Frequently Asked Questions
- We just did out first test. We were relieved that it was so easy to use, Some of the lines on the test are much lighter (fainter) than others. What does that mean?
Scientifically, if there is any visible line at all, it means that the test is negative. A faint line can be good reason to test more frequently, just to make sure. In some cases it may also indicate slight (under the wire) if use is under the "cut-off" level for the test, leaving the system, etc.
- What happens if my teen says that the test is wrong?
These tests promise 99%+ accuracy. These are the same tests used by law enforcement, employers, etc. Make sure your child is not taking any medications that would interfere with the results. Your doctor can order confirmation testing if you believe it is necessary, or you can look under laboratory/drug testing in you local yellow pages, or you can contact us. A money saving tip...most confessions occur while the parent and teen are driving the specimen to a lab.
- How long can drugs be detected in the urine?
We have a complete list in our "Detection Times" section, but a simple rule of thumb for most "street drugs" is about 3 days. It usually takes a few hours after drug use for drugs to be detected in the urine. Immediately after a weekend is a good time. Alcohol should be tested for as soon as possible. Marijuana can take five weeks, possibly even longer, to clear in a heavy user. THC is the only one of the drugs that is stored in the fat cells, so detection times are much, much longer than for other drugs. The chart that we use on our website says up to 5 weeks. A casual user will only be positive for a few days. Many factors determine how long a particular drug can be detected in a person, including that person's age, weight, sex, metabolic rate, overall health, amount of drug consumed over what period of time, etc.
You have two choices with a marijuana test that continues to come up positive. If money isn't an issue, you can take your child to a lab for quantitative testing where they give you a "number", and you can check back to see that that number is dropping over time. After you have a negative test, then you can begin to home test again. Your other alternative is to wait it out for a few weeks if you really believe you child has stopped. In some cases the answer may be longer than traditionally thought. Several studies suggest that benzoylecgonine or cocaine (for instance) can be detected in the urine of chronic, highdose abusers for longer periods of time than originally expected. Urine screens currently required by many employers use the minimum cutoff levels set by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to establish a positive drug test. A urine level of 300 nanograms per milliliter (or 300 micrograms per liter) of benzoylecgonine is considered a positive result for cocaine use. However, these levels can vary in the same individual depending on when the test is done. For example, first void of the day samples will yield the highest concentrations of drug metabolites. Testing urine at other times of the day will yield differing results, just as the concentration of urine itself changes throughout the day.
Due to these variations in urine concentration, positive test results can occur following a negative test result, although no additional cocaine was used. Many people try to avoid a positive test result by "watering up," or drinking large amounts of fluids to dilute their urine. The widely accepted time period for benzoylecgonine to be cleared from the urine is three to four days. One study suggests that high dose users (i.e., 0.5 gram or greater for each episode of use) can test positive after eight days. Another study claims that benzoylecgonine can be detected in heavy cocaine users for 10-14 days. The longest time over which positive urine levels of benzoylecgonine were detected was 10-22 days. This was after chronic use of extremely high doses of 112 grams per week. Since it is usually difficult to determine exactly how much cocaine is being abused by a caller, it seems that a broader range of potential detection times should be given when explaining metabolism in regard to urine testing. A quantitative lab test can give a number that will drop daily if you are in a situation where the test continues to show positive and the user denies recent use. Don't be fooled for too long!
- I have suspected my son either using pot or alcohol. Fabulous football player, quit! Doesn't want to get up in mornings but haven't noticed red eyes. He is very defensive if I say anything to him about pot. He is 16 so how do I go about getting him to give me a urine sample without him raising hell.
At this point it sounds like you already know deep down that he is using, so your goal is not to "catch him", your goal needs to be to stop him. Sit down and have a calm conversation about why drugs are bad (illegal, leads to other drugs, takes away drive, negatively affects mood, etc). Tell him that in about a month (that is enough time for him to "clean up"), you are going to start a regular drug, alcohol, and tobacco testing program. Show him the tests so that he can see that you aren't bluffing. Let him know that he isn't paying you enough to lay awake nights worrying, and testing is how you are going to alleviate your worry. Don't let him throw that "you don't trust me" stuff at you...recognize that for the ridiculous argument that it is. Tell him that passing regular drug tests is how he will earn his right to drive your car, get his cell phone and Internet paid, pay for his insurance...whatever he is already getting from you. Also, be sure reward negative tests- pay for that new pair of shoes that you would have bought anyway. That will demonstrate to him how much you appreciate him not succumbing to the peer pressure...it really is hard. Most of us have raised our kids to have more power over us than is probably a good idea, and in retrospect-probably not enough discipline. Now is the time to parent with a little firmer hand. Alcohol testing is just as important as the drug testing. Most kids are going to do some drinking, but make sure that your son knows that drinking and driving- or riding with someone who has been drinking is a "killing offense"! Even if nothing really bad happens, a DUI will cost you about $10,000.00. Testing is a good way of letting him know that he can't fool you.
