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False positives shown to occur in marijuana testing

On Behalf of | Oct 15, 2015 | Firm News

As many Texas residents know, drug testing is used routinely for a variety of reasons, including pre-employment screening or situations where an adult’s ability to care for another may be affected by drug use. One problem is the number of false positives for marijuana that occur, causing harm to an individual who is not involved with drugs.

Drug testing has been linked to picking employees who are less likely to quit work or be less productive. Drug testing is used to make sure someone injured on the job was not inebriated or using illicit drugs when the accident happened. In cases where child custody is questioned due to a parent’s history of drug use, testing negative on a drug test helps assure the child’s safety. A major diagnostic laboratory routinely performs drug tests in this country. In 2014, testing included over 800,000 saliva tests, 6.6 million tests using urine and more than 210,000 drug tests on hair. In addition, 2.5 million or more federally required tests were performed. Of these, more than 200,000 resulted in false positives. That figure did not include drug tests given in child custody situations, however.

While hair and saliva tests are done, the most common test is for drugs in the urine. False positives might cause damage in terms of child custody or visitation or interfere with gainful employment. While metabolites might linger in the blood after using marijuana, exposure to smoke or sweat from someone who used cannabis might make a non-drug user test positive, according to German researchers who have recently looked at this matter.

A person who has been denied his or her parental rights due to a positive drug test may want to speak with a family law attorney. Legal counsel may be able to challenge the manner in which the test is conducted while asserting that taking away custody or visitation rights would not be in the best interests of the child.