How to Use Home Drug Tests

It's time to break out the latex gloves because we're talking about how to use home drug tests today! These tests are easy to use and can test for a variety of drugs within a matter of minutes, but also come with some caveats.
Nina Fenton
Published on

Have you ever walked up to someone and said, “Hey, can you pee in this cup for me?” No? Well, that day may indeed come at some point and you may need to don a pair of latex gloves in order to conduct a quick home drug test.

Lucky for you, we happen to know a thing or two about urine drug tests and have whipped up an easy to follow infographic that outlines the why, what and how of at home drug testing. So, grab some gloves, a cup to pee in and a test kit so we can get this party started!

Reasons to Use a Home Drug Test

There’s no doubt that drugs are a part of our culture. They are also easily accessible for the most part no matter how hard the government and other concerned parties try to eliminate them. As a result, there may come a time when you need or want to use a home drug test to get some answers for yourself or someone to care for. Just know that home tests are NOT the same as lab tests. The following are some common reasons to conduct a urine drug test in your home:

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You may decide to test someone close to you if you suspect they are using drugs, whether of the prescription or street drug variety. These tests can be especially helpful for parents concerned that their children may be engaging in risky drug use. Spouses, siblings and friends who share similar concerns about those they care for may also find home tests a great option to getting the answers to their questions.
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There may come a time in your own life when you find yourself facing a pre-employment drug test or one that is court ordered. Perhaps you previously participated in a bit of recreational drug use not thinking you’d have to take a test any time soon. Going into a drug test without confidence that you can pass is never fun, but you can easily shake any concerns by testing yourself at home to see where you stand. Keep in mind that this only works in your favor if you have advanced notice and the ability to reschedule the test, though.
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Sometimes it’s a good idea to do a little check in with a child, spouse, friend, parent or other loved one who has had a previous substance abuse issue. A quick test in a private place will give you the peace of mind that the person in question is still sober. You’re also given a heads up and the opportunity to be proactive in further treatment options and professional drug testing if the results aren’t what you were hoping for.
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Many divorced parents have a hard enough time coping with custody arrangements and having to give up time with their children. This struggle is kicked up a notch when one of the parents has a history of drug use, but the struggle can be made a bit easier with the use of a home drug test. Using one will ensure that the other parent isn’t under the influence when taking the child for their scheduled visit, hopefully indicating that they will not be in harms way while away. However, drug testing during divorce can be tricky, so it’s often best to use a professional lab that is impartial and unbiased, which can also perform GC/MS confirmation testing.

Reasons Not to Use a Home Drug Test

There are 3 main problems with home drug testing:

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1) the temperature is not taken on a home test, like it is in a lab; this makes it much easier for people to cheat
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2) there is no GC/MS confirmation on a home test, like there is in a lab; this means you can get false positives, such as positives for legally prescribed medications
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3) there is no physician to review the test; MRO’s are professional doctors that analyze positive results on lab tests. Home tests have no such professionals.

When in doubt, you should always go with reliable, professional, lab-based drug tests.

What Drugs Are Tested For?

There are a variety of home drug tests on the market, which can make it hard to determine which test is the “right” test to purchase and which drugs are tested for, too. Most kits test for 3 to 5 drugs, but there are some that test up to twelve different drugs and some with the added ability to test for alcohol or tobacco use.

There are a handful of drugs that are generally considered staples of home test kits, though, like these ones:

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Methamphetamine and/or Ecstasy: These popular street drugs can be detected using a home drug test no matter what name they are going by at any given moment. So, rest easy if you’re interested in figuring out if you or someone else will test positive for Molly, Crank, MDMA, Ice, Beans or Chalk.
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THC – Marijuana: Yep, good old Mary Jane can be found with a home drug test, too.
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Opiates: The use and abuse of opiates is a major concern these days, whether they are prescription pills or the super potent street variety. Luckily, home drug tests can uncover the use of opiates in the form or codeine, oxycodone, morphine and even heroin.
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Amphetamines: It’s becoming increasingly common for students, moms and working professionals to take amphetamine stimulants. Drugs like Adderall and Ritalin are in high demand when finals come around, a few pounds need to be shed to reach that pre-baby weight goal or a deadline is fast approaching. These stimulants can be perfectly safe if prescribed and used properly, but the potential for abuse is rather high.
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Cocaine/Crack: These two drugs may not be as talked about as they were several years ago since new drugs are always popping up and causing concerns. However, that doesn’t means that people have stopped using them, so it makes total sense that both would be tested for with a home kit.

