RDT Protocol Considers False Positives

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Research shows it is not only prescription medications, but also many over the counter medications that can affect the test. Families will need to be aware of the following prescription and non-perscription drugs that could alter the drug test:

As Bolles embarks on mandatory random drug testing, what is the contingency plan for a false positive result?

Screening tests are used in a variety of situations as a way to be able to screen a large volume of people and get quick results. In doing so, there is a rate of error in 2 ways – false negative and false positive tests. 

A false positive drug test occurs when the tests indicates that the person has illicit drugs in the system despite the person actually being drug-free. An example is the over the counter drug Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) causing a false positive result for amphetamines or methamphetamines. 

Mr. Tyler Hodges, Head of School, was interviewed to verify if this scenario has been considered and what the protocol would be to ensure the test is indeed accurate.

Mr. Hodges explained that this situation was discussed quite frequently in the planning process with Episcopal, Bishop Kenny, and Bolles.  “There is no perfectly accurate test out there, it is impossible. These companies try to minimize the false positives. The case of false positives with us would be if a student is taking a prescription medication. We are going to do a ton of communication with parents to say that ‘it is really important that you let us know if your student is on a prescription medication.’ And more importantly, it won’t be the kid that is on something they take all the time, their parents have already let us know about those.”

Mr. Hodges said that he envisions false positive situations where a student has a short-term medication that the parents forgot to let the school know.

The protocol for a false-positive test result explained by Mr. Hodges: “Whenever there is a positive test, two things will happen. First, we will wait and we will do a retest 20 minutes later. This will help determine if there was the off-chance that something happened. If you get 2 positive tests, then the next step is to reach out to the parents to say we got a positive test and ask if there is anything going on with the student that they forgot to tell us. If the parent responds that they just forgot to tell the school about a new medication that the student is taking, then we know the reason.”