Pass Drug Tests
Learn How to Pass a Drug Test
Many employers require that potential applicants take a drug test as part of the hiring process. If you have taken certain drugs or medications, then you may test positive on such a drug test, which could spell disaster for your ability to get a job. Some employers even require ongoing drug tests, which you would have to be able to pass consistently in order to maintain your employment. There are essentially two ways for you to pass a required drug test:
Not to take the drugs that are being tested for, and this is the most logical route for you to take if you are applying for employment or hope to maintain your employment. If you are taking drugs when you find out that you have to take a drug test, stop immediately. Some drugs stop being detectable within a couple of days, while others stop appearing within a couple of hours.
Attempt to tamper with the drug test through various means, which may mean that you can gain employment or maintain it, but in many states it also means that you will be breaking the law and putting yourself at risk of losing the job.
If you do decide that you want to tamper with your drug test because a drug test is required and there is no other way for you to pass it in time, the following information will be useful for you. Make sure that you are educating yourself on all aspects of the drug testing process, including what does and does not work, and what legal rights you have available to you along the way.
Types of Drug Tests
When it comes to receiving a drug test request from an employer, the most common drug test is a urine screening. What this typically requires is that you report to a collection site where your urine is collected in a secure cup, which is sealed with a tape (tamper resistant) and then express-delivered to a testing facility where it can be screened for the presence of drugs. The most common type of urine screening is a SAMHSA 5 Panel.
There are other types of drug and alcohol screening that may be employed, but it depends on the employer and what specific drug or alcohol use he or she is looking for. Some of these options include:
Hair testing, which is primarily used in United Kingdom, United States and Canadian judicial matters. The Society of Hair Testing has released guidelines that specify what markers should be tested for. These are typically used for the testing of cocaine, cannabis, amphetamine and mephedrone use.
Alcohol testing is different because alcohol does not deposit into the hair as other drugs do. The investigation procedure for alcohol, then, has to look for the products of the metabolism of ethanol instead. Alcohol testing is one of the least common forms of drug testing used for employment purposes, and so it is only generally used in very specific circumstances.
Saliva screenings and oral based drug tests are designed to detect the use of a drug within a few hours or a few days of taking it. In many cases, THC is only detectable for a period of 12 hours or less. On-site drug testing is typically allowed in this manner according to the Department of Labor, because it is testing for current or very recent drug use. Detection in a saliva test can begin nearly immediately for many substances. Saliva testing is poorly sensitive when it comes to THC use, and so detection times can generally vary significantly. Saliva tests are generally one of the easiest types of tests to falsify.
Sweat testing involves patches that are attached to the skin. They collect sweat across a lengthy period of time, typically between 10 and 14 days. These are not commonly used for employment purposes, but are most commonly used for legal and government reasons such as parole and child protective services situations. It is not likely that you will have to deal with this type of drug test, but it is still beneficial to understand how it works.
Since urine testing is the most common form of drug testing, it is important that you understand all aspects of how this test works and how you can and cannot beat it. Here are some of the most important considerations that you are going to want to make.
Avoid masking or spiking your urine sample: This is a method that people attempt to use in order to throw the testing equipment off from being able to see specific results. Commercial and over the counter chemicals that contain nitrates were used once as a means of masking THC, but these chemicals are now being tested for in most circumstances. Some of these products include:
- Instant Clean
- Terminator Gold
- Golden Seal
- Urine Luck (pyridinium chlorochromate)
- Klear (nitrite)
- THC Free (acid)
- Urinaid (glutaraldehyde)
- Mary Jane Super Clean 13
All of these products are detectable, and as such, you will fail your drug screening if you use any of them, even if they do actually work to hide the presence of drugs in your system.
Avoid the risks of diluting your sample: Diluting your sample means to reduce its concentration, thereby reducing the concentration of any drugs or drug metabolites that might be in the sample. The way that you would accomplish this is by adding more fluid to your sample. If you dilute your sample, it will lower the creatinine level and the specific gravity of the sample.
