Unless you work for yourself, there is a chance you will be drug tested at any job. The same goes for professional or semi-pro athletes, Olympic competitors, job seekers, competitive gamers like chess players, and students.
People take drugs to boost mood, cope with stress, improve cognitive function, and enhance physical performance. Taking banned substances can have unwanted consequences if you have to take a drug test, but nootropics can boost performance without the risk.
Who Takes Drugs?
Most Americans take some kind of drug. The majority of users take legal substances like alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, and over-the-counter medications including aspirin, allergy medications, sleep aids, and cough and cold preparations. But around ten percent use illegal substances like heroin, psychedelics, opiates (morphine, oxycontin) and methamphetamine.
Common Substances That Will Fail a Drug Test
Some substances are more popular than others, and those are the drugs most likely to cause a positive result on a drug test. Even legal substances like alcohol can cause you to fail a drug test if the administering entity prohibits it. Here are some of the most common substances that cause people to fail drug screening.
THC is the most common substance in failed drug testing. Despite the legality of marijuana and its derivatives in over half of US states, federal law still classifies it under Schedule 1 controlled substances.<1>
THC stays in the body for up to 28 days, making it one of the most common reasons people fail drug testing.
Some prescriptions can show up as a banned substance, and if you don't have a prescription, the presence of prescription drugs will cause you to fail a drug test
Workers are prohibited from driving, operating heavy machinery, and performing some other types of jobs while taking some legal prescriptions, so transportation professionals may have to test for prescriptions that may affect their work.
The current opiate crisis is linked to dependence on prescription opioid painkillers and the struggle to break free of addiction after the prescription is rescinded. Patients who develop drug dependencies often turn to dangerous and illegal substances like heroin and deadly fentanyl to supplement their habit.
Nootropics are not painkillers, but herbs like rhodiola rosea can boost mood and l-theanine promotes calming alpha waves. This soothing mental action could help people deal with recovery better and in a far safer manner.
Why Do People Take Drugs?
Many people take drugs to alter their state of mind. Alcohol and drugs can boost confidence, lower inhibitions, and fuel courage, lubricating social interactions. Other drugs can impart feelings of relaxation, inspire philosophical thought, and promote creativity.
- But many recreational drugs are illegal in the United States, and if your job requires drug screening you could face suspension or termination.
And mind-altering drugs can come with harsh side effects, health hazards, and dependence.
The crash that follows the high can be heavy, lowering mental performance and mood long after the party’s over.
Nootropics can positively influence your state of mind without side effects, and they won’t cause you to fail a drug test.
Athletes, bodybuilders, and other people who rely on prime physical function for success take drugs to boost performance.
Anabolic steroids are the drug of choice for athletes, who use them believing they will improve performance and competitiveness by building lean muscle mass and promote aggressiveness. Sometimes, steroids are “stacked” with hormones, pain killers, or stimulants.
But steroids are banned in sports, and athletes caught using them can face public ridicule and hefty fines, and they could even be banned from sports.
Nootropics for sports can improve physiological function and promote optimal mental performance for a winning combination – without breaking the rules.
“Smart drugs” are all the rage in Silicon Valley, where techies stack amino acids, stimulants, and other substances to gain a cognitive edge on the competition. Careers that rely on peak mental performance require laser sharp focus, mental endurance, stress resilience, and exceptional memory.
Supplements that increase neurotransmitter activity, brain oxygen, and cerebral blood flow can boost cognitive function, but some substances that can do this are illegal or carry side effects and health risks.
Nootropics can support cognitive function and improve brain activity without having to worry about failing a drug test.
Reasons for Drug Testing
The reasons for drug screening and the drugs they test for vary based on the specific activities of the testing authority.
Most employers require employees to pass a drug test as part of the hiring process. Some occupations are required by law to test employees, while others do it as part of company policy.
Drug and alcohol abuse can lead to health and safety hazards in the workplace and increase employer spending due to lost productivity, employee turnover, healthcare costs, and accident claims.
