Last updated: May 3, 2021
When receiving a positive dilute drug test result, it doesn’t only mean the specimen was diluted. The test indicates two things.
- Someone tested positive for drugs.
- They more than likely tried to hide it.
The laboratory determines if a test sample has been tampered with, such as adding adulterants or drinking excessive amounts of fluids. Both are very common attempts to mask drug use.
It’s “common knowledge” in the drug culture that you can flush your system of drug metabolites long enough to take a urine test. The word on the street (and all over the web) is that if you consume lots of water or other liquids before you head to the test site, you should pass with flying colors.
Back in the early days of drug testing, that may have been the case. People were able to “get over” on a drug test by adding adulterants or downing lots of water just prior to a drug test. However, technology has come a long way since the 80s.
Creatinine is the key
Creatinine is the byproduct of creatine phosphate. Created by muscle contractions, it leaves the body through the blood and kidneys. We are always moving. It is a constant process.
Normal creatinine levels determine the specimen is pure urine. (If urine can be described as pure, that is.)
Laboratories use creatinine to determine if a urine sample is diluted. Excessive amounts of fluids in the urine sample provided for testing, cause creatinine levels outside of the normal range. That is to say, the creatinine levels are equal to or greater than 2 mg/dL, but less than 20 mg/dL. The specific gravity levels of the urine sample are greater than 1.0010 and less than 1.0030.
The urine of a normally hydrated person never reaches creatinine levels in that range.
A diluted sample is the test result.
Negative dilute drug test result
If creatinine levels are out of the normal range, but there are no drugs found in the test sample the final test result is a negative dilute.
Employees receiving this result often breathe a sigh of relief. However, it only serves to raise a red flag for employers. Was there an attempt to mask drug use in fear metabolites remained? Employers with drug free policies in place will follow their company protocol which usually entails retesting the employee as soon as possible.
DOT regulated employers require a second (observed) test.
Moreover, it could be that someone suffering from shy bladder syndrome drank an excessive amount prior to a drug test. Shy bladder syndrome makes it extremely difficult for people to urinate in a public setting. If that is the case, a doctor’s statement would clear up any question. Even so, many employers require a second drug test.
Positive dilute drug test result
If testing detects drugs accompanied by creatinine levels out of the normal range, a positive dilute results.
As mentioned previously, a positive dilute drug test indicates that the employee recently using drugs and in all likelihood attempted to hide it.
Employers follow the drug free protocol in place for positive test results. It would be a rare case if the employee is not terminated immediately.
Nowhere to hide
Employees that use drugs realize the gravity of a positive drug test result. If they didn’t, there would not be such a variety of methods to falsify results. There are detox products galore on the market. They profess to cleanse the body of drug metabolites in the urine, saliva, or hair. These products are available for purchase with the click of a mouse. They come straight to your door. Expense is of little concern considering the benefit of the negative drug test result.
With the exception of the fine print, of course. Some companies don’t even use fine print for the “exception” clause. There is always an out in the literature. Stressing that if steps aren’t followed exactly or some other stipulation that allows for the user to accept responsibility for a positive test result.
Laboratories are on to the game. Tests are very refined and efficient.
The same can be said of home methods. Let’s reiterate.
They don’t work.
A myriad of “pass the test” information exists, such as drinking pickle juice to beat a urine test or washing your hair with a special concoction to cleanse metabolites from the hair. It is amazing, horrifying at times, actually, what desperate people will do.
Whether the falsified result was a positive dilute result or not, a positive test result that has been tampered with in any form is serious. Someone is using drugs in the workplace. Immediate termination no questions asked is how most, if not all, company drug policies read.
This is understandable. The main reason employers drug test is to deter drug use in the workplace. It’s a safety issue, after all! Employees inhibited by drug use are more likely to be in or cause an accident. They are a hazard to themselves and others. Employers have every right to test workers for drug use in the case of an injury or accident.
Drug use also affects a company’s productivity and revenue. Employees that use drugs are less productive, absent more often, and file more worker’s comp claims.
The straight dope
Drugs are everywhere. They affect everyone to some degree or another.
If an employee tests positive for drug use, following your company policy for this result is essential. Employers put drug free or zero tolerance policies in place to deter drug use. Making exceptions to the rule does nothing to create a safe work environment. In fact, it opens the door for future HR lawsuits when word gets out.
Do all you can to help your employee find resources for rehabilitation. Ultimately, it could save their life.
When someone is ready to admit they have a problem, they’ve taken the first small step toward seeking help.
Is a positive dilute drug test result a game changer? Losing your job because you failed in your attempt to “flush” drugs from your body is a pretty loud wake-up call.