Many companies require a drug test for new employees.  Some have random drug screening for current workers.  If employees who abuse substances hear about a drug test coming up, they may try to cheat it.  This is why it is important to keep the drug test date secret, especially if you suspect some of your employees.  Still, word may get out.  People may even attempt to cheat in the few hours between when they find out about a screening and when they take it.  Here are three common ways that people attempt to sway drug test results and how to detect them.

1. Adding household cleaning products or other common chemicals to a urine sample for a drug test

People who fear they may fail a drug test add other liquids to urine samples in an attempt to “clean” the sample of drugs.  This is called adulterating.  Common products used to adulterate samples include bleach, salt, soap, eye drops, and peroxide.  Some of these are meant to screw with the results of the test, while other mess up the instruments used to read drug tests.

One way to prevent employees from using this method is by limiting access to other liquids while the test is being taken.  This can be difficult to do depending where and when the drug screening is taking place.  Another way is to look at the drug test results themselves.  Any tests that come back inconclusive should be flagged.

2. Diluting a urine sample

Another way people try to cheat a drug test is by diluting their urine sample.  They do this by drinking a lot of water or other drink before the test.  This way, the sample has a high water content.  Even if drugs are present, the amount of water will make the percentage of drugs relatively low.  Other people try to dilute the sample after gathering them by mixing water with the sample directly.

Most laboratories won’t accept urine samples with an unusually high water content.  They will request another sample, as the amount of water messes up the results.  This could be a flag in and of itself.  One way to prevent employees from diluting their samples after gathering them is by dying any water they have access to a bright, recognizable color.

3. Detoxing and other home remedies

There are dozens of ideas on how to cheat a drug test readily available to anyone with an internet connection.  These include home remedy detoxes like herbal teas, apple cider vinegar, and cranberry juice.  Drinking a lot of these attempts to flush the body of drugs.  There are also products for sale that are specifically designed to help people pass drug tests, called commercial screens.  If these are found in a sample, however, it is automatically flagged, so they often backfire.

The way to avoid home remedy cheaters is to make sure the lab you are using for drug testing takes them into account.  Be clear that you want to know about anything unusual found in a sample, not just traces of drugs.  A high concentration of certain nutrients, such as fiber, can mean that the person was covering up drug use.

Looking for a workplace drug test provider?

Soteria Screening Laboratories provides all types of drug and alcohol screenings, including urine, hair, and saliva tests.  They understand the importance of a drug-free workplace and strive to provide the best, most accurate results.  Call (202) 679-6670 or email for more information.

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