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Frequently Asked Questions

I know my clients were high on marijuana when I took them in for a drug screening. Why are the results Negative?
It can take 6-8 hrs after use to show up in the urine.

What else can make a client positive for cocaine?
Nothing but the use of cocaine.

My clients are cocaine and/or opiate abusers. Why are they always negative?
These are short acting drugs, lasting only 24-72 hrs in the system. If you are giving your client too much latitude on when they go for screening, they may be timing for negatives.

My client says he/she has not used marijuana in weeks. He still comes up positive but the quantity is decreasing. Is this proof that he has not re-used?
No – the levels reported are subject to many factors other than ingestion. A person could use marijuana continually can still produce changes in the levels detected.

Does marijuana always stay in the system for 30 days?
It depends on the frequency and longevity of use. A chronic user is more likely to show up positive for 30 days after the last ingestion than an infrequent user.

Can you explain exactly what “Dilute” means? How does it occur?
Dilute means the urine has more fluid in it than normal. It could be caused by adding fluids to the specimen or by drinking copious amounts of fluids before testing. There also may be medical conditions that could affect the urine's relative dilution.

My client drinks a lot of water because she is on a diet. Is this the reason her results show negative but ‘dilute’?
Unlikely. Your best bet is to advise your client to resume drinking normal amounts of fluid during the testing period.

What about the various things a person can buy on the Internet to clean up their urine. Do they work? Will they show up in the testing Span does?
Some may block certain drug metabolites, but certified laboratories will tag those results as "adulterated." Other substances that are supposedly intended to block positives, only do so because they are mixed with large quantities of fluid. The labs will report these results out as "dilute." Even dilute screens may be found positive. Span always tests for adulteration.

My client is an alcoholic and I know he is still drinking. Why are his urine drug screens always negative? How can I prove to the judge that he is not abstaining?
Most urine drug screens will only detect alcohol for 6 to 24 hours after ingestion. An individual can usually time the sample to disguise drinking. There is new technology available which will detect alcohol for up to 72 hours. Placing your client under a random screening program and using the new technology will result in positive results if he/she is a regular drinker.

Our clients are allowed 24 hrs from the time they call us to go to a collection site. Is this an advantage to them? Can they get clean in 24 hrs? Should some/all clients be given a tighter time schedule?
Such time requirements will generally work with everything except alcohol. That said, if the client knows ahead of time when you will require him to screen--say you always make the decision at your regularly scheduled meeting--he could easily abstain for a short time prior to the meeting. With the additional advantage of 24 hours to present for collection, the client could time his collection to avoid detection. If you suspect such behavior, a hair test or random testing program may be indicated.

What causes a client’s urine to show ‘temp out of range’?
This may indicate the client brought clean urine to the collection site and substituted it for his own. It could also show that the client added fluid to his/her own urine at the time of collection. Our collection sites will require a second, observed specimen be provided and report refusal as suspicion of tampering.

My client says she had a fever causing the urine to show ‘temp out of range’. Can this happen?
This is possible. Our recommendation is for a retest as soon as possible. Alternately, an oral fluids or hair test could be taken that same day.

Does eating a poppy seed covered bun cause a client’s specimen to be positive for Opiates?
It is unlikely, but possible, although one would have to consume an unusually high amount of poppy seeds to show a positive result. We recommend advising your clients or employees to avoid anything with poppy seeds prior to testing.

The 8-panel drug screen you use does not specifically test for Heroin, is there a way to determine Heroin use by the metabolites you do test for?
Yes. A secondary test can be performed that will identify heroin specifically. However, it is expensive. If you know your client is positive for opiates, and there is no supporting prescription, there is probably no need for the additional testing.

Is there any way to tell by looking at the results and the levels if my client is taking a therapeutic dosage of his prescribed medication?
No, not by reading the results but it can be determined another way. For an extra fee, a Medical Review Officer can examine the prescriptions and the test results and determine this for you. Contact Steve Barber, Span’s Director of Testing Services for more information at smbmark (at) or call him at 734-623-7726.

My client claims he was at a party where a lot of marijuana smoking was going on but did not himself smoke marijuana. Could that be the result of his positive drug screen for marijuana?
No, levels of detection are set high enough to avoid triggering a positive from passive inhalation.

My client tested positive for opiates. He has a prescription for Vicodin from his doctor. Is this the reason for his positive?
It may be. Vicodin will trigger a positive for opiates on most drug screens.

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