A viral Facebook post proved misleading and confusing rather than informative.

You are watching: Do energy drinks affect drug tests

Published9 September 2019

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Rider Freese consequently deleted the article in question, yet she later evidenced its authenticity with a second post in i m sorry she described that she had taken it down because its famous spread had caused she to it is in inundated through friend requests and messages. Although the original write-up was deleted, social media customers have ongoing to share a screenshot the it, definition its claims continued to it is in promulgated.

The cases were inaccurate and also misleading in several ways, however they did suggest (whether intended or not) to a cons in some substance-testing ar kits that have actually caused unauthorized substances to wrongly test optimistic for drugs such as methamphetamines.

Experts told united state that a false confident of this type could, in principle, be developed in details tests of a sample of Red Bull or other energy drinks, or a to pee sample taken indigenous a human who had actually consumed the beverages. However, we discovered no evidence of one actual sample of together false positive test results.


The very first point come clarify is that neither Red Bull nor Bang nor any kind of other power drink includes methamphetamine, buprenorphine (often offered as suboxone), oxycodone (often offered as OxyContin), or MDMA (commonly recognized as ecstasy or X). What the picture alluded come (whether knowingly or unknowingly) to be the phenomenon the false positives, in i beg your pardon a drug test incorrectly indicates the presence of a substance that is not present, one of two people in a biological specimen (usually urine and also blood) or a sample that the substance in question. The ingredients of both Red Bull and Bang can be found provided here. 

Despite driver Freese’s case that the energy-drink samples tested hopeful for various drugs, it’s no clear the the urine check cup in the 2nd photograph illustrates any such confident tests. The test strips on urine screen-test cups, such together the one presented in the photograph, invariably suggest a an unfavorable result where two horizontal red bars room visible. The only plainly visible check strips in driver Freese’s photograph present horizontal, twin red lines, suggesting an unfavorable results for unidentified substances. 

The 2nd misleading attribute of the image is the Rider Freese said she used a urine display screen test to display screen for methamphetamine, buprenorphine, and also oxycodone in a sample the Red Bull. This makes small sense, since that kind of test is provided to screen for illicit substances in a person’s urine, no in a beverage. 

Testing substances, rather than biological specimens, is done via a “presumptive substance test.” The common use of such a test would be where police found a flour in someone’s car, which castle suspected could be a banned substance prefer cocaine or heroin, therefore they one of two people send a sample the the substance for activities testing, or conduct a ar test themselves.

Typically, law-enforcement agents usage a form of problem testing dubbed colorimetric testing, which involves adding a tiny sample that the questionable substance to a liquid solution, and also inducing certain chemical reactions that cause details changes in the shade of the solution. The presence or absence of those color changes indicates the feasible presence or lack of the substance gift tested.

The complying with is a advantageous and reasonably straightforward video clip guide come presumptive colorimetric drug field tests, created by Florida international University’s (FIU) national Forensic Science technology Center:


These ar tests space imperfect and also can sometimes create false positives. However, the preliminary or “presumptive” an outcome they produce is commonly enough to provide a law-enforcement agent probable cause to do an arrest. After that, samples are commonly sent to a laboratory for “confirmatory” testing, which one of two people confirms the early stage result, or shows that the initial an outcome was a false positive. 

Many exclusive companies design various kinds of field-test kits and sell them to law-enforcement agencies throughout the united States. Those kits differ in their reliability, specificity, and sensitivity, and also a pattern of false positives has emerged in recent years, with assorted innocuous family substances arriving as illicit drugs. For example, the Marijuana plan Project has documented situations in which cacao tested positive for hashish, flour tested positive for cocaine, and also soap tested hopeful for gamma-Hydroxybutyric mountain (GHB), i m sorry is supplied recreationally and also as a date rape drug. 

In 2017, Georgia woman Dasha Fincher was arrested and also imprisoned for 3 months, awaiting confirmatory check results, ~ police carry out a ar test top top a problem that produced a false confident for methamphetamine but was in fact cotton candy.

In principle, it’s feasible that a sample of Red Bull, Bang, or part other energy drink can produce a false optimistic for among the drugs stated in the July 2019 meme. However, we uncovered no proof of an actual pattern of Red Bull or Bang creating such false positives, which considerably undermines the case that Red Bull “pops” for methamphetamine and Bang “pops” because that ecstasy. 

It should likewise be detailed once again that Rider Freese check to assistance her insurance claims with photographic evidence of a urine check cup, which is a various test and simply would not be supplied to check a sample the a beverage (or any kind of other substance) as opposed to a pee sample. Moreover, that photo did not clearly show a positive test for any kind of substance.

It’s feasible but unlikely that a to pee sample listed by someone who drank a deserve to of energy drink could test confident for methamphetamine or other drugs. Also if that did, it would only be the an outcome of a false positive, just as in the instance of problem testing.

Kirk Grates, chemistry research task manager in ~ FIU’s National Forensic Science modern technology Center, said centregalilee.com: “… There may be some analytes that are contained within these previously mentioned energy drinks that might possibly reason a false positive.”

Certain innocuous items have been recognized to cause false positives for assorted drugs in individuals who consume them before providing a urine sample. For example, the over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID) ibuprofen has caused urine samples to provide false positives because that phencyclidine (PCP), and other NSAIDs have detailed false positives for marijuana. The pee of people who usage a Vick’s inhaler has been well-known to carry out a false hopeful for methamphetamine. 

In principle, it’s possible that details ingredients in Red Bull, Bang, or other power drinks might create false positives for the drugs listed in driver Freese’s meme, yet we discovered no evidence of an actual sample to this effect. The photographs posted by rider Freese did not constitute evidence of a positive result for any kind of substance, and, anyway, she declared to have actually used a urine screen test cup to test a sample the Red Bull itself, quite than the urine of an separation, personal, instance who had consumed the drink.

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On the whole, we found no evidence to assistance the details claims do in the meme, which to be in any kind of case to express in confusing and also misleading terms. However, the meme may have alluded (whether intended or unknowingly) come the opportunity that the power drinks in question, like other innocuous products, could in theory develop false-positive test outcomes for the drugs provided in the meme, either through substance or to pee testing. 

As such, we worry a rating of “Mostly False.” 

Published9 September 2019

Kelly, John. “False Positives same False Justice.” The Marijuana policy Project. 2008.