Last updated: February 24, 2020
If you’re a drug user and you’ve ever wondered how to pass a drug test, we have bad news. The only way is to not use drugs.
According to the American Office of National Drug Control Policy, $223 billion dollars is lost annually due to drug abuse. An employee suffering from drug abuse has lowered productivity, chronic absences, and has a higher chance of premature death. Despite the wave of marijuana legalization, both the government and employers encourage drug-free workplace policies. This includes pre-employment, random, and post-accident drug testing to improve workplace safety.
However, some employees still try to cheat these tests. They’re encouraged by myths they’ve heard or read online on how to pass a drug test. Unfortunately for them, but fortunately for employers and other employees, it’s nearly impossible to cheat today’s modern drug tests.
Methods commonly used to cheat a drug test
Drinking lots of water before a urine drug test
Urine tests are still the most common method used today. This is because they are highly accurate, offer a longer detection window than most other methods, and can determine when a test subject tries to cheat.
The most common way employees try to cheat is by drinking lots of fluids before a urine drug test. This will reduce the levels of drug metabolites that the lab is testing for, but will also result in a urine sample with creatinine levels below the normal range. That produces a negative dilute drug test result.
Using natural or store-bought “detoxifiers”
The list of purported home remedies that will enable one to cheat on drug tests is inexhaustible. They range from consuming certain herbs to drinking certain types of teas. Such could include eating burdock root and red clovers, as well as drinking herbal teas such as ginger root, green tea, mint, and Kleen tea. Some people claim that drinking cranberry juice or vinegar could also work. There are commercial detoxifiers such as XXXtra Gold Cleansing Drink, Goldenseal, Mary Jane Super Clean 13, and so on.
These are considered diuretics, which flush out the toxins left behind after drug use. As with drinking lots of water, this will reduce levels of drug metabolites, but will also produce a negative dilute drug test result. Besides, this tactic will have zero impact if employers conduct random drug tests. To make matters worse, and slightly amusing, this sometimes results in violent diarrhea.
Adulterating urine samples
This is the tampering of urine samples by adding certain chemicals or substances to either mask the presence of drugs or interfere with the machine’s ability to detect them. Such chemicals include bleach, soap, salt, hydrogen peroxide, and so on.
While in the early days of drug testing, back in the 1980s, some abusers may have successfully passed a drug test by adulterating the specimen. Fortunately for employers, modern lab technology has made this impossible.
Substituting urine samples
Employees also try to cheat by submitting urine samples that are not from their own bodies. The sample could be from someone else or could even be synthetic. Liquid urine bottles and powdered urine packets can be bought online and their contents mixed with water to produce a urine-like solution.
Modern lab tests can detect whether the urine sample is legitimate by measuring the temperature, pH, creatinine levels, and other factors. For instance, a man who submitted his wife’s urine failed a temperature test. On further testing, according to his urine sample, he was also pregnant.
Washing the hair with special shampoos
Hair drug tests are used for the detection of drugs such as marijuana, heroin, cocaine, PCP, barbiturates, and others. There are various shampoos in the market that promise to cleanse the hair of any drug traces.
The problem with this approach is that they only clean the outside of the hair shaft, but the entire sample is used for testing, and drug metabolites remain inside the shaft.
Waiting the test out
Employees could also hold off the tests as long as possible, therefore, giving the drugs sufficient time to clear from the system. The body’s ability to flush out toxins will be influenced by factors such as the quantities ingested and the kind of drug. Other factors include the user’s metabolism rate, genetics, body weight and age.
This method is not effective as drug residues could last for a few days or even weeks. If an employee refuses to take a mandated drug test within a certain period of time, most drug testing policies will count that as a failure or a refusal. Both are typically fireable offenses.
Using mouth rinses or brushing their teeth
In an attempt to beat mouth swab drug tests, people have been known to brush their teeth, cheeks, and tongue aggressively, chew ice, use lots of mouthwash, eat mints, and saliva detoxifying products. In some extreme cases, some people have also used detergent to rid their mouths of drug traces.
Due to the risk of adulterating an oral drug test, employees are required to have eaten or drunk nothing for at least 10 minutes before the test. That renders this tactic ineffective.
The risk outweighs the reward
Attempting to cheat a drug test is typically a fireable offense, and in some cases, may even be illegal. As an employee, you could find yourself facing criminal action. This could result in serving jail time, incurring hefty fines, and if in the military, receiving a Bad Conduct Discharge.
An employer could request for a retest to clear any doubts, but isn’t required to do so.
Ultimately, the only true way to pass a drug test is to simply not use drugs.