Eight Common Items That Can Make You Test Positive for Drugs

April 17th 2016

There are a bunch of reasons that people complain about drug tests — they're often expensive and ineffective — but one of the strongest arguments against them is that they can produce false positive results if you consume totally legal and common foods or medications. When job opportunities or federal financial aid benefits are on the line, that kind of fallibility raises serious concerns.

These eight foods and drugs can cause you to fail a drug test.

drug-testWikimedia -

1. Cold medicine

sudafedFlickr/Kesha Phillips -

Certain types of over-the-counter cold medications contain the ingredient pseudoephedrine, a synthetic amphetamine that works as a decongestant. Taking cold medicine with pseudoephedrine can cause you to test positive for amphetamine use, Dwight Smith reported in a presentation to the American Psychiatric Association in 2010.

2. Diet pills

diet pillsFlickr/e-Magine Art -

A number of diet pills contain phenylpropanolamine, another legal stimulant, and ingesting that ingredient up to 72 hours prior to a drug test can cause you to test positive for amphetamines, psychopharmacologist Eileen DiFrancesco said.

3. Vitamin B supplements

Vitamin BWikimedia -

Certain vitamin supplements — specifically, vitamin B2, also known as riboflavin — are made with hemp seed oil, and they can cause you to come up positive for marijuana just for trying to stay healthy, Medical Daily reported. Hemp contains trace amounts of THC, the main psychoactive component of marijuana, which is actively tested for in standard drug screenings.

4. Ibuprofen

ibuprofenWikimedia -

If you're experiencing moderate pain the day before you have to submit to a drug test, experts recommend taking aspirin or an analgesic containing acetominophen, such as Tylenol. Ibuprofen — a common and legal over-the-counter painkiller — has been known to produce false positives for THC, a 2008 study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings found.

5. Antidepressants

zoloftWikimedia -

Antidepressants such as Wellbutrin, Zoloft, and Daypro can cause false positives on drug tests, showing amphetamine or benzodiazepine use. That finding was reported to the American Psychiatric Association in 2010.

6. Poppy seed bagels

poppy seedWikimedia -

"If you’re taking a drug test, skip on the poppy seed bagel for breakfast," Medical Daily reported. "Poppy seeds contain minute traces of opiates, like opium and codeine, which can be found in urine samples for as long as two days after eating foods with the ingredient."

7. Granola bars

granolaStrong & Kind -

The Army had to warn its troops last year not to eat Strong & Kind branded snack bars because they contained hemp seeds and would cause recruits to test positive for THC. A number of other cereals and snack bars also contain hemp seeds.

8. Tonic water

tonicWikimedia -

Drinking excessive amounts of tonic water (or quinine water) can cause you to test positive for opiates, a 1989 study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors found.

RELATED: How Long Drugs Stay in Your System

Share your opinion

Have you ever been drug tested by an employer?

No 39%Yes 61%