Creatinine is produced by creatine, a substance that your muscles use. Most drug testing laboratories are going to routinely test their samples in order to detect whether or not dilution has occurred. If you decide that you want to go this particular route anyway, make sure that you are using warm water because the temperature of your sample is going to be recorded. Most facilities are going to put you in a room that does not have a sink, and this is why most labs will tint the water in their toilet so that you will not be able to dilute your sample undetected.
Flushing or Internal Dilution
Many people have become convinced that by drinking water in excessive amounts, you can create a negative result without it being apparent that you cheated your drug test. This is a dangerous proposition when you consider how many people have died through the years due to water intoxication. Another reason why this is a risky proposition is because when urine is colorless, this arouses some suspicion, and it may cause your sample to be flagged. If the testing lab believes that you are cheating your sample, they may run the sample using a lower confirmation level, such as at 15 ng/mL or 15 nanograms per milliliter rather than the standard testing screen level which is 50 ng/mL. When your urine analysis is run prior to running the actual drug screen, it is going to read to the lab that your specific gravity is low, flagging your sample.
Substitution is a way that you may be able to beat your drug test, which essentially involves the substitution of your urine with a synthetic sample of urine or someone else's urine. There are two basic forms that synthetic urine comes in, one that is a liquid type and one that is a powdered concentrate.
- Liquid Type: This can be found in some smoke shops, and it is similar to the synthetic urine that is used for the calibration of lab equipment.
- Powder Type: This is a powdered concentrate that you need to be able to add to warm water. Both items are typically kept in a special delivery device that has a temperature meter.
Sample substitution is a method that will work on every type of employment urine test as long as some basic conditions are met. The first is that the temperature needs to be controlled to between 92 and 100 degrees, and the sample has to be delivered within 4 minutes. It will benefit you to have a liquid crystal thermometer that has a two-degree offset, such as the ones that are found on the collection cups. It will also benefit you to have a organic warmer that is sized properly to serve as an insulating source because normally your body regulates the temperature of your urine.
Many of these labs are now beginning to test for the presence of synthetic urine. In order to protect yourself legally, it is essential that you never engage in this type of beating your drug test if you are testing for probation, for civil service, for military or for any other government tests. If you are caught, the ramifications can be truly serious and unavoidable.
Things to Consider
The liquid pre-mixed form of the urine does have a couple of different drawbacks that you need to consider. The first is that there is no head or any layer of small bubbles that form on the surface, and there is no smell. On the other hand, powdered synthetic forms of the urine do have these things. Many different collection sites and labs are going to reject the specimen that you provide if they believe that it may be synthetic, and they may force you to urinate again, especially under their direct observation.
Another option is to substitute in the urine belonging to someone else. You are going to want to test it beforehand using a reagent panel strip, a type of drug test that you can get from a store like Walgreens. Collect fresh urine and then keep it in a refrigerated and completely sealed container, and make sure that you use it within a period of 48 hours. As time passes, the urine will naturally darken and will begin to grow bacteria, and you do not want either of these things to occur. If you need to store the urine for longer, you can freeze it. Make sure that no deterioration becomes noticeable, otherwise the laboratory may suspect.
Keep in mind that a standard employment drug test does not screen the urine for gender, age or the presence of pregnancy.
Types of Drugs Taken
The type of drug that you are taking or have taken is going to impact the drug test, because different drugs and substances linger in the system for different amounts of time. It is important for you to consider detection times when it comes to urinalysis or any other type of drug test. The following is a look at the most common drugs and substances that are tested for when it comes to employment drug testing, and how long you can expect each type of drug to present itself. Once this detection period ends, the odds are more in your favor, but you must be careful.
- Alcohol: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 6 and 24 hours.
- Amphetamines: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 1 and 5 days.
- Metamphetamine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 3 and 5 days.
- MDMA: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 72 hours.
- Barbiturates: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to one day.
- Phenobarbital: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 2 and 3 weeks.
