It simply means that there has been so much liquid consumed that the urine pH level measures close to neutral. The body excretes what it doesn’t need through urination, however, if someone increases their amount of liquid intake, it throws things off-kilter. Drug users may attempt to falsify a drug test result by diluting their urine specimen in hopes of either cleansing the body at a quicker rate—which isn’t happening, oh by the way—or masking their drug use with a diluted urine sample.
That doesn’t work either.
The level of deception
Drug testing has come a long way since the 1980s. Drug users determined to get around the test may have successfully tampered with results by consuming large quantities of water back then, but that’s no longer the case.
Today, the testing process includes measuring the creatinine levels in the urine. If the creatinine level falls below normal, the urine is diluted. A diluted urine sample indicates that someone may have been trying to tamper with the test.
Diluted drug tests receive an incomplete result. Employers commonly treat them as a positive drug test.
Negative sounds good, right?
When it pertains to a diluted drug sample, it’s not.
Even though the test shows no evidence of drug use, the low concentration of creatinine contained in the sample caused by excessive fluid intake made it impossible to establish a negative result with certainty. That means if there were drug metabolites in the body, they may have not been detected.
Now, a negative dilute result doesn’t always mean that someone was trying to slip by undetected, it could have been purely accidental. Someone suffering from shy bladder syndrome, for instance, may have drunk a large quantity of water prior to the test for fear of not being able to “go” when they got there.
Unfortunately, the DOT requires all test subjects that receive a negative dilute drug test result to retest—and it’s going to be an observed test. A second directly observed negative dilute drug test results in disciplinary action. The driver is no longer eligible for hire until completing the return-to-duty process.
Employers of the general workforce likely enforce a drug policy that resembles the DOT’s in regard to a negative dilute drug test. However, retesting may or may not be included in the policy and the employee may be terminated immediately.
We mentioned above that drug abusers often try to flush drugs from their system by drinking excessive amounts of water prior to a drug test.
A positive dilute indicates two things to an employer.
- There were drugs in the employee’s system at the time of the test.
- They more than likely attempted to falsify the test result.
There will be no retest. Company policy in regard to a positive drug test result is immediately enforced.
A measure of kindness
Do your company drug testing policies include sharing a list of available treatment options in your area?
If not, it might be worth considering.
Pointing someone in the direction of help while sharing a few kind words expressing your hope for and belief in someone at what is sure to be a very dark day in their life may be the inspiration they need to seek rehabilitation. Drug addicts often deny they have a problem to everyone—family, friends, and to themselves.
When the realization hits home, knowing someone truly cares about their well-being can be a game-changer.
Let’s make that a lifesaver.
Throw them a line.