Drug Testing Facts

8 Aug

Cheating is Widespread

While there’s no official numbers nor any real way to determine how many people are fooling drug tests, two figures available do point to how widespread and normal it is for people to “cheat” on their drug test:

  • In June 2010, a county program in Oregon responsible for dealing with drug tests (related to parole and probation) reported 20% to 30% of urine samples submitted were suspected as adulterated with either dillution products or substitution urine – either fake urine, someone elses urine, or in one case, elk urine. Brilliant.
  • From 2008 to 2010, Legacy health Central Lab in Portland, Oregon reports 1%-2.5% of urine samples given to them were actually composed of synthetic urine.

The irony with this type of data collection is that of course these labs have no way of reporting on all the other samples that they did not identify as fake or adulterated.


…And Sometimes it gets a Bit Dangerous.

Like when kids poison themseles by taking a dozen oversized Vitamin B3 pills with the idea that you can do a niacin flush to pass a drug test.

Like this kid who went to the hospital. And still ended up failing a test for marijuana.

Spice Drug Tests Are Here

And by the way, yes, a drug test for spice, the synthetic weed that’s currently in between legal and sorta kinda legal, depending on where you are in the USA, does indeed exists.  Testing for Spice is being implemented by the Airforce currently and it’s already available for parents to buy as part of a home drug test – i.e. the Synthetic Marijuana Testing Kit from Confirm Biosciences will test for the metabolites in K2 + Spice.

Sorry kids! The fun is over.

. . .

How Did This Nonsense Start Anyway?

We can thank Ronald Reagan for making drug testing such a normal part of getting (and keeping) a job. In 1986 he signed Executive Order 12564 which led to drug testing for federal workers.

This started the slippery slope into both the public and private job sectors, propelled forward by a 1989 court ruling that made it okay for employers to give a drug test to employees without cause or suspicion after it was determined that such tests did not violate a persons Constitutional right against unreasonable search..

Isn’t that amazing? Taking fluids from your body, without cause of suspicion, does not violate our Constitutional protection against unreasonable search.

BTW – Get Paid For Your Time, Eh?

Suprisingly, the law support the idea of compensenting employees for the time they spent taking the drug test. You can about this here and here. In effect, the US Dept. of Labor says that if a company requires you to do something as part of your job – such as a drug test or a physical – the time you spend taking the test is to be considered hours worked. Amazingly, even the time it took you to drive there and back and any waiting around in the doctors office is all on the clock.

Side note: I’ve had to take 3 employment drug tests and it has never been compensated by the company, nor was it ever addressed one way or another. I suspect that if a company doesn’t want to compensate you in this way, there’s little real world action an employee can take. At this point, he or she often doesn’t even have the job or has just started – making it very shakey ground to start a battle over.

Have you ever gotten paid for your time taking a piss test?

This is what lab techs are doing with your urine samples. :)

This is what lab techs are doing with your urine samples. 🙂

Photo by epSos .de


Tidbits and Notes on Drug Testing

Additional information you might find helpful or interesting.

Hair drug testing can actually go back a year.

Son of a bitch!

BUT – it rarely does. For one thing, because the length of the hair sample is inherently mapped to the past time length that can be looked at, it doesn’t really make sense for companies to mandate year long tests. That would require about 6 inches of hair.

On the other hand, the standard is an inch and half, and that gives them a 90 day window.

These hair tests are pretty precise, and will detect even one time usage in that time frame. You can read more about how this all works by reading our guide to the Hair Follicle Test.

While you’re at it, you might also be interesting in checking out the GC/MS Drug Test page, as well as the page on the Swab Drug Test.

What About Blood Tests?

Blood tests are an accurate method for detecting drugs but….

  • The time frame for detection is very small – just a couple hours to 24 hours for THC, depending on how sensitive the test is and how heavy of a smoker the blood comes from.
  • Companies don’t really use them, right? If I’m not mistaken, I think it’s actually illegal in the US for companies to conduct a drug test via blood instead of of urine, hair, or saliva. (Source Needed)
  • It’s not PC. Somehow people are all passive when it comes to giving up their saliva or pee, but not cool with having their blood sucked outta there veins. Go figure.

It’s a Constant Cat and Mouse Game

Drug testing companies and products to pass drug tests are constantly in a cat and mouse game. Products will work until the adulerant used to trick the test is discovered by the testing companies and then screened for as part of the test itself. For example, potassium nitrates were once a common adulterant in “detox cleansing” drinks but now all labs screen for their presence. If discovered, the test is either failed or voided.

What About Those Shampoos?

Shampoos for passing a hair test probably won’t work, not even necessarily because the companies know how to spot them, just simply because they don’t well. Products like Zydot Shampoo aren’t reliable, some consider them a straight up scam or rip off. In fact, none of these shampoos have a good track record as far as I can tell.

Would love for you to prove me wrong on this one.

So How do Detox Drinks Work Then?

Detox drinks work by temporarily lowering or diluting the detectable rate of drug metabolites in the urine. This is a temporary effect and its why a person following the instructions reads that they only have a small window of time to take (and pass) their test. Detection levels below 50 nl/mg are usually what it takes to pass such a test; however, detox drinks might not have as much success dilluting the sample well enough to pass a 15 nl/mg drug test. Lucky for the average employee that most employers use what’s called an EMIT drug test that typically use a 50/nl mg cut-off level for marijuana. BUT if you fail that test, the results will likely be confirmed with a more precise, all-around-better test called a GC/MS drug test, which will almost certainly use a 15 nl/mg cut off level for marijuana.

FYI, if you’re curious as to what something like this looks like, check out QCarbo32. It’s more or less like all detox drinks on the market.

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