metabolites can be found in your body after 15 minutes of exposure to secondhand smoke. So, there are chances of getting positive results due to secondhand smoke from weed or any other drugs. Probably, secondhand smoke may be more critical compared to the first time smoking. Many sources imply that first-time smokers can test negative for THC within 7 to 8 hours, but for secondhand smokers, the THC residue can remain in the body for 24 to 48 hours.

According to another study, people who are exposed to secondhand smoke in poorly ventilated areas have greater chances of testing positive for drugs. A kitchen, bedroom or enclosed spaces like a basement with no windows or windows closed can make a genuine person guilty. The study also determined that secondhand smoke can make the person feel the effects of taking the drug. For instance, a person in contact with a cannabis addict will also feel the effects of the drug.

Secondhand smoke exposure leads to the entry of drug metabolites into the body. These metabolites combine with the body fluids which create a psychoactive effect. For some people, it creates confusion and leads to unusual behaviors.

So it is better to take necessary precautions to keep yourself away if you are frequently in contact with any drug addict or place. Try to avoid going to those places or meeting such people. The lesser the contact time, the safer you are.

What Happens If I Fail A Drug Test While Pregnant?

It will be a nightmare if you are tested positive for drugs during your pregnancy. You may be using drugs, but it can affect the fetus if you are continuing to use it through pregnancy.

According to Obstetrics and Gynecology, they recommend counseling to the pregnant mothers regarding the ill effects of drug use on them and their fetuses as well as provide enhanced treatment options and prenatal care.

Generally, between 5 to 15% of pregnant women do test positive for illicit drugs even though they didn’t use it. These false-positive results usually occur when they took painkillers or any specific prescribed medications during pregnancy.

If you test positive for drugs, the medical test provider should find out the reason for the presence of drugs. The tester will find out what kind of drugs you have taken and whether it was prescribed by the doctor. If it was prescribed, then actions would be taken accordingly to reduce the drug effect so that it will not affect the child. But if the provider found out using illicit drugs on purpose, certain actions will be taken.

If they suspect you using drugs during pregnancy, they may report to the child welfare authorities which in turn may lead to undeniable consequences.

Babies will also get screened for drugs if the mother fails the drug test during pregnancy or labor. The baby will be kept separately until it develops withdrawal symptoms. The baby will be placed in NICU until recovery and later united with its mother. In certain hospitals that have strict drug restriction policies, they consider this as drug abuse and the baby will be given to Child Protective Services.

It is a serious problem in some states which consider the intake of illicit drugs through any means as a crime. In that aspect, you can request the tester to take a comprehensive and confirmatory test for a clear result. Using Mass Spectrometry/Gas Chromatography will be the best choice for drug testing pregnant women.

Of note, according to US Supreme Court, pregnant women cannot be tested for illicit drug use without their consent.

Failing A Pre-Employment Drug Test

It would be disgusting if a reliable workforce goes in vain. Pre-employment drug testing is one such disciplinary test for drugs that eliminates even the capable workforce.

According to recent research, the number of drug cases among the job aspirants has been increasing since 2016. Specifically, the narcotic/hard drug consumption intake among the candidates is more prevalent during the drug tests compared to other drugs. The next most consumed drug is opioid. Opioid abuse had cost more than 80 billion USD in 2013 and it was also commented that opioid intake had shrunk the workforce population. Not only opioids and narcotic/hard drug, but there are also other major drugs like meth, weed, cannabis, etc., which deteriorate the future of many youngsters.

If you are concerned about being jailed for failing pre-employment testing rather than getting a job, you can breathe out and relax. There is no federal law other than the federal government that can prohibit an employer from hiring a person who has failed the drug test.

It depends upon the reputation and sensitivity of the company. If the company has strict policies against drug use or abuse, then your chances are meager. But if the company is linear, then you are lucky; there are limitations. This kind of possibility dwells only if you are an occasional drug user or a secondhand smoker since no company will need a drug addict to handle their operations.

Of note, even in states where weed is legitimate for recreational purposes, employers have legal rights to lay-off employees or revoke job offer to an applicant if they test positive for weed.

If you fail a drug test despite not taking any drugs, you can ask for a confirmatory test such as GC-MS test.

Will CBD Oil Make You Fail A Drug Test?

If you are using pure CBD oil containing less than 0.3% THC the chances of failing a drug test is least. However, if you are using CBD oil that is contaminated or mislabeled, then you might end up having positive test results.

