These foods can make you test positive for drugs
There’s nothing worse than when your dog actually did eat your homework, but you're still not believed.
Unless of course you’ve tested positive for opiates and your alibi is that you ate some bread rolls.
This is the claim of a 58-year-old pipe fitter, suspended from work for 11 weeks after testing positive for morphine – an extract from the opium produced by poppies.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, the father of two, who wishes to remain anonymous, insists the test reading was the result of him eating poppy seed bread and buns the day before the test.
After receiving the positive results, the Liverpudlian paid £120 for a private hair-follicle test, which came back negative, and obtained a letter from his GP stating he had never been on any prescribed medication, such as morphine or painkillers – which contain opium.
“I am a married dad and have two grown-up children. I have never taken drugs,” said the Liverpool man.
“I thought to myself ‘I have something in my body that I have no idea where it has come from’ – it was very worrying.”
The pipe fitter’s online research led him to an experiment on BBC One’s Rip Off Britain: Food, which aired in May. Over three days, 72-year-old presenter Angela Ripon ate a loaf of poppy seed bread and a poppy seed bagel to see if a drug test would pick up opiates. The results showed the presence of morphine.
The construction worker added, “I knew straight away that it had to be the poppy seeds I had eaten and I actually thought 'Great that explains it.'”
His company have since taken him back, although the contractor that he failed the test for has refused to accept his return to work.
So, can eating poppy seeds really lead you to fail a drug test?
“If you eat a poppy seed roll, it could give rise to a positive result on a urine drug test for morphine,” says Atholl Johnston, Professor of Pharmacology at Queen Mary University.
While the morphine content of poppy seeds can vary by a factor of nearly 600, drug tests are highly sensitive, and could return a positive result even after a relatively small number of the seeds.
However, Professor Johnston makes it clear that eating poppy seeds will not get you high any time soon.
“It is unlikely that a single poppy seed roll, or even a dozen rolls, would result in an individual ingesting enough morphine to have a pharmacological effect.”
Nevertheless, it’s advisable to wait up to three days after eating poppy seed products before taking a drug test.
And in case you’re wondering what other kinds of foods could lead you to fail a substance test, we’ve got the answer for you: the best kinds.
Like pizza and pastries.
Now a fair number of people would probably testify that pizza is effectively an addictive drug anyway.
But according to a breathalyser manufacturer, food products that use yeast can in fact make you fail a breathalyser test. This is because yeast makes dough rise by fermenting sugars into a number of substances, one of which is alcohol.
And if you’re unlucky enough to be breathalysed immediately after eating pizza, then this could cause you to fail the test.
According to the same source, this also applies to ripe fruit and fruit drinks. These can ferment and produce just enough alcohol for you to test positive.
Thankfully, because the alcohol is in your mouth rather than in your digestive system, you should be fine after about 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can rinse your mouth out with water.
Then there’s hemp seeds (often found in granola bars), hemp seed oil and hemp seed milk.
These can lead you to test positive for THC, the principal psychoactive chemical in weed. After all, hemp is itself a type of cannabis.
And even poor, innocent, tonic water can help you to fail a drug test.
Tonic water was originally drunk for its quinine, an antimalarial drug derived from the bark of the South American cinchona tree.
This led to the invention of gin and tonics by a British official in 19th-century colonial India, who found a way to liven up the anti-malarial prescription.
But having a few G&Ts could also liven up your drug test results.
So you could actually end up failing both a breathalyser and a drug scan. Which would give you one heck of a hangover.
Medications that can cause false positive drug tests
There are several instances where you may be asked to complete a drug test—when you’re applying for a new job, or if you are a student or an athlete. Urine drug screens are the most common test (although other body fluids may be analyzed). The test itself is simple and painless, and only requires a urine sample. It can feel a little unnerving to be asked to take a drug test, and it is important to know that there are some medications and other substances that could cause a false positive drug test.
What is a false positive drug test?
A “false positive” result occurs when the analytical drug detection method recognizes some of the molecules in the body as illegal drugs when you haven’t ingested anything illegal. Drugs that are typically screened for include amphetamines/methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, marijuana, cocaine, PCP, methadone, and opioids (narcotics).
Research conducted at Boston Medical Center shows that drug tests produce false positives in 5% to 10% of cases. Although this is not a high percentage, the consequences for failing a drug test could jeopardize your career, education, or job prospects. Several common prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, herbs, vitamins, and even some foods could trigger a false positive drug test.
