Did you know that people hoping to cheat on a drug test can now buy fake pee? Synthetic urine mimics the visual, chemical, and thermal properties of human urine. More and more people around the country are purchasing synthetic urine and slipping it into specimen cups in an attempt to “beat” drug tests required by their current employer, a prospective employer, or even their school. So, you might be wondering, does it work? And more importantly, how can you prevent adulteration from occurring during a drug test?
The Risks of Using Fake Pee
What are some examples of synthetic urine products?
Synthetic urine products available today include Clean Stream, Quick Fix, Sub Solution, Magnum, Ultra Pure, and UPass. These products vary when it comes to their ingredients, shelf life, cost, and success rate. They typically come in the form of a kit, which must be properly mixed and heated in order to mimic urine.
Is fake pee legal?
In most states, the sale of synthetic urine is legal. New Hampshire and Indiana are currently the only states to ban the sale of synthetic urine “for the purposes of subverting drug tests” (source). Both states began their bans this year (2017). In addition, although the federal drug testing program currently uses only urine specimens for analysis, that may change in the future due to concerns regarding synthetic urine. Federal drug tests could utilize oral fluid or hair samples as alternatives.
Does fake pee work for a drug test?
Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. Even the most reliable fake pee products are extremely risky. If the deceiver doesn’t properly mix the product, heat it, hide it, and transport it, the ruse may be revealed, and the culprit could be fired or (in some states) fined.
Temperature is often the tell-tale characteristic of synthetic urine. Like Goldilocks, collection sites require a specimen of the proper temperature – not too hot, not too cold. If a specimen falls outside of the range 90–100 degrees Fahrenheit, it is clearly a fake.
Other revealing characteristics include the following:
- Presence of creatinine, a substance produced by the kidneys (some fake pee does contain creatinine)
- Lack of bubbles when shaken (the protein in urine bubbles when agitated)
- pH level
- Specific gravity (measuring amount of particulates in the fluid)
Even a tiny mistake by the product manufacturer or the donor can result in the specimen being flagged, placing the donor’s future in jeopardy.
What can I do if I’m concerned about the adulteration of urine specimens?
If you’re concerned about your employees substituting or adulterating their urine for a drug test, try using a different testing method. Instead of testing urine samples, try testing oral fluid or hair.
Although the detection period for oral fluid is short (about 24 to 48 hours), it is very difficult to adulterate or substitute a specimen because the collection process is typically observed. In addition, the process is easily administered, quick, and noninvasive.
Hair follicles, on the other hand, provide a very long window of detection (about 30 days per 0.5 inch of hair) but cannot reveal drug use within the past few days. They often required a period of drug usage for detection (several days as opposed to a single experience). Specimens of hair are nearly impossible to adulterate or substitute because the collection process is observed. However, the process is somewhat invasive, requiring about 120–150 hairs per sample.
How does Tomo detect adulterants?
If you’re looking for a company that can administer drug and alcohol screening services for your organization, don’t forget to ask about the techniques they use to protect the integrity of the specimens, testing process, and results. At Tomo Drug Testing, our highly trained technicians are prepared to use several methods to deter and detect drug test substitutions. If you try to cheat the system, you will be caught either at the collection site or at the laboratory. Laboratories are constantly updating their detection strategies to match and combat the new substitution and tampering methods.
We take all necessary precautions to prevent the adulteration of specimens. We either do perform or can perform all of the following to deter and detect the use of adulterants and substitutions:
- Require that donors unload pockets and leave personal items (including purses and bags) outside of the bathroom
- Ask the donor to wash his or her hands before entering the bathroom
- Secure the restroom by removing all chemicals, securing all cabinets and water sources
- Dye the toilet water blue
- Perform an observed collection
- Impose a time limit on the collection
- Check temperature of the sample as well as the odor, the appearance, the specific gravity, and/or the pH
- Check the specimen’s creatinine levels and oxidizing agents
If you would like to learn more about detecting adulterants during testing, preventing adulteration, and other methods of alteration to watch out for, check out this previous blog post: Adulterants in Drug Testing.
How to Prevent Adulteration in Drug Testing
Although you can rely on Tomo to use effective techniques to detect fake urine, why not try to prevent adulteration before it occurs? Every collection site is different, so you will need to assess your own space and consult with your testing provider to ensure that you address all threats to the integrity of the procedure. We encourage you to try some or all of the following techniques:
- Go Unannounced: Don’t announce that you will be conducting random drug testing, as the advance notice gives donors time to prepare a plan for adulteration.
- Essentials Only: Do not allow donors to enter the testing area with any personal items (purses, jackets, coats, hats, briefcases, etc.). Ask them to place these items in a secure box outside the area.
- Secure the Site: Secure the collection site to thwart attempts at adulteration and other forms of tampering. Monitor the collection process, and inspect the restroom for potential adulterants (like soaps and cleaning powders).
- Watch Out for Water: Secure all water sources as well, and place a coloring agent in the commode so that the donor can’t dilute the specimen with water.
- Stick with On-Site: If you use on-site drug testing, donors won’t be able to engage in any deceptive or disobedient behavior during the time it takes to travel to the testing facility.
Hoping to pass a drug test? Urine substitution is not your best bet. There is only one way to test negative that is 100% guaranteed: live a 100% drug-free lifestyle.
Hoping to protect your drug testing program from adulteration? Contact Tomo Drug Testing for help. We can help you further explore your options, so that you can select a testing methodology that reflects your wants, your needs, your concerns, and your budget. Based in Springfield (MO), St. Louis (MO), Kansas City (MO), Indianapolis (IN), and Evansville (IN), we offer customized solutions to make drug testing simple, and our nationwide network of clinics and providers allows Tomo Drug Testing to be available anytime, anywhere. For a free needs analysis, give us a call today at 1-888-379-7697 or contact us online. We would be happy to help!