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Random Drug Test


Random Drug Test

Detection Times of Various Toxins

This chart represents detection times for a saliva, urine or hair random drug test. There is more information below on false positives and urine/hair drug testing.


Random drug test detection times indicate the period after you last took a drug, that drug testing can reveal its presence or resulting metabolites in your specimen. The amount of time that a drug metabolite remains detectable in urine can vary, depending on the following factors:

Amount and Frequency of Use: Single, isolated, small doses are generally detectable at the lower boundary. Chronic and long-term use typically result in detection periods near or at the upper boundary.

Body Mass: In general, human metabolism slows with increased body mass, resulting in longer detection periods. In addition, THC (marijuana's active ingredient) and PCP are known to accumulate in fatty lipid tissue. Chronic users, physically inactive users, and individuals with a high percentage of body fat in relation to total body mass are prone to longer detection periods for THC and PCP when taking a random drug test.

Urine pH: Urine pH can impact detection periods. Typically, highly acidic urine results in shorter detection periods which is good when taking a random drug test.

Drug Tolerance: Users typically metabolize a drug faster once a tolerance to the drug is established.

Metabolic Rate: Individuals with slower body metabolism are prone to longer detection periods when taking a random drug test.

Age: In general, human metabolism slows with age, resulting in longer detection periods.

Overall Health: In general, human metabolism slows during periods of deteriorating health, resulting in longer detection periods for a random drug test.


How Long Do Toxins Remain In Hair?

In plain English, toxins can be detectable in your hair for as long as your hair is. This basically means that if you used toxins 6 months ago and still have hair on your head from 6 months ago, it will be detectable in a random drug test.

Hair drug testing is a little more complicated than other forms of testing. Going back 90 days is the industry standard. 90 days is the approximate time frame indicated by an inch and a half of hair. When a lab is testing a random drug test hair sample, if the sample is longer than an inch and a half, the lab will cut it down to an inch and a half.

Hair testing generally uses 1-1/2 inches of hair, representing about 3 months’ growth (head hair normally grows at about 1/2 inch per month). It is generally accepted that in order to test positive, the drug in question must have been used 3 times or more within the window of the random drug test. After a drug is used, it takes about 7-10 days for the hair containing the drug to grow out of the scalp enough to be cut. Therefore, the random drug test hair test will not include drugs used in the week prior to the test. The drug remains in the hair, growing out much the same as hair dye and "dark roots". Eventually that hair containing the toxin is cut off with normal haircuts which then permits you to pass a random drug test.

With body hair, it takes a longer time for the drugs to be detected because body hair grows slowly. The growth of body hair does is not as fast as the growth of head hair. So it's hard to determine that it takes X amount of days for drugs to enter body hair. The nature of body hair also means that if body hair is tested by a lab, the detection time will be longer. An inch and a half of body hair represents a period of 6 months to 1 year. It's a longer, vaguer time frame and someone submitting body hair to a random drug test should be aware of this.


False Positives

False positive results can be attributed to human error and sample contamination when administering a random drug test. In addition, there are a number of controlled and uncontrolled substances that will cause a false positive result; these are some of the reasons why labs will immediately split your specimen into two samples. Below are some of the many substances to avoid prior to taking a random drug test. Take this very seriously, your employer or probation officer certainly will. False positives run high with the EMIT (aka dip stick aka "on the spot" type test), and in some cases this is all it takes to send you to the unemployment office or a parole/probation revocation hearing. National laboratories state that the EMIT test is wrong 25% to 30% of the time and can result in false positives from legal substances up to 38% of the time when administering a random drug test!

Poppy seeds: Although an extremely concentrated amount of poppy seeds are needed to obtain a false positive for opiates on the EMIT, it is possible when taking a random drug test.

Dental/Medical treatments: Cain-based products, especially Novocain, have been known to cause false positives for cocaine when taking a random drug test. Some legal products actually contain small amounts of illegal chemicals. All urine tests, including GC/MS will indicate a positive result because the metabolites derived from the substance are identical to the metabolites of the illegal drug.

Diet aids containing phenylpropanolamine (Brand names include Dexatrim and Accutrim). Asthma medications such as Marax, Bronkaid tablets, and Primatine Tablets can cause false positives when taking a random drug test.

Ibuprofen is a common pain reliever that, even in low dosages, can cause a false THC positive on the EMIT random drug test. This has supposedly been corrected but this has not been 100% confirmed. Here are some other common ones as well: Advil, Nuprin, Mediprin, Motrin, Bayer Select Pain Relief Formula, Excedrin IB Caplets, Genpril, Midol 200, Pamprin, Trendar Cramp Relief Formula, Cramp End Tablets, Medipren, Rufin, Naproxen, Aleve, Keroprofen and Orudis KT.

Cold remedies, diet pills, hay fever remedies and pain relievers: In blind testing, decongestants and many diet aids resulted in false positives for amphetamine use in one third of all random drug test samples given to 40 leading substance testing laboratories. There are more than 300 over-the-counter drugs that can cause false positives on the EMIT and new drugs being introduced every day. Some others include: Cold and allergy meds that contain ephedrine, pseudoephedrine, propylephedrine, phenylephrine, or desoxyepherine (Brand names include Nyquil, Contact, Sudafed, Allerest 12 hour, A.R.M., Triaminic 12, Ornade, Tavist-D, Dimetapp, Sinex, Neosynephrine, Actifed, Bayer Select Maximum Strength Sinus Pain Relief Caplets, Contact Non-Drowsy Formula, Dristan Cold Caplets, Maximum Strength Sudafed Sinus Caplets, Maximum Strength Tylenol Sinus Gelcaps, Sinus Excedrin Extra Strength Caplets, Drixoral Cold and Flu, Robitussin Cold and Flu, Vicks Inhaler and Afrin)

Antibiotics: Certain antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline can cause false positives for heroin and cocaine when taking a random drug test.

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