How Often Do People Fail Drug Tests?

Drug tests are commonly used in various settings–employment, sports, and the criminal justice system–to determine if a person has used illegal or unauthorized substances. Despite their widespread use, drug tests are not always accurate, and some people do fail them for various reasons.

It’s important for everyone involved in the drug testing process to understand the various factors that go into conducting drug tests and interpreting the results. Additionally, it’s essential for individuals to be aware of both the potential consequences of drug use and to understand the limitations of drug tests.

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At Fleet Drug Testing, we understand the drug testing process can be extremely important. No matter what industry or purpose, a drug test can be key to remaining compliant with regulations or simply monitoring safety. This is especially true if your job or legal rights are at stake. Thus, it’s important to understand how the process works and how your results are obtained and interpreted.

With our expert knowledge, we have established ourselves as a trusted and reliable source of drug testing services. We offer a wide range of drug testing services, including pre-employment screening, random drug testing, and post-accident testing. With its commitment to accuracy, quick turnaround time, flexibility, and exceptional customer service, we’re well-positioned to meet the needs of clients in various industries. If you’re in need of reliable and accurate drug testing services, contact us today for a free consultation.

How Often Do People Fail Drug Tests?

Drug testing is an important part of maintaining a safe and healthy environment, whether that be at work or in everyday life. Any entity that requires drug testing should be aware of the current levels of drug use among those that are being tested.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), approximately 10.5 million people in the United States failed a drug test in 2020. This statistic is a testament to the prevalence of drug use among adults.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides estimates of the percentage of individuals who fail drug tests on an annual basis. According to their report, the overall drug test failure rate was:

  • 6% in 2020
  • 9% in 2019

Data from the same survey found that:

  • 9% of the American workforce tested positive for drug use in 2021.

This figure represents an increase from the previous year when the rate was 8.7%.

The highest rate of positive drug tests was observed among workers in the construction industry, with 12.1% testing positive. This was followed by workers in the accommodation and food services industry, where the positive rate was 11.5%.

Why Do People Fail Drug Tests?

Drug test failure rates also vary based on the type of drug being tested for. According to SAMHSA, the most common drugs detected in positive drug tests were:

  • Marijuana (52%)
  • Amphetamines (including methamphetamine) (14%)
  • Cocaine (9%)
  • Opioids (5%)

In addition to the above-mentioned factors, there are several other reasons why people may fail drug tests, including the use of:

  • Over-the-counter (OTC) medications
  • Second-hand exposure to drugs
  • Laboratory errors

It’s also important to understand how the drug testing process works and how it relates to failure results. Basically, the type of drug test can have a serious impact on the rate of positive results. Here are the most common types of drug tests:

  • Urine testing – This is the most common method of drug testing and is used to detect the presence of drugs in a person’s urine. The urine sample is collected in a clean and controlled environment, and the results are usually available within a few days.
  • Blood testing – This method is used to detect the presence of drugs in a person’s blood. Blood tests are more invasive than urine tests and are usually used in emergency or medical situations.
  • Saliva testing – This method involves collecting a sample of saliva from the person being tested. Saliva tests are less invasive than urine or blood tests, but they are typically only used to detect the presence of drugs used in the past few days.
  • Hair testing – This method involves collecting a sample of hair from the person being tested. Hair tests can detect drug use over a longer period of time, often up to 90 days, but they are less commonly used than urine or saliva tests.

Regardless of the method used, a positive drug test result typically requires confirmation with a more specific and sensitive test, like a gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) test. This helps to ensure the accuracy of the results and minimize the risk of false positive results.

What Are the Consequences of a Failed Drug Test?

Obviously, failing a drug test can have serious consequences. While they can vary based on the context, most often failing a drug test results in the following:

  • Employment change in the workplace
  • Legal consequences
  • Loss of custody or visitation rights
  • Loss of eligibility for public benefits
  • Damage to reputation

Because drug tests carry such heavy consequences, it’s incredibly important that both the drug tester and the person being drug tested understand the accuracy of the results. Still, the accuracy of drug tests is heavily dependent on the type of test and what exactly is being tested for. Thus, having solid procedures in place and the ability to confirm positive results can make all the difference in the process.

Fleet Drug Testing Has You Covered

No matter what the reasoning is for drug testing, Fleet Drug Testing has the commitment to accuracy, quick turnaround time, flexibility, and exceptional customer service that can make the process much simpler. When you need fast, accurate drug test results, Fleet Drug Testing has you covered. If you are in the market for a full-service drug testing company, contact us today for a free consultation.