- Benzodiazepines: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 7 days for therapeutic use or between 4 and 6 weeks for chronic use.
- Cannabis: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 2 and 7 days or up to 30 days depending on the level of use.
- Cocaine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 2 and 5 days.
- Codeine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 2 and 3 days.
- Continine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for 2 and 4 days.
- Morphine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 2 and 4 days.
- LSD: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 12 and 24 hours.
- Methadone: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 3 days.
- PCP: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 3 and 7 days for a single use or as many as 30 days for more chronic users.
Hair Drug Screening
The first thing that you need to do is completely understand how the process of hair screening actually works. For this example, we are going to use marijuana use, because of the fact that marijuana drug testing tends to be the most popular form of hair drug screening. When there are marijuana or THC metabolites in your blood, they are going to end up in your blood vessels, and those include the blood vessels in your head, and so they are filtered out through your hair as a result. These THC or marijuana metabolites are going to remain in your hair for months, serving as a permanent record of your drug use.
A hair drug test is generally going to involve the cutting of between 50 and 80 strands of hair from the very base of your head, generally around the crown. A minimum length of one inch of hair is required, so if your head does not have enough hair it will be recommended that some other type of hair be used such as facial hair, chest hair or underarm hair instead. Hair drug testing can easily go back for several months, showing all of the toxins that you have used in what is essentially a time lapse fashion. Masking your hair is not a realistic method of beating a hair drug test, because samples are washed to remove any external contaminations or products, second hand smoke for example.
Knowing What to Expect
Testing is going to require a swatch of your hair which is approximately 1/8 of an inch diameter and between an inch and 1.5 inches in length. It should be cut as close to the skin as possible. If enough hair is present on the head, then it should be cut at the crown as close to the scalp as possible. If the donor does not have any head hair, or if the head hair is shorter than 1/2 inch, then the collector may choose to use hair from another part of the body such as chest hair, underarm hair, leg hair and facial hair.
An appropriate spot is chosen for the hair collection, and a bundle of hair should be twisted, making sure that it is 1/4 inch in diameter at the minimum. This is typically achieved in the middle of the back of the head.
While the tightly twisted hair is held in one hand, the hair collection tube should be held with the free hand. The tube should enclose the twisted hair as close to the scalp as possible.
Place a twist tie over the hair below the tube in order to keep the hair intact during the shipping process. This also helps to indicate where the root end is.
Now the hair bundle should be cut as close to the skin as is possible. The collection tube should not be removed from the hair once it has been cut.
Now the collection tube should be returned to its original position in the tube holder. The twist tie should not be removed.
Lowering Toxin Levels in the Hair
This is a process that can be more difficult for some people, such as people taking synthetic drugs or cocaine, especially in people that have darker hair. The melanin or color of the hair is what is responsible for carrying the drug as opposed to keratin, which is the hair itself. Repeated use in someone who has dark hair is going to be almost impossible for you to reduce to below-detection levels.
If you are a regular smoker, you should attempt to use a clarifying shampoo on a regular basis in order to continually remove the toxins that your scalp is excreting on a daily basis.
Once again, understanding how detection times work is essential when it comes to this type of testing.
- Alcohol: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 2 days.
- Amphetamines: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 90 days.
- Metamphetamine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 90 days.
- MDMA: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 90 days.
- Barbiturates: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 90 days.
- Phenobarbital: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 90 days.
- Benzodiazepines: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 90 days.
- Cannabis: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 90 days.
- Cocaine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 90 days.
- Codeine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 90 days.
- Continine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 90 days.
- Morphine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 90 days.
- LSD: LSD is said to be undetectable in a hair drug test.
- Methadone: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 97 days.
- PCP: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 90 days.
Saliva and Oral Based Drug Screening
Saliva drug tests and oral based screens are generally designed to detect the use of drugs within a few days time. These oral fluid and saliva based drug tests have recently been becoming more prevalent as a result of their convenience, their low costs and the fact that the FDA-approved Intercept test has recently been adapted and can be given on the job, in-house for a wide variety of reasons. This Intercept test is recommended for use in return-to-duty drug testing, reasonable suspicion testing, post-accident testing, random testing and random pre-employment screenings.
