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Pre-Employment Drug Test and Prescription Drug Meds

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:31 AM in Pain Medications
I am about to accept a job offer where I know there will be a Pre-Employment Drug Test. I have been taking the following for at a couple of years:

Opana 40MG x 2 Day

Percocet 10/325 x 5 Day

Soma 350 x 2 Day

Valum - Just Started, PM Said better than Soma

Ambien CR 12.5mg a day

At my choice, I have been in the process of weaning down Opana, but for the sake of this discussion, I put my normal doseage.

So, it's either quit cold turkey to prepare for the drug test, or risk failing due to my prescribed pain meds.

FWIW, I take all meds as prescribed.....


  • I was going to post in your other thread;
    'POSSIBLE TO TAPER IN ONE WEEK' ,but I can't find it now--weird.lol.

    If you quit all of these meds cold turkey in order to pass a screening you are going to suffer some major withdrawl symtoms.Also,it takes days to get out of your system when you have been taking them regularly.So,if your screen is in 7 days,you might have to stop in say,2 or 3 days.

    I don't understand,prescribed medications are not illegal.It's not failing if you have a prescription.Are you accepting a job as an air traffic controller,bus driver,or other job where prescription medication is a no-no?
  • Robin said:
    I was going to post in your other thread;
    'POSSIBLE TO TAPER IN ONE WEEK' ,but I can't find it now--weird.lol.

    If you quit all of these meds cold turkey in order to pass a screening you are going to suffer some major withdrawl symtoms.Also,it takes days to get out of your system when you have been taking them regularly.So,if your screen is in 7 days,you might have to stop in say,2 or 3 days.

    I don't understand,prescribed medications are not illegal.It's not failing if you have a prescription.Are you accepting a job as an air traffic controller,bus driver,or other job where prescription medication is a no-no?
    I don't know what happened to my other post either. See that's what I don't know for sure. I would think that as long as I have a valid prescription, then I can't fail the drug test because I have a prescription.

    But, I've read so much on the web regarding this, it is just not clear. So do I be safe and quit cold turkey so it's a non issue, I mean I guess I can go through hell going through withdrawls just to pass. I cant afford to wait and see.

    Does anyone have personal experience with this. FWIW, I am in a professional job, customer service, no machinery, driving, or anything like that. Walking a lot as well as desk work.

  • I have been working in Human Resources for several years for a large Fortune 500 company.

    Part of my job entails running background checks and drug screenings for prospective new hires.

    As long as you list every prescription drug you are taking and have a valid script for each... you will pass your drug test. Be sure to put down any OTC drugs you may take, as well. (Allergy meds, antactids, etc.)

    Adjudication guidelines do vary with each company, according to the company policies. What most employers check for are simply illicit drug use and those do show up on the screenings.


  • You take quite a bit of medication, I don't think quitting cold turkey is smart at all. Talk to your doctor if this is really something you will do. I would list all medications and bring a note from the prescribing doctor to your drug test. I don't believe you can be fired/denied hiring because of a disclosed medical conditon and medication needed to function. Most companies contract out the drug test service so they wont disclose what you take, just if you passed the test or not. If this is the case disclosing all meds and a note should suffice. If not and the company self administers the test they could red flag your application due to "suspicious reasons" and not hire you because of medical reasons but use a legal reason if you know what I mean. My old company used a hair test for drug testing. They took a good chunk out of the back of your head and if you think shaving your head is smart think again, they will get hair from somewhere unless you shave everything. Good Luck to you
  • A CHunk of hair? Geeze......They don't mess around huh?

    Well,they would have n/p with me.My hair has been falling out in chunks lately.Crime scene techs would just love me too.

    I told Michael that I worry that when the family sees me coming they get all bummed because they know they will have to be vacuuming for the next several days.

    I bet they ran one of those home drug screens on me-lol.I don't talk about my pain--well not seriously,around family-they don't know that I'm a CP patient and on meds.Even my kids don't know~~unless they gathered & tested my hairs....

    nothing is sacred anymore ☺
  • The hair does LONG term testing, I do mean LONG! It will show medication in the system from the time it grew from the hair follicle!

    I took a part time job with a retail chain that did drug testing. As long as you have a valid script the screening company should not red flag you.

