ADHD meds show up on drug test, get teen fired

Posted at 9:40 PM, Sep 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-21 21:40:17-04

SOUTH LEBANON, Ohio – His prescription medicine got him fired. Now a 17-year-old is telling a cautionary tale for everyone who takes medication.

It could happen to you.

Noah Jacon-Duffy says he lost his bagging job at Kroger because his ADHD medication registered as amphetamines in a drug screen.

Noah comes across as a pretty typical teen. He attends the Warren County Career Center, golfs for Little Miami High School and picked up a job at Kroger over the summer. When he went for a drug screen for his job, the tester told him not to worry.

"She said, 'OK, we're going to do a mouth swab drug test,' and I was like, 'OK,'" he said.

"She said, 'Are you on any medication?' and I said, 'Yeah' and I told her, and she was like, 'OK,  I don't think that will pop up or anything.'"

But it did pop up – 2 ½ weeks after he started his job.

That's when Noah got a termination letter from General Information Services, the drug screening company that contracts with Kroger.

How could that be, he thought, especially because Noah's mother, Michelle, was already in talks with the store manager.

"During our defending time, I said, 'Is he going to be suspended?' And the manager said, 'No, nothing like that will happen,'" said Michelle Jacon-Duffy. "And then it eventually did happen. He was terminated."

But that didn't last. After the family's efforts, Kroger reinstated Noah. But other families need to beware, his mother said. And companies need to be upfront.

"I definitely would say that this information needs to be upfront prior to the drug screen, not weeks after they've been terminated. That's not the way to go about it. This could have been prevented," she said.

"I was more than willing to give any and all information about his prescription medication prior to the drug screen, but it wasn't anything that they wanted at the time."

After all of that, the store manager called Noah's mother to say Noah had his job back and to ask if  he come back immediately. But Michelle thinks her son is owed an apology.

"I would like an apology. He was humiliated.  He felt like he was thrown under the bus and he didn't deserve that," she said.

Kroger declined comment for this story. The company said it does not discuss personnel matters

In the meantime, Noah is back at Kroger working a shift for a friend, but he hasn't decided if he wants to continue there long-term.

Many companies routinely test for drugs, so if you have questions about drug screens and medications you are taking, ask your doctor if they will show up on drug tests.

If you have a drug test, you may want to let the tester know about your medications ahead of time.