It is vitally essential that you understand the detection times when it comes to this type of test. Detection of a drug in a saliva test will begin immediately upon using the drug, and then can last for several days depending on the drug. Here are some basic guidelines:
- Alcohol: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 12 and 24 hours.
- Amphetamines: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for 12 hours.
- Metamphetamine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 1 and 3 days.
- MDMA: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 25 hours.
- Barbiturates: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 1 and 2 days.
- Phenobarbital: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 4 and 7 days.
- Benzodiazepines: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 6 hours and 48 hours.
- Cannabis: Detection will continue for approximately 1 hour following ingestion, and for as many as 24 hours following other forms of use, depending on what type of use you engage in.
- Cocaine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 2 and 5 days.
- Continine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 2 and 4 days.
- Morphine: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 1 and 3 days.
- LSD: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 2 and 4 days.
- Methadone: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for up to 24 hours.
- PCP: From the time of ingestion, detection can continue for between 1 and 3 days.
Try to avoid taking the test. If you know you are being tested, and you have consumed any of these drugs within three days, then you need to be able to overcome the collection of your saliva. In order to do this, you are going to have to be able to avoid submitting your saliva, and then perform the steps that are requested on the behalf of your instructor.
When the instructor tells you to place the collection pad between your lower cheek and your gums and to rub the pad gently back and forth along your gum line until it becomes moist, you should fake this movement by rubbing the pad on your teeth.
Once the pad is moist, you are meant to leave it in place between your gums and your cheek for two full minutes. Hold it between your teeth instead.
Urban Myths Regarding Drug Testing
Here are some urban myths that you really want to dispel prior to preparing for your drug test. Putting yourself or your test sample at risk over these particular myths is a waste of time, and potentially a risk of a job as well.
You will not test positively for smoking due to secondhand smoke. The reason for this is because the cut offs on these tests are set low so that you will not fail the test due to any casual secondhand smoke exposure.
Bleaching your hair or dyeing your hair is not going to remove metabolites from your hair. You cannot bleach or dye your hair to alter the results of your drug test.
Drug test cut off levels are designed to make sure that you will avoid false positives relating to poppy seed consumption. The current recommended cutoff level from SAMHSA used in NIDA 5 testing rose in 1998 from 300 ng/mL up to 2000 ng/mL so that false positives would be avoided. Now it would require that you eat an entire loaf of bread containing poppy seeds in order to register for a single day.
If you add bleach to nullify your sample, the pH of your sample will change, and this is going to allow the sample to be flagged as being tampered with. You will fail your test. If you drink bleach to alter your sample you will go blind and possibly die, so this is not an option worth considering at all.
If you take aspirin before your test, it will create a false negative for THC. This only works under the most ideal of circumstances, and it only tends to work for EMIT tests and not gc/ms testing.
Another myth is that you can drink vinegar in order to make it easier to pass a urine drug test. This is one of the oldest myths and legends surrounding drug testing. When you consume vinegar, it is going to lower your blood or urine pH, and this is going to help to clear out drugs containing amine groups like amphetamine drugs for example. Reducing your pH can throw off the enzymes in EMIT tests in some circumstances but not all of them, since these enzymes are pH sensitive.
For the past ten years, it has been said that taking niacin in high dosages can make it easier to pass. Niacin is Vitamin B3, and it is claimed that when you take between 250 and 500 mg of Niacin in your system you can overcome a drug test without detection, but there is no scientific proof that Niacin has any impact on a drug test, and so this myth is a waste of time.
Drinking urine is another myth, said to be capable of helping you pass a urine test for THC. Cytochrome P450 enzymes are found within the urine in trace amounts and they are partially responsible for the breakdown of THC as well as other drugs, but there has never been any scientific evidence to prove that ingesting urine is going to make these enzymes biologically available to you.
