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What to Do If You Get a Failed Drug Test

A drug test is a standard requirement for many job applications. For the most part, you don’t pay much attention to it, viewing it as a necessary step to getting hired. However, if you fail your drug test, that’s a different story. 

So, what happens if you fail a drug test for a job? Will the law take over? Will you get fired? If you fail a drug test, do they call you or, worse, arrest you? 

This article will explore some of these questions and other issues that will undoubtedly arise once you receive a failed drug test.

What Happens If You Fail a Drug Test?

First things first: a positive result doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re using a drug. False positives are possible, and employers know this. So, they might ask you to do a confirmatory test. 

Some companies, however, assume a positive result means you’ve used the drug. Sometimes, they give you a second chance anyway. During this time, you’ll be asked to go on a temporary leave to sober up and take counseling classes. You’ll then be required to do another test before returning to work. Usually, if you pass this second test, you can resume work. Companies may decide to conduct weekly or monthly tests for a set period to prove that you’re completely rehabilitated. During this period, any failed drug test can result in immediate termination.

Can You Still Get Hired If You Fail a Drug Test?

For the most part, no. If the test result is proven to be legitimate (especially after multiple retests), you will most likely lose your job. If drug testing was part of a screening application, the company will probably revoke your job offer.

However, in some industries or states, you might be given a second chance. Employers in Vermont and Minnesota, for example, cannot legally fire you after a failed drug test if you agree to undergo rehabilitation (if you were already an employee). Some states also require that employers give employees ample time to contest the test results and get retested. 

The good news: a failed drug test isn’t the end of your career. You can still get employed again somewhere down the line by completing a Return to Duty process administered by a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP). 

Different Types of Failed Drug Tests

Marijuana is one of the most common substances that cause a failed result. However, because some states recognize marijuana as legal, these laws get tricky. If you’re legally allowed to use marijuana because of an illness or medical condition, you need to show proof of that.

The same is true with illegal drugs that also have otherwise legal medical uses, such as opioids. For individuals who have a prescription for these, the employer should treat the case on its own merit and work with legal and medical professionals. They shouldn’t simply fire you on the spot. 

However, outside of these two areas, companies don’t usually differentiate much between the different substances that can cause you to fail a test. In other words, a failed test due to heroin will carry the same consequences and possible sanctions as does a failed cocaine test.

What to Do After a Failed Drug Test

Don’t automatically accept the failed test result, especially if you don’t use drugs in the first place! False positives do occur. For example, you can fail a drug test if you have been using low THC CBD oil (which is legal) or other medications. 

If you suspect a false positive result, talk to your supervisor or HR manager right away. You’ll need to disclose all of the food and prescription drugs you’ve been taking, including any herbal supplements which can cause a false-positive result.

From here, two things can happen. If you have sufficient evidence to prove that you have not been using any drugs despite the failed drug test, then your test results will be changed to negative. 

More often than not, though, the lab will perform a confirmatory GC-MS test on your urine sample, which is considered the more accurate testing.  If you fail this second test, you’re most likely positive — it’s nearly impossible for the GC-MS to give erroneous results.

Once this happens, you’ll probably lose your job or offer. However, not all is lost. It’s still possible to return to a normal work life in the future even if you have a failed drug test in the past. All it takes is the commitment to rehabilitate, ideally, with a professional treatment provider like West Coast Recovery Center.

We believe that every individual has unique needs. That’s why all our drug addiction programs are tailored-fit to each person for the best results. Contact us today, and let’s begin to get your life back.

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