Some of the reasons employers perform drug testing include:
- Safety. Sobriety is crucial for safety in many fields that affect large numbers of people, including transportation and heavy machine operators.
- Productivity. Substance abusers are less productive at work than non-substance abusers.
- Workers Compensation. Substance abuse on the job increases the number of workers compensation claims.
- Medical Care. Drug related accidents and injuries dramatically increase employer medical costs.
- Absenteeism. Drug and alcohol abusers miss work more often.
- Employee Turnover. Replacing a single worker costs employers $7,000 on average.
Because It is difficult to determine who occasionally uses substances apart from those who abuse them, some employers test for legal substances like alcohol and marijuana along with illegal drugs.
Employers use drug screenings in various situations, and if your employment contract agrees to random drug screening they can test at any time for any reason. But usually, employers require drug testing in the following circumstances:
- Pre-employment. Companies that use drug screening often require applicants to pass a drug test in order to gain employment.
- Accidents. If an employee is involved in an accident at work, they will likely have to take a drug test, even if the employer doesn't require them otherwise.
- Probable Cause. An employer who suspects an employee of drug use on the job site can order a drug screening. A failed drug test could result in termination.
- Random Testing. Employers use random testing to discourage drug use that may affect work performance.
In accordance with federal guidelines, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) require companies who employ commercial drivers must have a testing program for five specific drug categories (SAMHSA 5).<2>
The Department of Transportation is strict on alcohol and drug use. The DOT mandates Reasonable Suspicion Testing for Drug & Alcohol Abuse training for supervisors who manage companies with one or more drivers.
All active duty military personnel are required to undergo drug screening at least once per year. Reserve and Guard members must be screened every two years.
The Department of Defense uses a basic urinalysis test for everyone to reveal cocaine, amphetamines, MDMA (ecstasy) and marijuana. But DoD labs test random samples for LSD, PCP, barbituates, and opiates, and some labs test every sample for all of those.
Service members can be drug tested in the following circumstances:
- Medical Screening. New recruits are required to undergo a drug test as part of their medical screening.
- Random Testing. Commanders can order testing of random groups or units at any time, but they cannot order screening for specific groups or individuals as a random test.
- Probable Cause. If a commander suspects an individual of illicit drug use, they can request a "military search warrant" from the Installation Commander. Service members cannot refuse a urine sample authorized by a search warrant.
- Consent. When a commander does not have evidence to support probable cause they can ask members for consent to a drug screening, but members do not have to grant it.
- Commander Directed. If a commander does not have probable cause or consent, they can still order a drug test. A failed test can be used for involuntary discharge, but it may not be used to determine discharge characterization (honorable, dishonorable, general, or other) or as part of a court martial.
The use of performing-enhancing drugs (PED) is not a new phenomenon. Ancient Greek and Roman athletes took special performance-enhancing potions to give them a competitive edge.<3>
Today's athletes are still taking substances to improve their athletic prowess, but in an attempt to to keep competitions as fair as possible athletes are prohibited from using specific substances that could give them an unfair advantage over competitors who do not take such substances.
The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) oversees drug screening, anti-doping education, and legal protection for American Olympics, Paralympics,and Pan American athletes.
Athletes may be drug tested in various circumstances, depending on whether they are in or out of competition.
The top three place finishers in competitions or events are likely candidates for drug screening. Otherwise, active athletes could be randomly chosen before the competition according to place - 5th, 9th, 12th, etc.
Out of Competition (OOC)
The USADA selects a predetermined number of random tests per year for OOC athletes based on the overall number of athletes. The US Olympic Committee (USOC) can also request screening of particular individuals during the off season.
Sports drug screens test for substances by class. Banned substances include, but are not limited to:
- anabolic agents
- Beta-2 Agonist
- beta blockers
- masking agents like diuretics
- peptide hormones and analogues
- street drugs
Sports drug screening uses both urine and blood tests, depending on the substance being tested for.
