Is One Drug Test Lab Tougher to Beat Than Another?

fear of drug test labs

Drug test labs conjure up all sorts of fear in people.  And when people are afraid they tend to create their own unreasonable fears on top of any logical reasons to be afraid.

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For instance, Psychemedics is one of the most feared drug test labs out there.  If you cruise around the internet there are plenty of people who feel that just the mention of the name Psychemedics is a guaranteed fail.

Probably the shortest and easiest answer to the question of whether or not one drug test lab is easier or harder to beat than another is emphatically no.

But let’s look at why that is.

First off, any sample you submit for testing either will or won’t contain enough drug metabolites to fail the test.  I know that sounds rather obvious but the point is that no lab is better or worse at finding the drug metabolites in your sample.  They can’t create extra drug metabolites and they all use similar methods of measuring the concentration of drug metabolites in any given sample so they all produce similar results.

Second, the drug detection cutoffs are standardized.  One picogram per milligram (the ELISA drug detection cutoff for THC metabolites) is the same across all drug testing labs.

So if the method of testing is the same and the drug detection cutoffs are the same, there’s really very little opportunity for there to be a major deviation in results from one drug test lab to another.

So why do people fear particular drug test labs?

I suspect it has something to do with the fact that drug test labs like Psychemedics handle a lot of drug tests and it’s simply human nature that if you hear that ten people failed their drug test performed by Psychemedics and you heard another person passed a test performed by Quest Diagnostics, you may be inclined to believe that Psychemedics fails everyone.

There is absolutely no scientific proof to support that one drug test lab is more or less likely to produce a positive drug test result than another.

Another reason why people may fear Psychemedics over other drug test labs is that Psychemedics wants people to believe that.  They claim to have a proprietary method of extracting drugs from hair that is better than other drug test labs but they also claim:

Psychemedics’ test cannot easily be beaten with cleansers, bleach and dyes, like some other hair tests. While some of these substances will dramatically affect some other labs results, Psychemedics has published data demonstrating that normal use of common hair products or adulterants are not effective on our test to create false negative results.

Read that carefully.  I’ve highlighted specific words/phrases that indicate they are dancing around the issue.

It’s misleading at best and an outright lie at worst.  For instance, who defines “easily”?  And they say that “normal” use of common hair products won’t impact their results which they hope their potential customers (companies requesting drug tests) will interpret as their test cannot be beat.

But, we know that’s not true. Plenty of people who should have failed have passed a Psychemedics drug test by bleaching their hair.  Not only that but many top drug testing scientists have admitted that bleaching your hair does, in fact, reduce the amount of drug metabolites in your hair.

Once the drug metabolites are gone, they’re gone.  Psychemedics can’t measure what’s not there.  It’s all marketing BS intended to sell more companies on using their testing over other drug test labs.

Unfortunately, most people have no idea what their drug metabolite concentration is before taking the test so the whole processes seems like a huge mystery to them and in the absence of information, folklore and rumors fill the gap.

The point of this post, however, is to ease your mind if you know that the drug test lab that you’ll be submitting to has a reputation for failing people.  There’s simply no truth to it.  For every person telling you that this or that drug test lab is a guaranteed fail, there are many people who have passed the same test.

Since the uncertainty of a drug test are usually the worst part of taking the test (unless you fail) there’s simply no reason to get yourself worked up over things that play no role in whether you will pass or fail your drug test.