    That is not to say they won't who really knows? I'd take a list off all meds currently taken, script information, doctors etc and hope for the best.

    I was on several meds when I had to be tested. I turned in all information and was hired with no mention of the drug screen.

  • I am laughing at your comment, Robin. :))(

    I have been losing chunks of hair, too!

    When I brush my hair after the shower, it's just a mess! I'm constantly having all of these extra long strands dangling off the hair brush and all over my shoulders. I just wear my towel, until I'm finished with my hair. Otherwise, I have to take out the sticky roller out and roll it all over my clothing items to get my hair off! My hands are even covered with long strands of hair, too! It's a mess... lol. I'm going to call my stylist this week and see what she recommends. Maybe it's a vitamin I might be low on. Until then... I've been wearing pony tails and head bands.

    I've only had one hair analysis done as a condition of employment and also had to take two polygraph tests for that position! (It was a government position, so that is why). They did a nice job on snipping my hair. They did it in the back of my head, underneath my hair. You couldn't see where they cut it, when my hair was styled. So, I was happy. :)

    Most companies now just do the urine sample testing. Many employed people are on prescribed medications for various ailments. As long as a person names all of their prescribed medications they are taking on the form they have to fill out... they generally pass the test. If they check "no" to any illegal drug use and it comes up positive... they generally won't be hired. There are times a "red flag" may be noted on a prospective new hire, if the person is taking medication that might impair judgement while working on an HVAC unit on a high rise building. That's a safety issue. They can revise job descriptions to fit the needs of a new candidate, if they truly want that person on board.

    I could ramble on more... but me eyes are getting tired.

    Sleep well everyone...

    >:D< Tammy

  • BionicWomanBBionicWoman Posts: 619
    edited 06/20/2016 - 9:23 AM
    Direct from the Department of Labor, Drug Free Workplace FAQ -
    I take a prescription medication that may affect a drug test. Can I lose my job for taking it? Does my employer have a right to know what medication I am taking?

    Because some prescription medications can affect an employee's ability to work safely, employers may have a legitimate interest in addressing them in their drug-free workplace policy. However, employers cannot discriminate in their hiring and firing practices based on an individual’s use of prescription medication for legitimate medical purposes. Such discrimination could be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    The ADA also prohibits an employer from asking disability-related questions unless they are job related and consistent with business necessity. Therefore, employers should not have a blanket policy requiring all employees to disclose prescription drug use. For more information about this issue, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which administers the employment provisions of the ADA.

    Use of some prescription medications may result in a positive drug test. In this event, a Medical Review Officer (MRO) or other appropriate company personnel may inquire to determine if the employee has a legitimate medical explanation, such as a physician's prescription, for the result.

    A drug test result may be considered personal health information. Thus, there may be restrictions on how and whether such information can be shared. This is why employees who take a drug test usually must sign a release in order for their employer to receive the results. For more information about this issue, contact the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This agency administers the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which dictates under what circumstances and to whom health information may be released. More information can be found on Office of Civil Rights HIPAA Web page.
  • I'm very familiar with the ADA,and I've been an advocate for the disabled since 1992,but believe me when I say that just because the laws are written,just because rights are in place,does not mean that these same rules are followed as required by law.

    The reality is that employers DO discriminate and on a daily basis.They simply don't say that they aren't hiring/firing you for the reasons they are discriminating against.

    So,while it may be true that employers should not have a blanket policy requiring all employees to disclose prescription drug use;if a drug screen is given it will be failed without this knowledge,putting one in a catch 22 position.

    Incidentally,not everyone taking medication is considered disabled,and not protected under the ADA.This could have the potential to get into a hair splitting or word bee,when my point is only that there are more loopholes in real life than there are in policies,and employers can and do lie about why they hire and fire a person.

  • You are absolutely right, Robin!


  • As long as you have a valid script most places can't flunk you for it. Of course there are probably exceptions, which is horrible.

    the war on drugs is the biggest failure in this country, and the paranoia that comes along with it hurts so many people. You may take pain meds to be able to work, but they won't hire you. So they'd rather you be in horrible pain and unable to work, and clean.

    It makes no sense.
  • Robin, I am not so naive that I believe that employers don't find a way to rid themselves of employees they no longer wish to have by documenting non-reasons.

