Urine Drug testing
Urine drug tests screen for certain medications and drugs.
This type of test is most commonly used to detect substance use issues and banned substances in the workplace.
Doctors sometimes request a urine drug screen if they think a patient has been using illegal drugs or misusing prescription drugs.
What Are Drugs?
Drugs are chemicals or plant products that affect the mind and body. Drugs include legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco, as well as over-the-counter medications, prescription medicines, and illegal substances.
When used appropriately, prescription and over-the-counter medicines treat medical conditions and improve a person’s health. However, problematic usage of drugs can lead to health risks, including addiction. Substance use can be separated into two general categories, depending on how the drug is obtained:
Drug use: Drug use refers to using any illegal drug. People who use these substances ingest, inhale, smoke, or inject them into their bodies. Illegal drugs are often used for their mind-altering characteristics but may be taken for other purposes, such as weight loss or enhancing athletic performance.
Drug misuse: Drug misuse refers to the use of medication in a way that is unhealthy or differs from what is recommended by a doctor. Drug misuse includes problematic usage of alcohol, tobacco, and over-the-counter medicines, as well as misuse of prescription drugs.
Drug use and misuse can lead to the development of an addiction. Addiction, also called a substance use disorder, is a chronic disease in which repeated drug use leads to changes in the brain. Addiction is complex, involving the brain, genetics, as well as a person’s environment and life experiences. A person with an addiction continues to use drugs compulsively, despite negative consequences.
Patients concerned about drug use, misuse, or addiction should discuss concerns with their doctor or a mental health professional. There are many effective treatment options for substance use disorders and addiction.