As long as there have been drug tests, there have been people who have tried to cheat their way out of getting detected. And like some sort of bodily fluid arms race, once a method of drug test cheating is thwarted, would-be cheaters come up with another method of deception. It’s why your drug testing program is only as good as your safeguards. But fear not. We’re here with information about the ways people are trying to cheat the system and how you can help protect the integrity of your drug testing program.

While there are no national statistics on drug test tampering, given the increase in drug use, it stands to reason that donors are cheating and potentially cheating a lot. Here’s how they’re doing it:

Cheat #1 – Substitution 
Some individuals don’t want to mess with flushing their system or adding something to their specimen, so try to bring in “clean” urine. Where do they get it? That’s when things get interesting. Some ask a trusted friend or family member. Others go to the Internet, where they buy synthetic urine – proof that you can buy nearly anything online. These synthetic urine alternatives often have the pH, specific gravity, and creatine needed to successfully pass a drug test. This method has created a cottage industry that aims to help donors bring these drug-free samples in at the proper temperature and in a variety of discrete ways. Lastly, some people have resorted to injecting clean urine directly into their bladders. This is, of course, a perilous option, but it sheds light on the lengths to which some people will go to pass a drug test.

How to beat the cheat:
Temperature is an important indicator. Urine specimens need to be in the 90 to 100 degree range. Additionally, a trained drug test collector knows “by ear” when a donor is not providing a specimen “naturally.” That said, a laboratory also completes specimen validity testing to ensure that a specimen is legitimate.

Cheat #2 – Adulterants
This technique involves adding something to the urine specimen after it is voided from the body using an additive that has been smuggled into the collection site. The list of adulterants is as varied as it is strange and can include anything from eye drops to dish soap and even drain cleaner. People trying to alter their drug tests can also buy a variety of commercial products that claim to interfere with the drug testing process.

How to beat the cheat:
Collectors are trained to ask donors to empty their pockets before entering the restroom. The laboratory is also poised to detect most of these abnormalities using specimen validity testing. Once these deviations are discovered, the specimen can undergo additional testing to identify an invalid drug test. 

Cheat #3 – Dilution
Very often, individuals will try and flush all evidence of illicit drug use by downing massive amounts of liquids or water. Companies even offer additives, marketed as “detox drinks,” that enhance the flushing approach. This practice involves drinking the additive and following that up with more fluids to flush the drugs and their metabolites out of their system.

How to beat the cheat:
Take a second drug test specimen at a different time. Look out for a specimen that seems diluted and send that specimen in for further testing.

Alternative drug testing using oral fluid and hair is also very popular and can help to prevent all three forms of the urine drug test cheating we’ve covered. Supplying drug users with a way to cheat drug tests is big business, so it’s best to keep current and stay diligent. There are thousands of websites that discuss ways donors try to cheat their drug tests. Employers and collectors should visit such sites, learn how they are trying to falsify results, and make changes accordingly. Lastly, choose a drug testing provider you can trust.  The right collection and testing partner can help to ensure the integrity of your drug test results.

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