When it comes to prescriptions, “ warnings are available, but usually only if you look for them,” s ays Brent McFadden, Pharm.D., the owner of Brent’s Pharmacy & Diabetes Care in St. George, Utah. “It is usually in the fine print and most people, in my experience, don’t read the material given to them by the pharmacist. ”
8 medications that cause false positive drug tests
So, if you are like most people who don’t take the time to study the fine print, here is a list of prescriptions and over-the-counter medications that could cause a false positive drug test.
1. Analgesics/ NSAIDS
The medication Daypro ( oxaprozin), which is prescribed for types of arthritis, may result in a false positive test for benzodiazepines. The pain medication tramadol could trigger a false positive result for PCP . Common over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications such as Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen) could make you test positive for barbiturates, THC (cannabinoids), or PCP.
Quinolone antibiotics, such as Levaquin ( levofloxacin ) or Cipro ( ciprofloxacin ) are commonly prescribed for certain infections (urinary tract, sinus, etc.). They have been shown to trigger a false positive urine result for opiates. Rifampin, an antibiotic used to treat tuberculosis, can also lead to a false positive result for opiates .
Antidepressants — such as Wellbutrin ( bupropion ), Prozac ( fluoxetine ), Seroquel ( quetiapine ), Effexor ( venlafaxine ), trazodone , and amitriptyline —could cause a false positive result for amphetamines or LSD.
Antihistamines and some sleep aids containing diphenhydramine (like Benadryl ) could cause a false positive result for PCP or methadone. Doxylamine (the active ingredient in Unisom) can also trigger a positive drug result for methadone, opiates, and PCP.
5. Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants
Ritalin ( methylphenidate ) and Adderall are used to treat ADHD, and are well known to cause a false positive for amphetamines and methamphetamines.
6. Cough suppressant
Dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in Robitussin, Delsym, and other over-the-counter cough suppressants, may cause a drug screen to be positive for opiates and/or PCP.
A key ingredient in Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) is also the main ingredient to the making of methamphetamine.
8. Proton pump inhibitors
Prilosec ( omeprazole ), Nexium ( esomeprazole ), and Prevacid ( lansoprazole ) are used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease ( GERD ) or peptic ulcer disease (PUD) and can cause a false positive for THC.
“ My recommendation to anyone taking these medicines who might be drug tested is first and foremost to be honest with the tester,” says Dr. McFadden. “Know if the meds you are taking might cause a false positive and notify the administrator of the test. If it is prescribed, make sure you have the label from the pharmacy, which will show that the medication was prescribed to you. If it is an OTC product, have some kind of documentation (the container it was in, a note from your physician, etc.) that you have taken it.”
5 common substances that can cause false positives
In addition to prescription medications, these other common substances can lead to a false positive drug test.
1. Vitamin B supplements
Riboflavin, also known as B2, is found in hemp seed oil and may return a false THC (marijuana) reading.
2. CBD (cannabidiol)
CBD is the non-psychoactive portion of the marijuana plant that has become a very popular remedy for everything from pain control, to promoting sleep, to helping relieve anxiety. Urine drug tests screen for the presence of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, but a problem could arise due to the fact that these products are not very well-regulated and cross contamination can occur. “ With CBD available in everything from drink powders, to weight loss formulations, to tinctures of all types, false positive urine tests for THC will become more and more common,” warns Dr. McFadden.
3. Poppy seeds
Consuming poppy seeds before a drug test (such as in a muffin or on a bagel) could cause a false positive drug result for opioids. Poppy seeds come from the seedpod of the opium poppy and while the seeds are cleaned before consumption, they may still contain trace amounts of opium residue. In 1998, the federal government raised the threshold on opiates from 0.3 micrograms to 2 micrograms per milliliter, but some testing facilities still go by the old standard.
Alcohol in hand sanitizer (from heavy use), certain liquid medications, and mouthwash or other breath cleaning products could cause you to test positive for drinking alcohol.
5. Tonic water
Tonic water contains quinine, and when consumed in large amounts could lead to false positive results for opiates.
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What to do if you have a false positive drug test
If you believe you failed a drug test due to taking a prescription drug or consuming one of these products you do have options. “ I would counsel them to require the administrator to do a more specific test before any action was taken,” says Dr. McFadden, who recommends samples be sent away to labs to have a more specific mass spectroscopy assay done. “Furthermore, if they can prove they are taking a medicine that can produce a false positive (by producing a legitimate prescription), the administrator may schedule another test 30 to 60 days later. If, under their physicians’ approval, the person can be off the medicine for that length of time, a negative test should result.”