- What if my child takes prescription or over-the-counter drugs?
Of course you must be aware of what your child is taking, and what type of drug it is. For example, ADHD medications are sometimes amphetamines, so you will show positive in that drug category. Anti-anxiety medications are benzodiazepines.
- My son takes adderall for ADHD. I now think he has started smoking pot. So will the test just turn a positive because of the adderall, or will I be able to specifically see the pot? Let me know how it works.
Each drug "family" is a separate strip with it's own individual results. The Adderal is an amphetamine, so the AMP strip of the test should show positive EVERY time. The Adderal will not affect any other strip on the screen...not the THC (marijuana) and not the MET (methamphetamine), none of the other strips. If the test is ever negative for AMP, then he has done something to dilute or switch the test. The fact that he is on Adderal will actually help with your testing program. If the Adderal is negative, he is either selling it instead of taking it- or he has tampered with his urine.
A kid with ADHD has a stronger than normal propensity to self medicate, and testing him frequently is a strong step to avoiding serious drug abuse. You can win this battle with strong, serious parenting and frequent testing, as most drugs are only detectable for about 3 days.
- My kid refused the test. What do I do?
Again, every situation is different. There are conscientious objectors who are great kids with good arguments for you to "trust them". If this child has never lied to you or given you any reason to doubt them, they may have a legitimate argument that the family should discuss.
What this question usually means is that the child is already so defiant that they refuse to provide you with a urine sample, or anything else that you request of them. In these cases, you need to seek help to learn how to parent a defiant teen before it is too late. A drug test won't help at this point, because you have no way to enforce consequences. You are very likely dealing with drug use and need dual professional help. Drug testing can be a helpful step in rebuilding trust as things begin to improve.
- Am I invading my daughters privacy?
Our tests are intended to aid you in your parenting, not to cause friction. Explain to your daughter that because you love her, you want to make sure she is safe. Testing at home gives kids an "out" from the peer pressure surrounding them today. She will thank you later, if you can keep her off drugs today.
- What if the test shows positive for any of the drugs?
Every situation is different. Hopefully, you have made this discovery in the early stages of drug use, or you may already have a serious problem on your hands. Get more information about drug use at www.theantidrug.com,www.drugfreeamerica.org., www.SAMHSA.org or drugabuse.gov. They are excellent, informative sites. Some situations are easily dealt with in the privacy of you home, other people may need to see the child's doctor for confirmation and help.
- How long after drinking can you detect alcohol with an alcohol tester?
The EtG with detect 40-80 hours. With the conventional test, it depends on how much the person had to drink, and how long ago they drank. Our bodies eliminate alcohol at the constant rate of about one drink an hour. (More precisely, our bodies lower our alcohol level by .015% BAC per hour.) If a person's intoxication level is about .02%, about one hour later their alcohol level would be zero. On the other hand, if a person had an alcohol level of .20%, twice the legal limit for drunk driving in most states, it would take over 13 hours for their alcohol level to reach zero after they stopped drinking. Once the alcohol level is zero, no alcohol test can detect the alcohol. There is a very helpful chart in the "parents info center" section of this website.
- How long after smoking can a nicotine test detect tobacco use?
It depends on how many cigarettes the individual smokes a day. Tobacco use might be detected for one to three days after stopping smoking for a person who smokes only one or two cigarettes a day. A heavy, chronic smoker may continue to show the presence of tobacco use for up to two weeks after stopping smoking.
- What if my daughter has six beers Saturday evening? Will I be to detect alcohol Sunday morning?
The EtG with detect 40-80 hours, but with the conventional test it depends on what time she stopped drinking, and how long it took to drink those six beers. If she drank them quickly at midnight, she could produce a maximum intoxication level of about .12% BAC. It would take about eight hours for her alcohol level to go back to zero. Her alcohol level would be down to zero by about 8:00 am.
