Last updated: December 4, 2023
Employers drug test because they want to provide a safe work environment for their employees. It’s a proven fact that companies operating under a drug-free policy report fewer accidents, less absenteeism, and lower medical costs. When it comes to employee drug testing, urine tests are the most popular by far. They’re accurate and the most cost-effective employee drug testing method on the market.
At first, it was the only choice available. Eventually, however, the advances in drug testing technology and the levels of sophistication reached with laboratory equipment led to the invention of saliva and hair testing methods. Of course, with those advances, it had become nearly impossible to falsify the urine drug test. However, a new and concerning trend is spreading across the nation—people use fake pee instead of their own.
What is it?
Chemist, Friedrich Wohler accidentally invented synthetic urine back in 1828 actually. He was trying to synthesize ammonium cyanate but, instead, created artificial urea—a compound found in urine. It was an incredible medical discovery at the time because it disproved the theory of vitalism. The theory stated that organic compounds could only be found in natural forms rather than invented in laboratories. Therefore, vitalists believed that only a kidney could produce urea. Wohler’s lab-created urine totally proved otherwise.
Synthetic urine is 95% water and contains all the properties of human urine. The remaining 5% of ingredients—if measured precisely—can receive a negative result on a drug test.
Consumers purchase some products premixed. Others come in powder form to mix “fresh” for the test. The water measurement has to be exact. If not, the dishonest employee’s drug test may report a negative dilute. Some employers treat that as a positive result while others require a second drug test—and it’s observed.
Some states have banned the sale of synthetic urine. If not, fake pee sells at adult shops, smoke shops, online, and some gas stations. There is even a homemade version for those brave enough to try it! However they come by it, drug users smuggle a vial into the drug test and submit it as their specimen instead of using their own urine.
The packaging states that synthetic urine is intended for research or novelty purposes only. And, in smaller print, you can find the phrase “intended for lawful use only.” If that’s the case, perhaps manufacturers would explain why the kits come complete with an elastic belt for hiding the vial underneath clothing, hand warmers, and a temperature-sensitive strip to ensure that it’s within the “normal” limit?
If you ask a pro-marijuana publication
Online publications, such as Cannabis Culture and High Times, promote the use of these kits to avoid testing positive on a random drug test. They also do the trick when applying for a job that gives you 24 hours to report to the testing facility. It’s impossible to flush the system and rid the body of the drug metabolites that drug tests identify. Manufacturers tout that synthetic urine is a fail-safe solution—so, of course, people try and “beat” the test with it.
The publications have openly claimed using these products can keep you from losing your job. Still, they left a disclaimer noting that laboratory equipment is always evolving and that technology continues to advance. Authors caution consumers to do their homework. Purchasing products that don’t contain urea, uric acid, and creatinine—plus has the same pH and specific gravity as human urine results in disaster.
And, surprise! There’s usually a specific product named to be the best.
Trucking industry rolls out a solution
The DOT has always used urine tests, but it submitted a proposal to switch to the hair follicle test. Once it goes through the chain of command, everyone expects the change to go into effect. If approved, it eliminates the synthetic urine issue altogether!
Not to mention the fact that hair follicle drug tests detect any drug use for a period of ninety days! Employers who are looking for frequency of use are beginning to use hair tests despite the fact that they are more expensive. In fact, some trucking companies have added the hair follicle test to their drug testing policies in addition to the DOT drug test.
In fact, some company owners say that when a prospective driver learns that a hair test is in their future, they don’t continue the interview. That scenario, undoubtedly, plays out no matter what the industry though, don’t you think?
The truth comes out eventually
Someone impaired by drugs or alcohol while on the job puts everyone in the vicinity at a higher risk of being involved in an accident. Of course, the majority of employees in the nation don’t use drugs. They don’t deserve to be put at risk because someone else does.
Eventually, someone who has a drug problem is found out—and, sadly, death by overdose makes the list of “Ways to Determine Drug Use.”
Using synthetic urine in an attempt to falsify the results of a drug test is unlawful. Someone who feels so desperate that they would risk, not only losing their job, but a criminal charge needs help.
If you use urine tests and an employee receives a negative dilute result, a poorly mixed batch of synthetic urine could wind up being the reason. No matter what the cause, though, a failed drug test is a sign that someone is struggling with an addiction.
If one of your employees tests positive for drugs, of course, follow through with company policy immediately. But, when you reach out to them, use compassion. Let them know that you value them as human beings and share your hope that they seek help.
Failing the company drug test has to rate as one of the worst days of anyone’s life. Reach out with compassion. What if your kind approach is the catalyst needed for the employee to come to terms with the fact that they need to seek help?
Your company policy likely states an employee gets fired if they test positive for drugs. Still, when all is said and done, that person’s life will change for the better—the lives of their family will too.