Cheating drug tests has caused more and more companies to have a trained Drug Test Technician (DTT) visit their offices, warehouse, manufacturing plant, or other sites and have the actual drug test urine specimen collections performed right there, where their employees are “on the job”. A DTT considers a properly-performed drug test collection their top priority. This includes taking the special precautions necessary to ensure that the donor (employee) is not attempting to “substitute” or adulterate” their specimen.
In the case of “on-site” collections, the donor is routinely required to report immediately and directly to the Drug Test Technician (DTT) when notified of drug test. The donor is not permitted to “go the the locker room”, “run down the hall”, or “get something out of the car” (often-used ploys to enable a cheater to retrieve adulterants or substitutes) before seeing the DTT and providing a specimen.
For example: donors must present a photo ID. They must wash their hands before entering the collection room to reduce the risk of smuggling substances under their fingernails or on their hands; they are not allowed in the bathroom with coats, purses, bags, or other objects that may be used to conceal an adulterant. Soaps, other possible adulterants are removed from bathroom; toilet water is tinted blue so it can’t be used to dilute a sample; they are allowed a maximum of four minutes to exit with a proper specimen.
As technology becomes more advanced and drug testing adapts to the creative methods of cheating drug tests, drug abusers will also have a harder time getting away with it.
Labs have greatly improved their methods in detecting those specimens that have been tampered with by the donor.
Cheating drug tests by “adulterating” urine samples, or altering a specimen by changing its concentration, is a common practice that drug abusers use to hide the presence of drugs in their system. Typical adulteration occurs by diluting the urine, either by adding water to their specimen or by drinking large amounts of water to over-hydrate themselves. By diluting the specimen, the concentration of drugs becomes less, sometimes falling below the established cut-off marks for detection. Adulteration tactics also include adding other substances to the urine sample (such as soap, bleach, vinegar, or apple juice), substituting urine from an animal or another person, and many other more elaborate schemes.
Previously, some abusers were able to pass a drug test by using one of these strategies. But new lab technologies are now detecting drugs in samples that were altered and un-testable before. Today, lab tests measuring specific gravity, pH, creatinine levels, and temperature are determining “positive” and “negative” results – and attempts at cheating drug tests – more accurately than ever.
Attempt to cheat: A diluted sample, since it will have an abnormally low creatinine and specific gravity level
Result: The applicant must submit another sample, often directly observed by a same sex collector
Attempt to cheat: Samples substituted with urine from another source (e.g., a friend, spouse, commercially available urine, even an animal)
Result: The specimen will not usually pass temperature tests (checked by the collector); those that do pass within the accepted range usually will not pass the specific gravity tests (checked by the lab).
Adulterated samples will throw pH levels off or exhibit substances not normally found in urine. In cases where a definite positive or negative result cannot be determined, donors may be required to resubmit a sample under “direct observation” supervision. New lab testing methods now easily determine the presence of nitrites, such as the masking agent found in Klear®. Once nitrites are detected, further testing removes the masking effect to discover which drugs are present. Laboratories are constantly updating testing methods as new adulterant products enter the market.
Using commercial “screens” (marketed everywhere, including all over the Internet) like Goldenseal, QuickKlean, or Mary Jane Super Clean 13. They do little more than dilute a sample. Any of them will “flag” the urine sample at the lab as “tampered-with”. Under U.S. Department of Transportation regulations, D.O.T -covered employees whose sample is determined to be tampered with are automatically reported as “positive” on their drug test and they must be immediately removed from their positions by their employer.
Drinking vinegar. It will lower the pH of urine, giving the lab evidence of tampering. Drinking enough to sufficiently “mask” a sample also causes violent diarrhea.
“Doping” samples with soap, salt, eye drops, or some other substance. These techniques flag the sample at the lab as “tampered-with”.
Eating red meat will raise creatinine levels in a diluted sample. (Wrong!)
Dog urine can be substituted to pass a drug test. (Wrong!)
Stealing your specimen from the lab will prevent them from processing the results. (The invalid theory being, labs never admit they lose specimens, so they would report your test as negative and you’d get hired anyway.) Wrong!
Increasing your metabolism will reduce the amount of time a drug can be detected in your system, and, eating a high calorie diet and starting an intense exercise program will do the same. (Wrong on both counts!)
This year, approximately 2,200,000 drug tests results will come back from the labs reported as “positive” for one or more drugs. A greater percentage of those this year than last year will be from cheaters who tried to “pass” and were not successful. Attempted cheaters will be caught during the specimen collection process or they will be discovered by the lab. As specimen collection procedures and lab analysis technology improves, it will be an even a greater percentage who are caught trying to beat a drug test next year and the next.
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