What Happens If You Fail a Drug Test

what happens if you fail a drug test

Drug testing is a routine practice these days. Employers, schools, and courts often require a drug test as a requisite for an employment, participating in school athletics, and continued probation. So, what happens if you fail a drug test?

Failing a drug test can have serious repercussions. Some may attempt to outsmart the drug testing protocol, but with random testing more common now, that strategy doesn’t work. Keep reading to learn about drug testing and what happens if you fail a drug test.

failing a drug test

Types of Drug Testing

There are various methods an employer or other entity might test a person for drug use.

Urine 5-panel tests are the most common, although each type of test has its own value and is used accordingly. For example, a urine test will reveal drug use in the last couple of days. Hair screening, though, can reveal a history of drug use going back years.

Here are the most common types of drug tests:

  • Urine testing. Urine tests are by far the most common form of drug screening tests. A urine test can detect drugs in the system from a few days to weeks. How long prior to the urine test depends on the frequency of drug use and the type of drug.
  • Saliva testing. A saliva, or mouth swab, test is used to detect very recent drug use. These tests are only able to pick up the substance within a few hours of drug use.
  • Blood testing. Blood tests for drug testing involve a more invasive process, as it requires drawing blood. The blood test is called the enzyme-multiplied immunoassay test and is able to pick up a range of substances.
  • Hair testing. Where urinalysis detects drug use for only the previous few days or weeks, hair screening can detect a wide range of drugs used over a 3-month period. Hair screenings are more sensitive than other methods, so they can reveal a person’s historical drug use.

4 Reasons for Drug Testing

There are many reasons why employers or government or academic entities might use drug testing. These tests are used to detect illicit drugs in the person’s system, which is a screening tool for employment and various other reasons.

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Here are some of the reasons an entity might have a drug testing policy in place:

  1. Employment. People applying for jobs are very often required to submit to a drug test. Employers seek to eliminate drug users from their payrolls for several reasons. Mostly drug screening is done to protect other employees from being exposed to a person who might be on illicit drugs.
  2. Athletics. Professional athletes of all ages, as well as high school athletes, are often required to accept random drug testing.  Being drug-free is not an option but a requirement to playing sports.
  3. Legal. The person may be on probation with random drug testing required as a condition to remain free of custody. When someone on probation tests positive they are returned to jail or to a treatment program.
  4. Sober living. The purpose of sober living housing it to maintain a substance-free environment. Therefore, sober living homes require regular drug testing of the residents.

What Happens if You Fail a Drug Test?

Substances can remain in your system for hours to weeks, depending on the substance and level of consumption.

Alcohol clears the fastest, usually within 6-24 hours. Other drugs, like heroin, cocaine, and opiates can stay present for up to seven days, and marijuana for up to thirty. Marijuana might be legal in some states, but if the employer has a no-marijuana policy it can still trigger termination.

So, what happens if you fail a drug test? There are many adverse repercussions for someone who fails a drug-screening test. These include:

  • Be denied a job position. It can cost you a job opportunity. Employers today are highly aware of the overall cost to their business if they offer a job to someone on drugs.
  • Be terminated from your job. If you are employed and test positive during a random drug-testing program, you are likely to lose your job. Employers have that right based on the agreement signed by the employee, but most will give them another chance.
  • Be kicked off a sports team. When athletes are found with drugs or steroids in their system they are usually suspended for a certain time period. Some may be referred to a treatment program. High school athletes may be kicked off a team due to drug-related offense or failed drug test.
  • Be kicked out of sober living. When people choose sober living they expect the home to be free of substances. This is why the condition of living there is supported by random drug tests. Those who test positive will be asked to move out.
  • Be sent back to jail. Drug testing in probation is a common court-ordered procedure. County and federal drug courts across the country make positive drug tests a condition for continued probation.
  • Loss of benefits. Some states have firm policies in place to deny benefits to those who fail their drug test. This can include unemployment, disability, or worker’s comp benefits. These policies vary by state.
  • Be suspended from school. Public high schools may have a random drug testing program. If a student fails a test he or she receives a suspension. Sometimes the student will be required to perform community service or receive drug counseling.

If You Fail the Drug Test, What Treatment Options Are There?

Those who have failed drug tests, especially multiple tests, will benefit from treatment for drug abuse or addiction. There are rehab programs that provide a wide range of services to help get you back on track. These include:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • 12-Step program
  • Education
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Holistic methods

You may have been ordered to do drug screening and now wonder what happens if you fail a drug test. If you are wondering that, you may need to consider getting help for a substance problem.

Journey Hillside Provides Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

Journey Hillside is a residential treatment center that can help you overcome a drug or alcohol problem. Give us a call today at (877) 414-1024.