    I took time to post that link and information because the original poster is woefully uneducated about the laws and regulations that govern this particular area. Understanding the actual policies and procedures employers are meant to follow is the first step to effectively advocating for ourselves and protecting our rights.

    If you don't know the rules, you'll always lose the game. Even preschool children playing Candyland know that. ;)

  • Paul has it right: ask. Three issues you have to consider. First, you are being up front with your prospective employer. If everyone is on the same page then all will be good. Second, if you are not able to take prescription opioids then you may want to re-consider working for this company. I'm sure you would have kicked your drugs a long time ago if you were able to function without them and if you are hired, start up on your meds again and they find out, you're out of the job anyway. I wold not even apply if taking my pain meds was an issue, I wouldn't make it through one day without them!!! Last, you will most likely have some fairly powerful withdrawal symptoms -- all for nothing if they use your hair for the drug test. Wrambler is right on, it tests for a very long period of time! Now that I think about it, usually there is a form you will have to fill out with the drug test and they ask you to list all the meds you are taking, or have taken in a certain period of time. They also differentiate between prescription and illicit drug use.

    If you are set on stopping your meds, check with your doctor of pharmacist about ALL of the meds you're taking. Some withdrawal symptoms may be very severe, one that I was taking would cause seizures if stopped "cold turkey!"

    Good luck in your new job!
  • I have not reason to think they would have issue with my taking these meds, problem is, do they understand them? I am going from the same type job I have now, to another, that is the same thing, just a different employer. My concern is with the testing facility, if they don't do due dilligence and properly verify, then they could send a positive result to my potential employer, who I think, could just walk away and not be willing to chance something they don't understand.

    I called 2 testing facilities in the state I am in now and both did say, that as long as I have a prescription I should be ok. I'm nervous, I have to get this job as due to the economy, I will loose the one I have very soon. So it's all on the line right now.

    I can go through hell for 2 weeks, endure the pain, pass the drug test and return to my meds.

    I can risk the screening company will do thier work properly and continue as normal.

    I can go through hell to only find out that they are doing hair and not urine, of which it would be all for nothing.

    This is so crazy, I have legitimate prescription drugs that I take per the doctors orders and have to worry about this nonsense. My drugs don't affect me at work, if anything, they enable to me to be normal at work.

    I just wish I could get more first hand knowledge from people who have gone through this to make me feel more comfortable.
  • And understanding that employers almost always find ways around the laws and regulations,in my opinion,was equally important.So-I just thought I would put it out there,because knowing the rules won't always win you the game ;))

    Life gets in the way of statistics,laws,and rulebooks.People humanize everything...it's a mess!
  • My husband does drug testing in the doc's office that he works at . He says that if you have a legitimate prescription, and bring the bottles with you to show them, list them on the paperwork, you will have no problem passing the drug test.
  • You really, really need to read through the Drug Free Workplace regulations so that you can protect yourself. Most of the regulations are Federal, although there are laws specific to some state that you also need to be aware of.

    In my state, any employer that screens for drugs is required to use a person certified as a specimen collector to obtain the sample and a certified lab to process it. They're not allowed to use a laboratory test that screens for anything beyond the 5 basic drug classes. They are not allowed to use any sample other than urine for a employment-related drug screen; no blood, no hair.

    If there is positive result, the lab reports to a medical review officer, not directly to your employer. At that point, the person has the right to meet with the review officer, to provide the required proof of the legality of the drugs. Only after the employee has had that opportunity can the result be reported back to the employer.

    We can be flippant and say just because employers are supposed to do these things doesn't mean they will, but the bottom line is they don't do these things when people don't education themselves and are willing to piss their rights into the wind.

    Personally, I think it's less of a reflection on the employer and more of a reflection on people in general. As long as people let businesses get away with doing things improperly and unfairly, there's no reason for them to stop doing it that way. Take Kroger stores, for example. I have a friend that took a part-time job there and they used one of the "at home" drug tests that they sell in their pharmacy to do her pre-employment drug test.

    She had no idea how many violations of her rights were involved in that and even when she found out, she never made a squeek about it. But then, she's not on any narcotic medications for her pain, so why should she care....?

