Drugs got back?
December 5, 2004 8:46 AM   Subscribe

So, I have a drug screening to go to on Monday for a new job. My back started spasming Friday afternoon and not thinking as far ahead as Monday, I've taken 3 Tramadol for the pain over the course of the last 24 hours.
Am I screwed?
posted by kamylyon to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If it's prescribed to you by a doctor, just inform the screening people. If it's not prescribed to you by a doctor, you may be screwed. However, AFAIK, tramadol is not a controlled substance, so why would they even screen for it?
posted by gokart4xmas at 9:08 AM on December 5, 2004

Just making sure...

and no it's not prescribed to me, it's some Mom had on hand.
posted by kamylyon at 10:09 AM on December 5, 2004

The half-life of tramadol is about 6-7 hours, but since the drug doesn't follow zero-order kinetics (e.g., the inactivation rate of the drug is dependent on its concentration) it still won't be eliminated in 12-14 hours. Looking at the monograph, the drug shouldn't be completely eliminated for about 30 hours or so (longer if you took more than a single dose). So, I’d say there’s a pretty good chance that you would test positive for tramadol tomorrow morning.

I'd imagine, however, that if you brought your prescription to the screening and told them about your back pain problem, you would likely have nothing to worry about.
posted by trident at 10:21 AM on December 5, 2004

Whoops, on returning, I guess you have a bit of a problem. While tramadol isn't chemically a opioid exactly, it has the same effects more-or-less. People readily abuse tramadol in a manner very similar to "true" opiates (they both exert their effect on the same receptor). So, testing positive for an "opioid" that you can't easily expalin with a prescription is probably a bad thing.

Also, don't assume you won't test positive if you haven't taken a dose in the past 30 hours. The elimination rate above is rough, and lots of factors can influence the rate of elimination (e.g., elimination will take a lot longer if you're renally or hepatically impaired in any way, or if you've used other drugs metabolized by the same cytochrome P-450 enzyme, et cetera…).
posted by trident at 10:46 AM on December 5, 2004

Last dose was at about 8 last night, I don't take any other drugs.
posted by kamylyon at 11:53 AM on December 5, 2004

Well, the prescription issue is still unsaid, so I'm going to guess that it doesn't exist. If that's the case, it depends on who the company is. If it's for a floor job at a department store, or something like that, you're probably SOL. If it's for a white-collar job, have a frank discussion with the HR folks.

The firm wants to hire you- remember that. They're not interested in busting you, as it means they've wasted time. Lay it out, emphasize that it's a one-time deal because it was the weekend and you were in a pinch, and ask them to move it back a few days. They'll probably agree, or ask you to do it twice.
posted by mkultra at 12:56 PM on December 5, 2004

for mkultra:

Just making sure...

and no it's not prescribed to me, it's some Mom had on hand.
posted by kamylyon at 10:09 AM PST on December 5

posted by Stynxno at 3:24 PM on December 5, 2004

Well, this isn't an exact science, but if you drink so much water that your urine sample is too diluted to test, it's not unheard-of that they'd ask you to come back for a second test. On the other hand, some workplaces count a too-diluted sample as a positive result. Kind of a crap-shoot, really.
posted by willpie at 3:44 PM on December 5, 2004

I try not to drink water....

Just kidding, I'm just not going to worry about. If I don't get the job I'll move back to Colorado that much sooner.
posted by kamylyon at 4:05 PM on December 5, 2004

grrr, that's worry about it
posted by kamylyon at 4:06 PM on December 5, 2004

It wouldn't hurt to drink a bunch of cranberry juice tonight. It may not make you clean, but then again it might.
posted by spaghetti at 5:40 PM on December 5, 2004

Tell them about it but tell them you have a perscription. You have an excuse. Use it.

posted by pwb503 at 6:22 PM on December 5, 2004

Tell them you can't have the drug screening on Monday because you took a prescription drug on Saturday and you don't want to waste their time or their lab fees until your urine is clear. What do you have to lose by doing that?
posted by Sidhedevil at 6:30 PM on December 5, 2004

there's a 48 hour turnaround time from the interview to the drug screening and the postmaster already fudged it by a day...

oh yeah, this is for a post office job, btw.
posted by kamylyon at 9:17 PM on December 5, 2004

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