Here are some of the legal considerations that you are going to want to be aware of when it comes to drug testing law. Make sure that you are well aware of what your legal rights are, as well as what the legal rights are for the employer so that you can protect yourself during the testing process.
The only drug tests that are legally allowed to be observed are court ordered drug tests and drug tests on individuals who are on parole or on probation.
It is vitally essential that you be aware of what your rights are, because your rights are absolutely essential to your well being. The employer is responsible for paying for your drug test, and so it legally belongs to them. Should you pass the test, it is going to say that no detectable amount of any drug was found. If you fail the test, then it will say what your drug levels were, and so you may need to request the cut off levels to be aware of how you did.
If you are caught by surprise, and you are looking for a way to stall your test, do not simply refuse your test. The best course of action is to go, but go without identification. If you appear at the testing lab without your identification, they cannot test you because your sample will be invalid, and so you will have to return later with identification to take the test.
State Specifics and Workplaces
There are at least ten states in the United States that have outlawed buying and selling synthetic urine and adulterants that make it possible to pass your drug test. These states are Arkansas, Illinois, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. While you may have difficulty buying these items in your state, they can still typically be acquired through the Internet.
As far as workplace testing goes, you should be aware of what employers are and are not legally allowed to do. Employers are allowed according to the law to require workers to submit to saliva screening or urinalysis in order to be considered for employment or to retain that employment. Some states have laws limiting when and how this type of testing can be administered. For example, businesses may be required to have a written company policy, and they may not be legally allowed to test randomly except in certain situations.
As far as hospital testing goes, you should be aware that some states in the United States have required for pregnant women to submit to illegal drug testing as a facet of prenatal care. The United States Supreme Court has ruled that testing secretly is unconstitutional, but women who check in to a hospital to deliver their baby can be blood tested, and if the blood test is positive for any illegal drugs the woman will have to answer to someone about it. A mother delivering a child with drugs in her system could face endangerment charges if anything is found in her system.
Laws Involving Drug Testing
Federal Law: It is important that you understand that drug testing law falls under the purview of the ADA or Americans with Disabilities Act, and there are several key features found therein.
The Americans with Disabilities Act makes it illegal for an employer to require a drug test of any prospective employee without having first made a conditional employment offer. If there is no job offer in place, then you are not legally required to take a drug test on the behalf of your employer.
The Americans with Disabilities Act states that it is not legal to discriminate against any prospective employee solely on the basis of a past problem with drugs. It is legally possible to refuse to hire someone if you believe that they could legitimately return to a substance abuse problem or that they may put the safety or the health of your employees in danger. If you are not sure how you should proceed when it comes to an applicant with a drug abuse history, the best course of action is to consult an attorney.
The Americans with Disabilities Act does not prohibit your ability to ask a potential employee with a substance abuse history to enroll in some rehabilitation program prior to joining your company.
Some states are now considering drug testing for the unemployed.
Laws are going to vary from one state to the next, and they can change rather frequently as well. The best thing for you to do is to learn the details of drug testing laws in your state by directly contacting your state government, a trade organization or an employment attorney. As an employer, your right to require drug tests of your employees is going to depend on a couple of different factors, which are:
The actual job: If the job is of such a nature that coworkers, the public or the employee could be placed in danger, then there is going to be a greater justification for you to require a drug test.
Prior evidence of a problem: Some states will require that you can provide probable cause prior to suspecting impairment in your employee prior to being legally allowed to test for drugs.
Whether the worker has been hired or not: Once you hire the applicant, the rights that you hold to drug test them may be diminished. Many states will require that visible evidence be provided regarding substance abuse, such as the experience of an accident, an employee visibly declining in their work quality, or being caught with illicit drugs.
In many states it is illegal to test your current employees randomly without any prior notice. You are generally protected from being randomly drug tested in your employment unless you give your employer a legitimate reason to suspect that you are using drugs on the job or putting someone at risk.