The Effects of Herbs, Spices and Foodstuffs on Urine Screens for Drug Abuse by Immunoassay

A. Battah, K. Hadidi, T. AbuRajai


Drug abusers are highly motivated to obtain negative results on urine drug abuse screens and may attempt to subvert the process by trying to adulterate their samples. One of the processes thought to make drug abusers escape a positive urine drug screen is the ingestion of different herbal and other foodstuff products along with drug intake. This project aimed to evaluate the effects of common traditional herbal drinks, spices and some foodstuffs in Jordan on producing false negative urine drug screens for opiates, amphetamines and cannabinoid with fluorescent polarizing immunoassay (FPIA). Thirty one products were divided into two groups;the first group’sproducts were extracted with methanol while the second group’s were extracted with water. Urine drug free samples were spiked with each product or its extract in addition to a known concentration of opiates, amphetamines or cannabinoids. The spiked urine samples were analyzed using FPIA. It was found that none of the 31 products had modified the drug screens using FPIA to reduce or increase the level of the spiked drug in the urine sample. It was concluded that these products did not produce falsenegative results with urine drug screenings by means of FPIA as it is believed by drug abusers. However, such conclusions should be taken cautiously since thisis not an idealevaluation. It would be ideal to apply such a study on normal volunteers to evaluate the actual disposition of the ingested substances and the drugs as well as their interactions within the body, but it cannot be conducted due to ethical considerations.


Urine, drug abusescreen, adulteration, immunoassay

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