On-site urine drug testing has made workplace drug testing much more convenient, but the actual drug tests themselves have also improved over the years in their ability to detect the seemingly endless variety of drugs. The street drugs being manufactured nowadays are more and more powerful and some have become more difficult to detect if the person is not tested within several hours of substance use. In a company with random drug testing the employees do not know when they will be tested, and so they sometimes take the precaution of ingesting other substances in an attempt to hide the drug use. Employee drug adulteration using masking and water loading are attempts to ‘trick’ the urine drug test into reporting a false-negative.
Simply defined, drug adulteration is the ingestion of a substance that is intended to cover up the presence of a drug in a person’s system so the drug test is defeated.
Substance abusers using water loading strategies are hoping to dilute urine to the point where the drug becomes undetectable by standard drug tests. The theory is that if you drink enough water, the concentration of the drug in the urine will fall below the cut-off level for drug screening. The water is also meant to flush the metabolites out of the system. One issue with water loading to keep in mind is that Australian employees working in the hottest climates will drink a lot of water to prevent dehydration, and this needs to be taken into account.
The types of chemicals and materials ingested by substance abusers as adulterants to mask drug use are surprising. They include table salt, toilet bowl cleaner, lemon juice, eye drops, laundry detergent, vinegar, hand soap and others. There are also nitrate containing products sold like Stealth, Urine Luck and Instant Clean, to name a few, that claim to mask drugs. Substance abusers can even buy synthetic urine on the internet to beat a drug test1. With substance abusers willing to risk their lives twice – once with illegal drugs and once with adulteration/masking agents – is it possible to rely on drug tests?
Two successful responses to the use of adulterants has been to lower cutoff values (in relation the rest of the world) which Australian standards have already implemented and using products able to test for common masking chemicals. In fact, Standards Australia reviews published standards periodically as a matter of policy due to changes in “technology, knowledge and community needs.”2 That is just one reason why it’s important to use drug testing equipment that meets the standards. The workplace drug testing product you use should be able to detect the commonly ingested commercial and over-the-counter chemicals used for masking urine samples.
Drug abuse is a secretive behavior that leads to additional desperate actions to cover up the behavior. Staying ahead of the street tricks that drug users share with each other is much easier when you rely on state-of-the-art drug tests designed to unmask coverups. Using adulterant tests along with workplace drug tests is the most effective approach to detecting employee drug use and/or potential adulteration of the test. For example, the Medix Pro-Split 6+6 Cup tests for 6 common drugs of abuse and 6 adulterants.
You can contact CMM Technology on +618-9204-2500 to learn more about drug testing and the use of adulterants.
1 Dasgupta, A. (2007). The Effects of Adulterants and Selected Ingested Compounds on Drugs-of-Abuse Testing. American Society for Clinical Pathology , 491-503.