Recombinant hGH is tightly regulated and is only allowed for specific conditions such as GH deficiency, chronic renal failure, Turner Syndrome, and other rare diseases. Despite these regulations, athletes have been using hGH for performance enhancement since the 1980s.<4>
A judge can order drug testing for anyone facing legal prosecution, under criminal investigation, on probation or parole, involved in a child custody case, or performing community service.
Police officers can test drivers suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Refusing the test can result in an automatic guilty verdict and legal sentencing to fines, incarceration or both.
Most court-ordered or police administered drug screening use standard urinalysis tests that screen for:
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
Breath tests are used to detect alcohol.
Health Care and Mental Health
Medical doctors can order drug tests if they suspect drug or alcohol abuse, but they cannot demand them from unwilling adult patients. They can demand drug screening for minors with parental consent.
People in either inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation must submit to regular drug testing while in the program.
Types of Drug Tests
Different substances are tested using different collection methods. There are five main types of drug screening in the U.S.
The urine test is the most common drug test. Urine tests can be done at home but do require lab verification for accurate results.
It can primarily detect substance use within the past week, longer with THC.
Hair and hair follicle tests can detect substance use going back up to a year but do not generally detect use within the past week. These hair tests can determine when drug use occurred for certain drugs.
Blood testing is considered the most intrusive and the most accurate screening method. They are also the least common test and the most expensive.
Sweat tests are relatively uncommon and their accuracy is debatable, but they supposedly can detect use that other tests cannot.
A false positive happens when a drug screen tests positive for a substance that was never actually ingested. Drug screens look for metabolites, not the actual substance, and some non-drug food and legal substances activate the same metabolites as tested substances.
Eating poppy seeds could cause a false positive for opiate, and taking hemp shows up as marijuana. Selegiline and some drugs for ADD show up as amphetamine. Other substances that can cause false positives include:
- Antibiotics like amoxicillan and ampicillan
- Anti-anxiety medication
- Blood pressure medication
- Prescription diet pills
Natural nootropics should not cause a false positive, so choose natural remedies whenever possible and purchase your nootropics from a reputable source.
Make sure to notify the administering agency if you are taking any prescription drugs or over the counter medications to avoid any confusion that could be caused by a false positive.
Nootropics are brain-boosters that work in multiple ways to modulate brain pathways and support neurotransmitter activity. By promoting healthy brain function, nootropics can enhance mental performance and boost various cognitive functions.
Mind Lab Pro®'s patented formula contains 11 research-backed nootropics that work together to elevate and sustain peak mental performance over an extended period of time.
As a whole-brain optimizer, Mind Lab Pro® benefits all cognitive demands in any situation, improving:
- Motivation and energy for excellent training and athletic performance.
- Multitasking skills and focus for productivity in the workplace
- Memory and calm clarity for learning and exams
- Strategic thinking, pattern recognition, and reaction time during competition
- Relaxation, bright mood, and verbal skills in social settings
All Mind Lab Pro® ingredients are safe, free of side effects, and easy to absorb and utilize. This nootropic stack provides totally clean brain nutrition free of preservatives, artificial colors, GMOs, gluten, caffeine, stimulants, or additives.
Unlike other substances, Mind Lab Pro® promotes long-term healthy brain function and neural plasticity to support peak mental function now and help maintain mental clarity in the future.
Mind Lab Pro® will never cause a positive result on any drug test.
It is a clean formula that is quality checked over and over again to ensure only the best safety, tolerability, and ultimate brain-boosting benefits.
- Office of National Drug Control Policy. Marijuana. The White House. Accessed Jan 17 2019
- Erowid. Drug Testing Basics. Vol. 1.5. 27 Sep 2012.
- Bowers LD. Athletic Drug Testing. Clinics in Sports Medicine. 1 April 1998. Volume 17, Issue 2, Pages 299–318. Doi: 10.1016/S0278-5919(05)70082-X
- Green GA. Drug Testing in Sport: hGH (Human Growth Hormone). Virtual Mentor. 2014;16(7):547-551. Doi: 10.1001/virtualmentor.2014.16.7.stas1-1407.