A drug screening can happen for a variety of reasons. You may have to take one when you are trying to start a new job. Or sometimes your employer will require you to take random drug testing throughout your employment.
In some situations, you may even have to take a drug test after an automotive accident or work-related incident. A drug test might be part of a criminal rehabilitation program you’re in.
Regardless of your reasons, if you’re taking buprenorphine-based medications as part of your recovery, you might be nervous about whether or not they will show positive for opiates on your drug screening.
In this article, we’ll cover all the details you need to know about these recovery medications and if you need to worry.
What is Buprenorphine (Suboxone)?
You may have never heard of the word buprenorphine, and that is because we often see Suboxone as the prescribed choice for recovery patients. When undergoing Medication-Assisted Treatment, the doctor will prescribe this medication to help ease the withdrawal symptoms of long-term opioid abuse.
Suboxone is a combination of Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Buprenorphine is considered an opioid agonist, so it offers similar effects of opioids but at a lower level. Naloxone prevents abuse because it blocks the euphoric effects of the drug. You can read more on Suboxone here.
Will Buprenorphine Show Up On Drug Screenings?
There are many reasons why you wouldn’t want your employer to know that you’re on medication to prevent opioid dependence. While it might not be illegal or wrong to take Suboxone, you can still face discrimination in the workplace due to your recovery.
If your employer gives you a 12-panel urine screening, it will test for buprenorphine and methadone. These are both used to treat opioid and heroin addiction. The detection period is around one to three days after using Suboxone but can run as long as ten.
The problem is, there is no sure-fire way of knowing if these will show up on your drug screening or impact your ability to get or keep your job. Some companies may use a different test that doesn’t screen for Suboxone, so it’s hard to say for sure.
The one thing that you should know is that a positive test for buprenorphine will not cause a positive test for opiates or opioids. If they’re testing for abuse of prescription painkillers, it will not show positive, which is the main concern of most employers.
Can My Employer Discriminate Against Me During Recovery?
Recovering from addiction is hard enough. The last thing you want to worry about is what your employer will think. If you’re currently employed, you may have to undergo random drug testing, depending on your career. If you’re trying to get a job, the employer may drug test you for some of the previously mentioned drugs.
In reality, discrimination from employers is something that a lot of recovering addicts think about, and for a good reason. There is a lot of misunderstanding around recovery medications, and employers don’t know or understand the truth.
Many people think that Suboxone is a crutch used by drug addicts to continue their addiction without the negative stigma. In reality, buprenorphine and methadone exist to decrease the likelihood of relapse and death, and these are considered a necessary medication to aid in recovery.
That said, you have the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on your side. This law protects you by ensuring that individuals with disabilities are not discriminated against in the workplace. What this means for you is that if you have a diagnosed substance abuse disorder but are not currently using the drug, it is illegal for your employer to fire you, deny you a promotion, or deny you a job because he or she knows you have a history of addiction.
On a separate note, the power lies in your hands. This law does not mean that you can endanger people or cause problems within the company. You must remain sober and only continue using the prescribed recovery drugs.
The Bottom Line on Drug Screenings in the Workplace
You need to tell your employer about your situation before undergoing a drug screening. If you’re taking buprenorphine, it may show up on the screening, and then your employer will feel that you were dishonest. Honesty is the best policy in this situation, and if you are a vital part of the company, they’ll be happy to hear that you’re recovering and will not hold it against you.
If you feel that your current or future employer is discriminating against you, file a charge through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They investigate the case, which may lead to a settlement. While this might not seem like the best choice, it provides you with a voice to defend your right to recover from addiction.