What You Need To Know About Urine Drug Tests

By  //  February 25, 2022

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A urine drug test can detect the presence of drugs in one’s system. Urine tests are one of the most popular means of drug testing. The tests are painless, effective, easy, and fast. The good thing is that these tests are effective for both prescription and illegal drugs. To undergo the tests, you must avail the urine.

The urine tests are also applicable to both prescription and illegal. In this article, we are going to look at what you need to learn about urine tests, the types of drugs covered as well as how long the drugs can remain traceable in the urine. We will also look at the tests, results, and how to prepare for the tests.   

The roles of urine drug tests

Urine drug tests play an important role in people’s lives. Below, we will look at how they affect different groups.

 Doctors. A doctor can order a urine test when he suspects that a person has been misusing either illegal drugs or prescription medication. For example, there are people who misuse opioids that doctors had recommended for them to treat some illnesses. Also, medical personnel may request a urine drug test if they suspect that someone is behaving badly as a result of drug abuse.  

■ Rehabilitation programs. Drugs and alcohol rehabilitation programs may require one to take urine drug tests to check whether one is out of drugs or not. The same drugs will also be required at the prison to check whether prisoners who are on drugs are remaining sober.

■ Sporting events. Many sporting events require participants to take urine drug tests to check whether they have been abusing drugs or not.

■ Employers. There are some employers who require employees to take routine urine drug tests. Such processes are very important, especially for workplaces that require high standards of safety. For example, taking urine tests is important in situations where you have to operate plants and machinery.

The drugs detected during a drug test

A urine drug test can detect a number of drugs and substances. This includes methamphetamine, amphetamines, phencyclidine (PCP), alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, cocaine, marijuana, and opioids. 

Urine tests can prove alcohol content in the body. However, if you just want to know that a person has taken alcohol, simply use a breath test. The urine test will be important in instances where you want to know the amount of alcohol the suspect consumed. Also, a urine test can detect both nicotine and cotinine. Cotinine is the substance that is produced when the body breaks down the consumed nicotine.

Procedures followed and the types of urine test

A trained doctor normally carries out the urine drug test.  Normally, there are two types of urine drug tests. Both of these tests require a urine sample. The first type of urine test available is the immunoassay (IA) test. This test is the most popular as it is simple, affordable, and fast.

Unfortunately, this type of urine test has produced many false positives meaning that it can produce results that a person has consumed a drug when they have actually not done it.  

The second type of urine test that is usually used to confirm the results of the above test is the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) test. GC-MS is considered as more accurate than the IA test and can cover a wider range of drugs. Many people only use the GC-MS for confirmation purposes as the results not only take longer to receive but also, it costs more to have the test done.   

How to prepare for urine tests

There is no preparation for a urine test. Usually, the person undergoing the test has to just urinate in a plastic container. However, it’s important to let your test provider know about the types of prescription drugs that you are taking so that they can feature that into their tests.

Also, it is important to note that the use of certain prescription medications can cause false positives to indicate illegal drug usage. That is why it is important to tell the test provider about the medications you are using such as over-the-counter medicines, supplements, prescription medicines, vitamins and supplements. With this, the test provider will be able to make a correct diagnosis over your sample. 

The technician will provide you with a plastic container for collecting urine. From there, he will test the temperature of the urine sample to ensure that it is of the right temperature for testing. After this, the technician will seal the sample in a plastic bag.  At this point, both the donor and the technician should check the sample to ensure that no one has tampered with it.  There are situations where the technician will accompany the person to ensure that they are providing the sample in the correct manner. This is especially in situations where the donor may be tempted to give the wrong sample.

Interpreting the results 

Urine drug tests normally have results within 5 days. However, there are tests that come back within a day. A negative result will come back faster while a positive result will take longer for confirmation purposes. When a test has returned a positive result, the person will have to take other tests for confirmation. The confirmation test is usually a GC-MS test that has more accurate results. Fortunately, the testing officer will explain the results to you.


A urine test can effectively test for the presence of both illegal and prescription drugs in the body. Urine tests may be required by the doctor, sports officials, and employers for several reasons. The screens can check for different types of drugs in the body including nicotine, marijuana, methadone, barbiturates, and heroin.

However, it is important to note that there are drugs that will remain in the body longer and others and so, their traceability will depend on how long the test is being done after the exposure. Also, there are few ways that people use to cheat the test using body detox or quality fake urine products that are available in market. 

Also, when you test positive for the first time, a second test will need to be done to confirm the status.