Many of us aren’t aware that the prescriptions we take can give a positive drug test result similar to those that we get after using illegal drugs. While prescription drugs are a legal, tested means of treating a range of health conditions, the downside is that they also have similar symptoms, chemical compositions, and additives as other drugs that are widely and illegally abused. In order to evade having a false positive, many drug testing sites will often ask you to report any prescription medications you may be using. Once they have this information, they can use it to help interpret your results and avoid the negative associations with having a positive result for substances such as opiates.
Opiates are some of the most commonly prescribed medications largely because of the painkilling qualities they provide; however, there are many other opiates that are illegally abused. Unfortunately, a drug test can give you a positive result with legal as well as illegal opiate drugs primarily because they are derived from the same source and they share trace chemicals. Very often, many pain medications are abused illegally or a person who was prescribed the medication may continue using it even after the injury that initiated their use has healed. When you’ve been prescribed these medications and a positive drug test occurs, you may have your use questioned for this reason.
Drugs such as OxyCodone, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Fentanyl, Tylenol #3, Norco, Vicodin, Endocet, Percocet, Percodan, Codeine Sulfate, Acetaminophen with Propoxyphene, Fentanyl (aka Actiq), MS Contin, Oramorph SR, OxyContin, and Morphine are all classified as opiate painkillers. Medications such as Fiorinal, Fioricet and Butalbital that are used to treat severe headaches also fall under this heading. A positive result can also come with cough medicines that contain codeine such as Actifed C, Robitussin A-C and Robitussin DAC. If you are taking any sort of prescription cough medicine, it is best to report it before drug testing and consider asking your doctor if and how it will affect your drug test.
When opiates are prescribed and used appropriately, they are an effective way to treat short-term severe pain in those who’ve had surgery or an injury. However, these drugs are also highly addictive for those who use them and even the most careful and unassuming patient can become addicted to them under conducive conditions. Many doctors who know this about the drug will, as a result, keep their use to a short span of about 1-2 weeks to prevent the addictive qualities from gaining a hold on the patient; any span longer than 1-2 weeks would, of course, be risking an addiction problem. Even if you use these drugs according to the prescription, you may face some questions about your usage to verify that addiction isn’t a factor in your case. Be clear about your use including doses and the length of time you’ve been using the drug in question. It may also be helpful to bring along any documentation you have, on why you are taking these drugs, the length of time you’ve been taking them and any information you’ve been given about their use.