Detoxing Before a Drug Test

Detoxing Before a Drug Test
June 11 14:23 2018 Print This Article

Drug use and abuse are detrimental across all aspects of society, and especially so in the workplace. For that reason, it is not uncommon for employers to require drug testing to ensure they are maintaining a drug-free environment in which to do business. The most common type of drug test is through a urine sample, although testing hair is becoming increasingly popular and it’s important for employees to be aware of what’s involved.

For people with a history of drug use or even those who use recreationally, an imminent drug test can cause concern. Here we take a look at the best ways of ensuring drug tests are passed, without resorting to cheating. There are some who believe they can submit another person’s sample tamper with their own but this is ill-advised for the following reasons:

  • The majority of labs will be able to detect if the urine sample contains any additives
  • Tampering with a urine sample is actually considered a crime in many states in America
  • Testing can sometimes be observed, making it impossible to switch samples

Whatever the reasons are for having to take a drug test, nobody wants a positive result. Although there are several different testing methods, in this article we focus on urine drug test detox, which remains the most common method.

Of course, the only way to guarantee passing a drug test is to refrain from using drugs. Abstaining for a certain period before the test may also lead to a positive result, depending on the level of use. However, notice isn’t always given before a drug test and many people can be concerned they will get a false positive if they’ve had some exposure to drugs, even in a secondary capacity.

How does urine testing work?

Generally, either the employer or an external lab will be responsible for testing and in both cases; samples are tested for the presence of metabolites which are the broken down compounds of drugs. The main drugs urine tests identify the use of include: opioids, cannabis, alcohol, cocaine, benzodiazepines or amphetamines. If a detox drug test is required in a sporting context, samples will also be tested for performance-enhancing drugs like steroids. Results are usually available immediately if samples are tested straightaway although they are sometimes stored for later testing.

How long does it take for different drugs to leave your system?

Hair drug testing is more sensitive to recent drug use than urine testing, which generally cannot detect drugs after 24-48 hours of use. The only exception to this rule is cannabis, as it takes around 30 days for THC to leave the bloodstream although regular users should drug test detox at least 3 months before the test in order to get a negative result.

Cocaine takes around 72 hours to rid from the system and the metabolite it leaves in the system can be detected for anything up to five days after use and the majority of opioids take up to four days to be expelled. However, both substances are highly addictive and users are best-advised to seek professional treatment at a drug detox center.

For athletes using performance-enhancing drugs, they can be detected in urine testing for up to 12 months after use in certain cases.

How to stack the odds in your favor for a clean test:

Using underhand methods to pass a urine drug test, such as using synthetic urine or another person’s sample is never recommended, particularly as there are other methods to employ to ensure the test is passed without issue:

  • Drink a lot of fluids. Urine testing does not identify the drug itself, just the broken down compounds or metabolites that are residual in the sample. By flushing the system with as much water as possible ahead of the detox drug test, the body has a better chance of ridding remnants of drugs. However, it’s ill-advised to dilute a urine sample too much by drinking too many fluids as a lab may consider this to be tampered with.
  • Use a detox drink. Detox drinks are quite widely available and contain ingredients such as cranberries, dandelion root, milk thistle and fresh lemon, which are all herbs that act as natural diuretics. What this does is encourage the body to expel toxins naturally and works by flushing out the system.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Although these may not be things that could be red-flagged in a urine test, when they are present in the body, it makes it harder for the liver to expel any metabolites that may cause a positive result. Both coffee and alcohol also dehydrate the body, making it difficult to flush drugs from the system.
  • Sweat it out. Another great way of flushing unwanted residues in a urine sample is to get hot and sweaty. Spending time in the sauna or working out in the gym will flush out metabolites through sweat although for that reason, it’s not a good idea to leave it until the day of the test otherwise there will still be drug residues in the urine sample.

Although there are several techniques available to reduce the likelihood of getting a positive result in a drug test, heavy or regular users may face more difficulties in passing than others. Drug tests are not designed to catch people out but more to identify if there is an issue that needs to be addressed.

Drug dependence and addiction are serious illnesses that sufferers are often preoccupied with concealing, which can be extremely detrimental to their health. In these more serious cases of drug use and misuse, people are always recommended to seek specialist treatment at a drug detox center.

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Clare Louise
Clare Louise

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