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How to read Urine Drug Test Results

Urine drug test strips are a popular and inexpensive way to screen for the use of drugs. These easy to use tests determine if a certain level of drugs, also known as the detection level, are present in someone’s urine. The test does not tell you how much or how little of the drug is present , but only if it is above the detection level for the test.

Faint Line on Drug Test – what does it mean?

The intensity of the color of a line on the drug test does not mean anything and should not be interpreted as a measure of the amount of drugs. A faint line on a drug test is still a line, so if you have a faint line in the “T” area of the test then you have a negative drug screen. As you can see in the negative test results photos below, the THC strip is much lighter in color than the OXY test strip, but the test result is still negative.

One of the most common questions we receive is about the faint lines on a drug test and we have confirmed this answer with the manufacturer of the tests – the intensity of the color of the line does not mean anything on the test. Any line in the “T” region of the test strip, dark or very light, is considered a negative test.

How to read iCup Drug Test

The Control Region (C) line must appear at the top of each testing window. The results are read for each numbered line below the (C) line and the number corresponds to the drug letters printed below the window. Below are two examples, one with a 13 panel iCup with all negative results and the other showing a positive result for Opiates and Marijuana.

NEGATIVE Drug Test Results

Two lines of any color intensity appear. A colored line appears in the Control Region (C) and a colored line appears in the Test Region (T).

Even if the line that appears is faint, the result should be considered negative. The possible shades of colored lines in the T Region may vary.

What does a Negative Drug Test result mean? Negative means that the concentrations in the urine sample are below the designated cut-off levels for a particular drug tested. A negative drug test result does not always mean there are no drugs present in the person being tested, it means there are not drugs present above the cut off limit. For example, the cutoff level for marijuana is 50 ng/mL, therefore a person with only 30 ng/mL of THC in their system would test negative on a marijuana drug test. The cutoff levels are suggested by SAMHSA and used to prevent too many false positives for traces amounts of a drug in someone’s system. The cutoff levels are different for each drug and most workplace drug testing use a standard set of cutoff levels. However, law enforcement and addiction treatment programs will sometimes use a lower cutoff level in their testing since they have a zero tolerance policy. If you are using a home drug test, you will want to make sure the cut off level of the test you are using is the same as the one you will be taking elsewhere. Please check your instructions for more information on the cut-off levels being used in your test.


One Line appears in the Control Region (C) and NO line appears in the Test Region (T).

Positive means that the drug concentration in the urine sample is greater than the designated cut-off level for a specific drug and additional confirmatory drug testing may be needed. Please check your instructions for more information on the cut-off levels being used in your test.

What is an INVALID test result?

No line appears in the Control Region (C).

The most likely reasons for this are insufficient specimen volume, incorrect procedural techniques or a faulty test. Please read the directions again and repeat the test with a new test card. If result is still invalid, please contact Home Health Testing at 1-888-448-5657.

How to read a urine drug test result with photo examples of the tests. Answers to your questions about a faint line on a drug test and what it means.

Interpreting Test Results

Your First Check® Home Drug Test will provide you with results in 5 minutes. You should not wait longer than 10 minutes to read the results.

A red or pink line must appear next to the word “Control” to indicate the test has worked correctly.

A red or pink colored line next to the word “Control” AND a red or pink colored line next to the word “Drug” indicates a Negative Result for that drug, regardless of how dark or faint the lines may appear. No future testing is required.

A red or pink colored line next to the word “Control” and NO line next to the word “Drug” indicated a Preliminary Positive for that drug.

If after 10 minutes NO line appears next to the word “Control,” the result in Invalid.

Before taking the test, users must read all of the content in the package insert.

To Learn More

Watch the Interpreting Test Results Video

Free Laboratory Confirmation

The First Check Home Drug Test is considered a screening test. We recommend all preliminary positive results be sent to the laboratory for free confidential confirmatory testing.

Our state-of-the-art lab is one of the nation′s premier forensic drug testing facilities and uses Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS), the gold standard for lab testing most drugs. We offer the most accurate result possible, while maintaining strict confidentiality.

How to Send Your Sample

First Check customers can send their sample to the lab using the pre-addressed mailing box included in the First Check Home Drug Test kit.

More on Taking the Test

  • How The Test Works
  • Drug Test Instructions
  • Drug Testing Tips
  • Detection Cut-Off Levels
  • Drug Test FAQs
  • Expert Lab Testing

Expert Lab Testing

Your First Check ® Home Drug Test sample can be sent to our state-of-the-art test laboratory for free confirmatory testing.

Ensure you interpret the results of your First Check Home Drug Test by reading this. Confirm a positive result with free expert lab testing. ]]>