Often one of the last steps before beginning at a new job is taking a drug test. Usually one must give either a urine or blood sample that is clear of a variety of both legal and illegal drugs prior to being unconditionally hired. There is little to do to prepare to take the test, unless one happens to be using a substance not considered legal, or that might show up and cause questions to be raised about your potential value as an employee.
Some companies claim to have detoxifying medications that will allow one to pass a drug test if one is using drugs illegally. While some of these may work, one might consider instead enrolling in a substance abuse program prior to taking a test. Some illegal drugs will result in a positive test several months after last being used. If one is no longer using these drugs, participation in a substance abuse program should be discussed with a potential employer prior to taking the test, after an offer of employment has been tendered.
Often an employer will have no problem hiring an employee with a former substance abuse issue, if the employee agrees to take another drug test several months after hire. Being forthcoming about a past issue with drugs will also prepare the employer for positive results on the test. Agreeing to regular testing in the future is often motivation to stay clean and maintain a new drug free lifestyle.
Others worry about the presence of legally prescribed medications that may yield positive results. If you are taking a controlled substance for pain management or for anxiety, it is important to bring these medications and a doctor’s note with one to the test. This is one of the reasons some fear the test, because it may mean disclosing facts about one’s physical and mental health, which can be cause for illegal discrimination.
Details about one’s health should probably not be disclosed until an offer of employment has been made and the only contingency is successful passage of a drug test. At this point, most employers cannot retract an offer based on a health condition that will not impair a person’s ability to perform the required job.
However, stigmatization of certain illnesses exists. Those suffering from psychiatric conditions often feel that disclosure of these conditions may lose them potential jobs. Disclosing these conditions to the drug test employee can help eliminate this discrimination.
Some suffering from certain painful illnesses may use marijuana or cannabis products to assist with pain. Naturally these will show up on a drug test. Since in many states, marijuana can now be prescribed, a doctor’s note may be enough to put employers at rest. Also be prepared for testing the same day employment is offered. Many employers now use this method so people cannot attempt to change the results by waiting a few days.
For those who do not use illegal or prescribed substances, one should prepare for a drug test by not drinking alcohol the night before. Excess alcohol can show up in both urine and blood a day after use. One cannot pass such a test when high alcohol levels remain in the blood.
Additional preparation would include adhering closely to any test instructions, including whether or not to fast. Usually drug tests can be taken at any time, and the employer almost always pays for such testing, so no money is expected from you. Be prepared to have someone watch you urinate for the test. If the test is in the morning, do not urinate prior to leaving the house, as you may not provide an adequate urine sample otherwise. If you cannot wait, drink a glass of water prior to leaving the house, as this will give one time to make more urine for the test.