We have written several blog posts about how individuals attempt cheating a drug test.
One of our blog posts discusses how difficult it is to cheat an oral fluid drug test. A urine drug test can be cheated by adulteration, substitution, or dilution.
Adulteration occurs when a foreign substance is introduced into the specimen that attempts to mask the illegal substance. Substitution occurs when a donor attempts to switch their specimen with someone else’s specimen. Dilution occurs when a donor attempts to flush their system of the illegal substance by drinking excessive amounts of fluid.
An oral fluid drug test, that is sent to the laboratory for testing, thwarts all three of these possibilities. Adulteration is not possible because the donor is not allowed to place anything in their mouth for ten minutes before the drug test. Oral fluid cannot be substituted since a company representative is observing the drug test. It is not possible to dilute oral fluid in the mouth again because nothing is allowed in the mouth for ten minutes prior to the drug test.
Also, drug testing after an accident can be problematic if only a urine specimen program is used. Here, the oral fluid drug test provides an easy way to perform a drug test without taking a trip to a collection center.
We read this article from Current Consulting Group that addresses the subject.
What follows is a summary of the article. We encourage you to read it in detail.
“There are various barriers to combat efforts to cheat a drug test.
The Mind of a Cheater
There is a myriad of products available today with cheating in mind. Synthetic urine, a substance easily mixed with water, can be substituted into a collection container with relative ease. Concealed devices designed to maintain a certain temperature of a liquid are plentiful. There are even prosthetic devices with built-in reservoirs designed to cheat a directly observed collection. Additionally, an individual may consume a product claiming to cleanse their system of any illicit substances prior to providing a sample.
Despite the wide range of product options available to potential cheaters, there are barriers in place at various stages of the drug testing process.
Barrier #1: The Employer
It is important that a company has a drug testing program in place. Next, it is critical to follow proper protocols when subjecting an employee or applicant to a drug test. For instance, does an applicant have a certain time frame to complete their pre-employment or random drug test?
Following proper protocols is especially important when dealing with post-accident or reasonable suspicion situations. The best practice is to have the employee escorted by a supervisor to the collection facility immediately following the accident, or a determination that a reasonable suspicion test is needed. This is necessary so the employee does not have an opportunity to obtain a substitute sample or adulterant. Furthermore, it is far safer to escort an individual when impairment may be an issue.
Barrier #2: The Collection Facility
The second barrier occurs at the collection facility. If you have ever taken a drug test it is likely that you were given instructions by the collector. Showing valid photo identification, washing hands, emptying pockets, and removing outer clothing are all steps taken to uphold the integrity of the collection process, ultimately yielding a reliable result.
Barrier #3: The Laboratory
The third and final barrier of the drug testing process designed to stop an employee from cheating happens at the laboratory. In addition to testing for certain illicit substances, most samples undergo validity testing as well. There are certain known characteristics of a urine sample, and the laboratory can verify these characteristics with a series of validity tests. This process includes checking the pH of a sample, the creatinine concentration, and the specific gravity of the sample.
What Options Do Employers Have?
These cheating techniques are primarily associated with urine testing. Because of this, many employers are turning to alternative methods of drug testing. Saliva and hair testing have grown in popularity over the last couple of decades, and both methods make cheating the test a challenge for even the most determined donor.
Safety is the driving factor of any drug testing program, regardless of the method of testing used. Understanding how individuals may cheat a drug test, and how to mitigate those situations, is important to any employer wishing to uphold a successful program. Diligence from employers, collection facilities, and laboratories continues to make cheating difficult, but utilizing other testing options may be more appropriate depending on the goals of the company’s drug testing program.”
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has since 1999 been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. To learn more, Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the website at randisiandassociates.com