Thousands of drug tests are carried out every day in the U.S. and around the globe. In the employment industry, drug tests might be administered for pre-employment applications or randomly during your employment with that company.

Certain federal and state jobs, for example, ask employees to take random mandatory drug tests.

Drug tests have also historically been used with the criminal justice system, particularly when it comes to parole.

Even numerous sporting events utilize drug tests to make sure no athletes have a pharmaceutical edge over opponents.

Drug tests are just formalities in most cases, as the great majority of individuals pass the test without a hitch.

Drug test failures will occur—and depending on what it was being used for—there can be a broad array of ramifications.


Employment Consequences

Depending on the guidelines of the company performing your drug test, there could be additional ramifications for failing.

When you fail your drug test after you’re offered employment, for instance, the firm will likely avoid hiring you.

When you fail on a random drug test with a job you already hold, you might be discharged from your role.

It’s crucial to know the outcomes associated with your company’s measures on drug use before taking illicit drugs (or alcohol, in some careers).

Read how to pass a pre-employment drug test: Best Resource on Pre-Employment Drug Testing and How to Pass

Probation Consequences

If you have to take part in mandatory drug tests because of your probation conditions, there might be even firmer outcomes for failing a test.

After you fail, your parole officer writes up a report of a violation—which gets delivered to a judge.

It’s in the hands of the judge to determine whether you’ll get a warning or if your parole is revoked – which means you’d return to jail.

The decision often depends on the number of drug tests you’ve failed during your time on parole – and any other constituents the judge considers as relevant to your situation.

Likelihood of Being Drug Tested by Ethnicity


What Happens If You Fail A Military Drug Test

The military needs to provide evidence that you intentionally ingested illegal drugs.

Without this, they can’t construct a valid drug case against you.

Display of tangible proof to prove your knowing abuse of the drug in question can lead to an Administrative Discharge or an Article 15.

Step by step guide on passing a military drug test: The Military Drug Test – Best Recommendations to Pass

Bad Conduct Discharge

Bad conduct discharges are only presented to enlisted military officers and are delivered by a court-martial because of improper conduct.

Discharges due to bad conduct are typically preceded by time confined in a designated military prison.

These kinds of discharges are given under the ‘other than honorable conditions discharge.

Military officers who get discharged from these situations can’t reenlist in the Armed Forces—except in very rare conditions.

The overall discharge isn’t put in place until the confinement time is up – when the offender is then discharged, and all benefits are relinquished.

Dishonorable Discharge

A dishonorable discharge can only be given by a general court-martial.

They’re only handed down for things the military deems as reprehensible behavior.

A dishonorable discharge is the most shameful type of discharge a member can receive and are primarily given for criminal offenses such as, but not limited to, sexual assault, desertion, accessory to corruption and murder.

After being discharged, every benefit of being a veteran is forfeited – no matter what previous accomplishments or statuses were gained.

United States federal law also forbids the ownership of firearms by those who’ve been dishonorably discharged.

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The guidelines from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for drug tests is the most popular one that companies or government bureaus adhere to – in terms of testing methods.

Even though private organizations aren’t required to stick to these practices, a lot of them do to defend themselves from prosecution.

In many cases where a drug is under scrutiny from a professional laboratory, the test is completed in two stages.

The drug test initially experiences a preemptive screening.

The lab technician has to identify a specified amount of drug in this phase (rated in nanograms/milliliter) over the federally established cut off points.

The cut off points depend on the drug that’s being tested for.

If the first test is positive for quantities over the cut off level, more accurate corroborative tests will be done to show the individual is indeed positive.

When the primary test doesn’t have substantive amounts of the drug in nanograms per milliliter of urine, the analysis will be considered negative.

Returning To Duty

If you’re provided with a second opportunity to pass a drug test, you’ll probably be asked to undergo a “return to duty” test.

This is typically administered after a certain period away from work, so you can get sober enough to earn a positive second result.

Throughout this period, you might be exacted to enter into alcohol or drug counseling or go to special drug awareness courses—depending on the conditions of the company carrying out the drug analysis.

After your results are positive on the “return to duty” examination, you’ll be clear to go back to work.

When the return to duty test is failed, you may be relieved from your job.

Follow Up

Although you might have passed your “return to duty” test, more follow up tests could still be required.

These kinds of follow-ups are done monthly or even weekly to verify that you’re staying sober.

The length of time you’ll have to use these tests depends on your firm’s drug-free workplace policies.

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