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Lab Work Prior to a Job
Prior to a job, many companies require a routine physical exam. Part of that is a urine screen as well as blood work. Should "drugs" be found, the individual is usually disqualified. Let me describe two recent problems, keeping in mind that Adderall is an amphetamine.
Don is a 27 year-old with significant ADD. He has used Adderall for school and work with good results. He had been successful in obtaining a job with a major company and everyone was very pleased. Then I received a panic call. An illegal stimulant had been found and he was going to lose the job. He quickly contacted the lab and told them he took Adderall. He had not told them this before. He was given about twelve hours to get a letter with his diagnosis and medication treatment. We just made it, and he has the job.
In the second situation, Ron had the lab work done prior to being offered a job. He received a call saying he was rejected for the job because drugs had been found in his system. He made the same frantic phone calls and was told to get proof that he used medication prescribed for ADD. He was able to get a copy of my prescription from the pharmacy, which was adequate, and he did get the job.
Neither of my ADD patients wanted to reveal the fact that they used medication. They had not told their employer that they had ADD and felt the employer would find out if they wrote it on the questionnaire they had been given prior to the lab tests.
I don't know if an employer bothers to look at lab results. They are basically told the applicant was OK or failed. I'm not sure they look further if told OK.
But what seems clear, based on these two recent cases, is that Adderall will be found as an illegal substance unless the examiner knows beforehand that it will be present.
The question is then asked, "How long before a test do I need to stop using it to test negative?" This is hard to answer because the chemical can stay in the system for some time after the last dose, even if it is no longer clinically effective. The best advice I can give is to be honest with the lab tech and list the medications you are taking. I know of no problems when dextroamphetamine or methylphenidate (Ritalin and its related medications) have been found during the testing.