How to Use Home Drug Tests

Few things in life are as easy as using a home drug test. All you need to get going is a test subject, some fresh urine and a test card. Take a look at how simple it is to use a home test now, but do try not to be overwhelmed by all of the steps involved:

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Collection Time: Yep, you get the pleasure of either collecting your own urine or asking someone else to give you a sample. You can easily collect the sample in a clean and preferably new plastic or paper cup. A Dixie cup or party cup will get the job done just fine, but you can use any clean cup you have on hand if you’re feeling adventurous. Some test kits come with specimen cups, too.
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Cool Down: You’ll want to allow the urine to cool to room temperature before testing in order to get the best results. Most test directions suggest using a sample within 24 hours, though. Also, it’s a good idea to let the test card reach room temperature if it was kept in a fridge.
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Open Up: Open the kit and remove the card from its packaging. There will also be a plastic cap on the bottom of the card where the strips are located that will need to be removed. Once that’s done, immerse the test card into the urine sample with the arrows pointing down for roughly 10 seconds.
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Results Time: Place the newly saturated test card upon a paper towel on a flat surface. It shouldn’t take much time at all for the results to show up on the card, so try to keep a close on eye it. Most tests suggests reading the results within five minutes and no more than ten minutes of testing to ensure more reliable results.

Phew! Those were some intense directions, huh? Hopefully you made it through and are now ready to crack the code on how to read home drug test results.

Reading the Results

It is just as easy to read the results as it is to conduct the actual test. This is great considering how uncomfortable a situation like this can be and no one wants to stand around all day in awkward silence waiting to find out if someone’s been using.

A negative test result will have two lines present in both the Control (C) and Test (T) regions. It’s totally possible for the lines to vary in color, so don’t let that confuse you too much when reading the test card. Two lines present , no matter how dark, light or differently they may be colored does indeed lock in a negative result.

Test cards with only one line present in the Control (C) region indicated that the specimen used is positive for drugs. There won’t be a line for the Test (T) region at all. A positive result means that the specimen contained drug metabolites that were below the cutoff level.

An invalid result will be present when there are either no lines or one line in the Test (T) region is shown. This result usually occurs when there wasn’t enough urine to fully immerse the test card in, something went wrong during the testing process or the specimen was compromised somehow either by accident or intentionally.

Are Home Tests Accurate?

That is indeed the million dollar question! In all honesty, home drug tests are not as reliable as those conducted in a lab. They are able to determine if a particular drug might be in the urine tested, but the results garnered should not be considered definitive until the sample in question is tested thoroughly by a laboratory. Nothing quite beats the peace of mind that can be obtained from having a drug test conducted by trained professionals. So, keep that in mind before purchasing a kit and remember these simple things that can potentially affect the outcome of a home drug test:

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The way the test was performed can impact the results you get. Yes, the instructions are super simple, but there is always room for error, no matter how easy and fool proof something seems to be.
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Improperly storing the urine sample or using a container that has been contaminated can potentially impact the results.
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Foods and drinks consumed by the testee can interfere with the test results.
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Over-the-counter and prescribed medications can show up under certain home test kit panels and produce a positive test result when the person being tested isn’t abusing the substance in question.
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The test kit purchased may be compromised in someway without your knowledge. Who knows how the test was stored prior to the purchase.

As you can see, home drug tests won’t always do the job nor are they the most reliable method to concretely determine if drugs are being used. Laboratory tests are easy to access. You can get a drug test near you at any of Health Street’s 5000+ drug testing locations nationwide, and choose from a wide variety of drug testing options

Related Lab-based Urine Drug Tests

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WRITTEN BY

Nina works hard to be a voice to the voiceless whose stories about drug testing, DNA testing and paternity deserve to be told. It is her goal to always come from a place free of judgment and full of compassion.

WRITTEN BY

Nina works hard to be a voice to the voiceless whose stories about drug testing, DNA testing and paternity deserve to be told. It is her goal to always come from a place free of judgment and full of compassion.

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Drug Testing

Read Health Street's dramatic and informative drug testing stories.

FEATURED IN

Drug Testing

Read Health Street's dramatic and informative drug testing stories.