If your daughter drank those six beers over the course of the evening, starting at 7:00 and ending at 12:00, her maximum intoxication would be about .05% BAC. Her alcohol level would be down to zero by about 4:00 am. Alcohol tests should be administered when you suspect intoxication. There is a very helpful chart in the "parents info center" section of this website.
- Will mouthwash interfere with the results of a breath alcohol test?
Yes. Proper test procedure requires that the subject have nothing in their mouth for 15 minutes prior to testing with the oral test. That means gum, breath mints, and food. If the subject has anything with alcohol in their mouth just prior to testing, the alcohol in their mouth will contaminate the test, giving an artificially high reading. However, 15 minutes is sufficient time for all mouth alcohol to be dissipated. The EtG test is a urine test, so it doesn't apply.
- Can my teenager "trick" the test?
Proper test procedure should eliminate the possibilities of a subject switching their urine specimen with another, or tampering with the specimen. Drinking large volumes of water will dilute the urine, thereby reducing the concentration of drugs in the urine. The detection of some drugs, such as amphetamines, is affected by the pH of the urine.
- Will exposure to passive marijuana smoke result in a positive marijuana test?
Perhaps the most common excuse for a positive marijuana test is, "I was around some people who were smoking pot." Research has shown, however, that casual exposure to marijuana smoke will not produce a positive test. A person really has to work at being exposed to "passive" smoke to create a positive test. Very close confinement, without ventilation, with several smokers, for a period of over an hour, may result in a low, but measurable amount of marijuana. This demonstrates that even though the person may not have directly inhaled the smoke from a marijuana cigarette, they inhaled enough second hand smoke to get high. In our opinion, if a person tests positive for marijuana, the issue of whether they smoked the marijuana directly, or whether from intense and prolonged exposure to second hand marijuana smoke is irrelevant.
- What about products that "clean" the urine for drug testing?
There are many of these products on the market today. Most are too expensive for teens, and must be taken soon before a drug screen is given. If your testing policy is random, they will not know when to expect a drug test at home. Therefore they will be unable to "prepare" for the test.
- Can you tell me, in general, how long after consumption can these tests test detect intake? I realize the amount of consumption, weight, food intake and physical exertion are all factors. Can you also tell me if any prescription or OTC medications can cause false positives.
A pretty good rule of thumb is just not to test when you suspect that the person is still high. For most substances, you should wait at least 6 hours before testing. In an effort to "keep it simple", we recommend that testing of teens be done on Sunday night or Monday morning. If you have a specific question about the half-life a a specific drug, I can probably be more help if you could tell me what you are looking for. As for interfering substances, I don't really know of any that that are proven...but I know of tons that appear to be urban legends. For example, meth is made with the over the counter drug Sudaphed, and it has long been reported that it will cause a positive result. I personally took Sudaphed as prescribed on the package for a full week, then testing myself- no positive. Poppy seed bagels...no positive. You can see how the manufacturer would have trouble testing against every possible substance. Confirmation testing is important when you have any question of the result. Fortunately, most kids become more truthful before it gets to the point where you have to shell out more cash!
Be very aware of the drug family of prescribed medications, such as Ritalin (an amphetamine), that will show up on the test. If you child takes many medications, simple home screening is probably not be the best route. It may be a good idea to do side by side (lab & home) comparisons for the first test, just to be on the safe side.
- My childs test was negative, but I still have a bad feeling. What should I do?
Trust your instincts as a parent, and test again in a few weeks, or immediately consult your physician. Our tests do not detect every possible drug that teens use. Parental "radar" is often very accurate.
- Are these tests really accurate? Am I going to get a more accurate test going to a lab? Do labs use the same methods? Do labs use the same levels for determining positive and negative? So if test is passed, should a professional lab test show the same result?
Our tests are very accurate. If you are trying to find out if your kids indulged in any of the more common street drugs this weekend, you are 99.6% likely to get an accurate result. If the home test says negative, that is a very reliable result. Many parents prefer the privacy and convenience of home testing, but if you doubt the results, always follow your own good parental instincts. A more expensive, laboratory performed test will be more sensitive in some cases. Most positive tests should be followed up with confirmation testing at the doctor, especially if you haven't gotten the real truth out of the kid as to exactly what drug and how much that you are dealing with.
A negative test could mean that the kid is doing drugs that aren't on the test. He could be using Coricidin, for instance, the OTC cold medicine that is very popular with kids right now. Or they could be huffing. Or doing acid. Most tests at the doctor aren't going to pick these up either. We have found that many kids that are doing drugs recreationally will pretty much take what they are given- and something will show up on a test. What I mean is, if they took LSD, they likely smoked some pot too.