  • So I go today for the Drug Test, it is a 5 panel test. Opaites is one of the 5. I have all my pill bottles with me, a typed out list with Doctor, Number, Pharmacy and Number, they woudn't take any of it. So now I'm at the mercy of my MRO and hope he/she takes thier time. I've quit my job, and in transition to the new one, natural fears kick in, what happens if I don't pass and non one listens?

  • Like others said above, just take your RX's with you to the drug screen and even if you do test + they will put - if you can prove that you have an RX for it. Unless it's a CDL test which may be more difficult because they may question you're abilities while "under the influence". However, believe it or not, most generic quickie drug screens don't register prescribed meds. The one my PM doc uses is much stronger than the one we use to prescreen employees. When I took a drug test for my current position, I was on 30mg of Oxy ER x2 and Oxy IR 15mg x6 at the time and they didn't show on the test but the nurse told me that if they had shown up that she would have still put - because of my having the scripts with me.
  • It was urine as a pre-screening employment test and they also tested randomly all the machinists, etc.- it was an oil pipe manufacturer...Because of my medication I "failed" but once I provided my documentation for the medication that caused the positive result I was fine. They did hire me, but fired me because of my doctors' appointments, LOL! But for EVERYONE that worked there, as long as you had a prescription and the proper documentation for the medication, a positive result was not grounds for dismissal. Now if you didn't, that's another story!
  • Unless its a job where you drive something, fly a plane, or operate some sort of machinery, your med's should not matter much. I would just bring your pill bottles and you will pass. You could go further and get a note from your doctor telling why you need the meds, what meds they are, and how youre doing on them.
  • Well, all worked out fine. Never even came up. The report was negative. I'm such a worry wort.
  • I'm the same way info, every drug test I have I panic even though there won't be anything to fail me. I don't know why, they just make me nervous regardless.
  • The things we worry about most in life never happen.

    So, I worry about EVERYTHING. That way, NOTHING happens!

    I am glad everything worked out for you.

    Oh and ChronicPain - I always stress over tests. Pee test, math test, science test, emplyment test... they are ALL the same to me. I don't like to be judged.

    ...don't hate me because I am beautiful...

    You all have a great day with as many pain-free moments as possible!

  • I had a urine drug test for a new employer. They would not take my list of prescription drugs that I take. I never heard of this, if I fail will the company want to see what prescriptions I am taking? I think this is crazy, unless they are strictly looking for illegal drugs which I wouldn't take but I just had a colonoscopy test on Thursday and they gave me drugs for that test. Can anyone help.
  • I had a urine drug test for a new employer. They would not take my list of prescription drugs that I take. I never heard of this, if I fail will the company want to see what prescriptions I am taking? I think this is crazy, unless they are strictly looking for illegal drugs which I wouldn't take but I just had a colonoscopy test on Thursday and they gave me drugs for that test. Can anyone help.
  • jlrfryejjlrfrye ohioPosts: 1,110
    My pre-employment drug screen was given and I brought all my scripts with me but they refused them. When my test came back positive I had to have my Dr. write a statement of what medications I was taking and fax to my employer. No problem. I started work the next day.
  • I had this same thing happen to me this week I had a steroid injection on Monday and was offered a job on Tuesday and had to take the drug test on Wednesday. I tried to explain to the lab clerk what prescription drugs i was taking and she said that was no concern of hers... I have never done an illegal drug in my life, It would be crazy if i failed a drug test...
  • I have a perscription for methadone (old back injury- and had a bad doc who put me on this) I am on a very low dose working me way off. But I have a job offer that will be conditional on clean test. Its a technical job, not near any drugs, not flying a place. Its a computer tech job. I am concerned about disclosing I take methadone since the company is very conservative and a big company. The employer IS the lab where I would go to take the test, therefore even if they are not supposed to report it, it could easily get reported back to the manager who Ive interviewed with......now if they only do a NIDA 5 test, I shouldnt have to report it, since its not tested for, but since they are a lab, I would think theyll do a NIDA 10, and it would show up on that I understand.... Its a great career job, its something Ive been looking for , for years.. I am currently employed but work for a bad manager. anyone suggest what I should do? Report the Methadone Perscription and pray they dont tell the manager? Not report it hoping they dont test for it?
  • Usually this kind of tests are pretty serious and in this way many people lost their jobs or never got accepted. I like to smoke some legal marijuana from time to time but if I want to attend a job like that I have to be clean for at least 6 months.
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