CBD oil is helping many people alleviate their anxiety, seizure, chronic pain and many other neurological issues naturally, but there is always a question if CBD oil can fail a drug test. CBD oil is made from two plants – Hemp and Weed. CBD oil derived from hemp plants contains less amounts of THC, i.e., less than 0.3%. These have lower habit-forming and side effect risks.

CBD oil contains two compounds in them – Cannabidiol and Cannabinol. Hemp made CBD oil contains more amounts of Cannabidiol and less amounts of Cannabinol. Hence, they are pure and contain fewer amounts of THC substances in it. However, CBD oil derived from weed have more Cannabinol in them, which is a federally illegal drug substance. Also, it contains high amounts of THC substances, i.e., 0.3% or more THC.

Despite controlled THC content in CBD oil, there are chances that you can test positive for THC. This may occur due to contamination or mislabeling. It can happen if your CBD oil contains more than legal level of 0.3% THC.

There are other cases where the drug testing reagents can lead to false positives. Yes, drug testing reagents like perfluorinated anhydrides and perfluoro alcohols that are used during the gas chromatography for testing drugs can lead to false-positive results. It is because there are chances that the reagents mix up with the CBD leading to the chemical reaction. This may lead to false-positive results during drug tests.

What Happens If You Fail A Drug Test On Probation?

If you fail a drug test on probation, it may lead to extension or alteration of probation time or worsen criminal consequences.

Failing a drug test on probation is one of the serious problems faced by the workforce population. Considering the seriousness of the problem, it varies based on the repetition mechanism and the state where the person resides. It may vary from a moderate warning to the jail term.

There are two things that you can expect to happen – One, you will get a strict warning from the probation officer with apology procedures if it is your first offense. If it is not your first offense, then you will be sent for a court hearing for drug abuse. The court can make decisions that may lead to your extension or revocation of your probation. If your probation is revoked, you will have to spend the rest of your life in jail unless you prove yourself not guilty.

There may be instances where the court can extend or alter your probation and you will be asked to enroll in rehabilitation programs or prevention of drug abuse programs until you get clearance certificate from the organization. However, if you refuse to undergo rehabilitation or use drugs even after rehabilitation, you will be penalized, involved in community services or sent to jail.

Probation determines your reduction of sentence in jail and failing drug testing during probation time will have undeniable consequences. So, it is better to keep yourself clean if you want probation and to minimize your charges.

What Happens If You Fail A Doctor’s Drug Test?

Your doctor might advise you against using or misusing any legal or illicit substances or discharge you from their practice for being dishonest.

You should understand that whatever information you convey or share with your physician is kept confidential. So if you are misusing prescribed medications or using illicit substances like weed, you can speak to your doctor about it. They may advise you about the adverse effects on your health or if it might react with other regular medication(s) you have been taking for any medical condition(s).

There are some practices that have stringent policies to discharge patients from their practice for being dishonest about their illicit drug usage. So if any patient tests positive for any illicit drugs, the patient would be immediately discharged from their practice.

There are many other practices that share a good doctor-patient relationship where you can communicate and share information with confidentiality. If your doctor found out about your illicit substance use or misuse of prescribed medications from the drug test, you needn’t worry too much about being dishonest. You can just convey it to your doctor because it isn’t just you. Doctors come across many patients almost on a daily basis that misuse medications or use illicit substances. Doctors would advise you against it and help motivate you towards a healthy life.

If you have a good relationship with your doctor, you will be served towards healthy life.

Will Quest Diagnostics Call If I Fail A Drug Test?

No, Quest Diagnostics will not call you if you fail a drug test if your employer ordered it. The employer will inform you about your drug test results.

Quest Diagnostics is a renowned clinical laboratory in America. It has its offices in the USA, Brazil, Mexico and other states. It collaborates with hospitals all over the globe and has agreements with them. They manage discipline and professionalism despite the clinical side. It helps the governments and other central authorities related to medicine and pharma areas.

Quest Diagnostics themselves follow the six sigma quality equipped drug testing measures. They do workplace drug testing and pre-employment drug testing procedures with precision. Failing a drug test conducted by Quest Diagnostics is a serious matter that you have to consider. Quest Diagnostics prefer urine related drug testing to other forms of drug tests. They have a drug panel to determine the level and range of the drug intake and produce clear results. All major illicit drugs can be detected by the Quest team through urine drug testing within 24 to 72 hours.