The home tests are used all over, and cleared by the FDA. They are a great screening tool for parents to begin to get to the whole truth. They help also to start a dialog about drugs, as well as an opening to lay down rules about drugs
The scientific "validity" of a test system is determined by numerous chemical (e.g., sensitivity, specificity) and pharmacological factors (e.g., dose, frequency of use, how recently a drug was used). The usefulness of a drug test resides in its ability to accurately detect the presence of the parent drug and/or its metabolite(s) in a biological fluid or tissue following human drug use. Many factors can influence the "validity" of these test systems. The accuracy of drug testing reflects both chemical factors which influence test outcome, such as sensitivity or test cutoff (the least amount of detectable drug) and specificity (how selective the test is for the drug) as well as pharmacological considerations such as drug dose, time of drug use and route of drug administration. Individual differences in rate of absorption, metabolism and excretion are additional pharmacological variables that can influence the test outcome. At the present time, there are a plethora of commercial assays and published methodologies that may be employed for drug testing. For the most part, these methods can be grouped into two categories, screening assays (tests) and confirmation assays. These assays can be adapted for measurement of drugs in body fluids, but they must first be properly validated. Generally, screening assays, such as immunoassays, are commercial-based tests that are inexpensive and simple to perform (this is what we offer). In contrast, confirmation assays, such as gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), which is what was most likely done at the doctor's office, are more expensive and more labor intensive, but the sensitivity and specificity are sometimes higher than the screening assays.
Immunoassay screening tests may cross-react with a variety of similar chemical substances, reducing their specificity. For example, most commercial immunoassays for opiates give positive test results for specimens containing either morphine, codeine or heroin metabolites. In this case, a more specific methodology, i.e. a confirmation assay, is needed to identify the particular drug or metabolite present. Often, the less expensive screening tests are employed initially to eliminate specimens containing no drug or drug below the cutoff concentration. The more expensive, labor intensive tests are subsequently employed for absolute drug identification and accurate quantification.
When a drug is taken intravenously or smoked, the absorption of the drug into the body is nearly instantaneous and its excretion in urine begins almost immediately. Drug absorption into the body is slower when the drug is taken orally and its excretion in urine may be delayed for several hours. Normally, urine specimens voided within six hours after taking a drug contain the highest concentration of the drug and its metabolites. In general, drug excretion in urine occurs at an exponential rate with most of the drug being eliminated within 48 hours after administration. Detection times for drugs of abuse vary according to dose, frequency of taking the drug, cutoff concentration and numerous other factors. Despite this variability, average detection time for most drugs in urine range from one to five days when the user is taking low doses or is an occasional user. When the individual is a heavy, chronic drug user, the detection times for some drugs, e.g. marijuana, may be up to a month.
The shorter answer is that screening tests are usually a good place to start, but depending on your particular situation, you still have to use your own judgment.
Drug testing, like most things, you get more based on what you pay. Our instant tests are quickie tests with a yes or no answer to each drug family. The test at the doctor will tell you what kind of opiate for instance, rather than just opiates. The "cut offs" are usually similar- meaning that about the same amount of a particular drug would have to be ingested in order for it to show up on the test. Hair testing (the most expensive route), will detect drugs for a much longer time, sometimes weeks or months rather than days...but before you spend the money, decide what you will do about months ago drug use.
- Do these tests expire?
The shelf life of the drug tests is about 18 months, and the alcohol tests are good for about one year. Each test has a expiration date stamp on the package.
- Does the cotinine test only detect cigarette smoking?
No. The test will also detect nicotine patches, cigar smoking, pipe smoking, and chewing tobacco.
- Can you explain the different "opiates"
Actual opiates are often confused with the synthetic opiates. If opiates are a problem, we strongly recommend the 12 panel test, plus the Fentanyl test. There is a specific test for the detection of Oxycodone (Percodan, Percocet, Roxicodone,and Oxycontin. Oxycodone is often detected as an opiate, but this very specific test has a much higher sensitivity detection level than that of the standard Opiate drug test (included on the six panel test). Consequently, a positive test result will not only confirm Oxycodone but other opiates as well. The Oxycodone test is not just Oxycodone specific, but opiate specific. It is able to detect Oxycodone/opiate use at the higher sensitivity level required while the 2000 ng/ml sensitivity level of the standard opiate test would not always detect Oxycodone. Fentanyl requires a separate test.