How to Read a Urine Drug Test Result

A urine test can be carried out at home, during pre-employment screening, or in a rehabilitation center to rule out the presence of certain drugs in the body. The authorities may also carry out the test when they suspect drug abuse in an individual. It’s essential to follow the test instruction before starting the procedure.

Unlike other tests such as a pregnancy test, a second colored line on the test kit indicates that the results are negative. There should always be a control line on the control region that signifies the test kit is working correctly. The control line is usually at the top of the testing region.

What is the Procedure

First, ensure that you have the right test kit or screening cup. This may depend on the type and number of drugs to be tested. The procedure is simple. First, collect the specimen, wait for about 5 minutes, and then interpret the results. Knowing how to interpret the results is paramount. Before starting, make sure that you locate the control and test regions. For multiple drug testing, the sections will be numbered accordingly for easer detection.

How to Read the Results

For every test, the control line must appear whether the results are positive or negative. After that, a line may or may not appear. The color intensity on the lines is not a consideration when reading the results. This means that a faint line is still considered a negative outcome.

Additionally, a faint line is also not an indication of smaller amounts of drugs in the sample. The urine sample results only indicate whether there were drugs in the specimen. For further information, you may have to carry out more precisive tests.

What Does a Positive Result Mean?

When there is no line on the strip apart from the control line, the drug test results are positive. When positive, it means that the particular drug being tested is higher in the body than the recommended cut-off. The cut-off varies from one drug to another.

SAMHSA sets the cut-offs, also known as detection levels for each drug. This prevents a positive result for the presence of minute amounts of drugs in the donor’s system. A positive outcome should not be conclusive unless accompanied by other tests such as the gas chromatography or the high-performance liquid chromatography tests.

It’s also important to check whether the donor may be under medication that may affect the test results. Before the test, the donor should inform the test provider with information about any drugs they may be taking, such as doctors’ prescriptions, over the counter medications, supplements, and herbal remedies.

When the Test is Negative

A second line on the test strip indicates that the results for the drug being tested are negative. Testing negative does not automatically rule out the presence of the particular drug in the system. It may mean that its concentration in the urine is less than the test cut off. For instance, the donor urine may have 20ng/ml of marijuana, but the cut-off may be 50ng/ml.

Although the results may turn out negative, it doesn’t automatically rule out the use of marijuana. Additionally, negative results do not rule out addiction or substance abuse.

Is A Urine Test Final

It’s important to note that the results may not be conclusive, and further tests may be required, especially when there is a positive indication. Also, the time of drug use may determine the results. Some drugs may be detected up to one week after consumption, while others may stay in the system for more extended periods when used heavily.

How Do You Ensure the Results are Not Tampered With?

Following due procedure ensures that the specimen is not contaminated by dirt or interfered with. Some test kits have a temperature strip that detects any abnormalities in the sample. The temperature range for the urine sample should be between 32-38°C. Anything below or above this may indicate urine contamination, and, in most cases, water has been added.

Even when the results are positive, you may not conclusively know whether the person has been abusing drugs or not. The standard test kit is not recommended when testing for drug abuse and addiction, but one with a lower cut-off. The test results may also be influenced by the donor’s hydration, overall health, and the collection time after drug use.

More to this, you may not conclusively know when the drugs were used or how they got into the donor’s system or their quantity. The urine test cannot rule out addiction or substance abuse.

Invalid Results

When there is no line in the control region, it means that the test is invalid. This may happen when the specimen was not enough, or the wrong procedure was used. It can also occur when the test kit is faulty.