It should be noted that Quest Diagnostics are not the deciding authorities when it comes to drug testing for their clients. The test results of the donors are sent directly to their clients and the client will decide based on the result.

For instance, if your employer orders you to take a drug test through Quest Diagnostics, they will administer the test and send the results to your employer. So your employer will decide based on the drug test result whether to retain or revoke your employment.

Can Poppy Seeds Make You Fail A Drug Test?

Yes, consuming cakes, muffins, bagels, pastries or bread containing poppy seeds may give you a positive result.

Spraying poppy seeds in pastry and bread will make the food tastier, but it is a threatening fact that poppy seeds can lead to failure in drug testing. Poppy seeds are derived from Papaver Somniferum seeds (opium poppy). The seeds themselves do not contain any drug content, but while harvesting, they can absorb or get coated with alkaloid narcotic residues which makes them drug-sensitive.

Consuming poppy seeds may not usually fail your drug test. It is based on the amount of consumption. If you had one or two bread sprinkled with poppy seeds, then you may not develop positive results. But uncontrolled usage of poppy seeds in any of the foods may impact your drug test showing positive for narcotics. According to a study, the poppy seed induced drug metabolites may remain in the urine for nearly 60 hours.

There is a prevalence of fact that the alkaloid narcotic content is removed from the poppy seeds before they are released to the market. But still, there may be the presence of residues that can alter your drug test results. So, if you have an upcoming drug test, you can avoid consuming poppy seeds several days before as a precaution.

Will I Lose Custody If I Fail A Drug Test?

Yes, you may lose custody of your child if you fail the drug test depending on the situation. There may be changes in your visitation rights.

Failing a drug test while your child custody is at stake is one of the painful things you can have. Child Protective Services are very sensitive to child abuse and mismanagement. They focus on parents to be clean and gentle with their child. So, failing the drug test will never compromise them. If you fail a court-ordered drug test for child custody, it would become more serious. You will not get access to your child after all.

Yes, if you fail a drug test, then you will be given minimal or no time for visiting your child. Even if allowed to visit, there would be time constraints. Also, you can meet your child only in Family Court Service Facility or any other supervised service facilities. If you are tested with high amounts of drug intake, then the court will recommend you to the de-addiction program until you prove them sober and clean.

What Happens If You Fail A DOT Drug Test?

If you fail a DOT drug test, your employer will remove you from any safety sensitive position. Licenses and certificates can also be held, annulled or suspended depending on your contract or company’s policy.

DOT (Department of Transportation) drug tests are done for those who are involved in transportation-related jobs that are safety sensitive. The United States Department of Transportation is deeply concerned about the safety of transportation and conducts drug tests. A driver should pass the DOT drug test to get his eligibility to drive in sensitive transportation.

Initially, a urine test is administered and the results will be sent to the Medical Review Officer (MRO). If the test is positive, the MRO will give a chance to explain. If you cannot come up with any cause or prove guilty, then you will be held from doing any DOT safety-sensitive work.

In certain cases, the employer may terminate your employment, but only after the recommendation of the Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). The decision of the SAP is final and the employer or employee cannot change it.

Will LabCorp Call You If You Fail A Drug Test?

No, LabCorp will not call in case you fail the drug test. LabCorp might call if your specimen was invalid or contaminated and to get a second sample for testing.

LabCorp drug tests are pretty different from other conventional drug testing methods. If you are an individual and want to test for drugs, you have to register in their portal where the results would be published between 2 to 5 days. If the result is negative at the first attempt, they would release the results in 2 days. Or else, LabCorp will conduct further tests to analyze the reason for the positive result. Finally, they will come up with a report on whether it is due to the false positive or due to the consumption of legal or illicit drugs.

If you are an employee and your employer demands a drug test on their company’s behalf, then the resulting pathway is different. The results will not be released to you, but the employer. The employer will analyze the results and take necessary action based on their company’s drug policies if you fail the drug test. In this scenario, the sole discretion lies with the employer to choose you or not.

Final Thoughts

Be it a well-developed company or a startup, they expect their employees to be neat and clean on the inside. They are concerned about the employees’ health and well-being too. That is the reason all reputed institutions and organizations and sports clubs prefer drug-free people into their nest. Failing a drug test is not a sin or crime unless you have intentionally taken it because that can be so ill-effective when it comes to society building.

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