You may be surprised to learn that over 70 percent of drug users are employed—meaning that it’s very possible that you have one or more working for you right now. Drug use can impact your company in a number of different ways, including in customer service, work quality and efficiency, and safety. By implementing a random drug testing policy, you can minimize and even eliminate these negative influences.
Drug users can be crafty when it comes to hiding their habits in order to keep their jobs. Some may even go so far as to try to beat your drug tests! “How is that possible?” you ask. Read on to discover four of the most common ways drug users attempt to pass a drug test, how collection experts can spot a cheater, drug-screening best practices that safeguard against adulteration, and the importance of having a clear, compliant drug testing policy.
4 Ways Employees Try to Cheat Their Drug Tests
Adding household cleaning products to the urine sample. Knowing pH is a critical screening factor, an employee may add common household cleaners to alter the pH of their sample for a more favorable result.
Adding easily-accessible chemicals to the urine sample. Some employees might even order specific chemicals online to add to their sample in hopes of negating a positive screening or interfering with the testing equipment.
Diluting the urine sample with other liquids. To mask evidence of drug use, employees may also attempt to dilute their urine sample by drinking large quantities of lemonade, soft drinks, sports drinks, or water, or by adding these liquids directly to the sample.
Substituting a urine sample with other liquids. Beyond simply attempting to dilute their urine sample, an employee might try to substitute a urine specimen altogether with any of the liquids mentioned above, or even someone else’s urine. Believe it or not, another popular choice for substitution is powdered urine, which simply needs to be mixed with water.
If the collection specialist notices any red flags they can check the validity of a sample through a few simple tests like measuring the pH, assessing the smell and appearance, testing the specific gravity, and checking the temperature.
Proper Drug Testing Techniques & Best Practices
Don’t announce random drug tests in advance. Oftentimes, random drug testing alone is a powerful deterrent to employee drug use, mainly because your employees know that they may be asked to take a test on any given day. However, if you don’t drug test often enough, your employees will start to believe that you never actually will.
Consider using an on-site drug-testing program to eliminate transportation time. Not only does this eliminate the opportunity to “prepare” for the test while in transit to the testing facility, it reduces the amount of time between the announcement of the test and the test itself to the bare minimum.
Pay careful attention to employees throughout the collection process. Prohibit unauthorized personnel from entering the collection site during the screening to ensure that the area cannot be compromised, and that undetected access is not possible.
Make sure that employees show a proper picture ID. Verify the correct individuals are present to participate in the screening and give their samples.
Require all employees being tested to wash their hands. To avoid any accidental adulteration, instruct all employees who are being screened to thoroughly wash and dry their hands before giving their sample.
Safeguard Against Dilution & Addition
Eliminate all opportunities to conceal contaminants. Have employees empty their pockets, remove hats, jackets, and other non-essential garments, and leave briefcases, purses, or bags in a secure place outside of the testing area. Additionally, secure areas like counters, cabinets, trash cans, paper towel dispensers, and ceiling tiles that make for tempting hiding spots for concealing contaminants.
Remove all potential additives. No soap, disinfectants, cleaning agents, or other possible adulterants should be available in the collection area.
Minimize access to diluents. Put a bluing agent in the tank, secure shut toilet tank tops, and turn off the water inlet to prevent or easily detect dilution attempts.
Restrict access to collection supplies before and during the collection. In order to keep employees from jeopardizing the screening results, only the personnel conducting the screening should have access to the collection supplies. The inventory should be carefully monitored at all times.
Handling the Samples After Collection
Maintain personal control of the specimen and CCF at all times during the collection. Ensure that chain of custody is maintained and documented throughout the collection procedure and that only the collector and the donor are allowed to handle the unsealed specimen.
Safeguard against post-screening tampering or damage. If on-site testing isn’t an option, ensure that specimens are transported to the test facility in a sealed, secure shipping container to eliminate the possibility of damage during shipment and to prevent undetected tampering.
Importance of a Clear Drug Testing Policy
Setting clear expectations is critical when implementing a drug-free workplace policy. Your policy needs to explain when and how drug testing will be conducted, as well as what the consequences will be if an employee fails their test or refuses to take one. Not only will this keep you compliant with state and federal laws, but it will also help from an employee-relations standpoint as transparent communication and regular drug testing are fantastic ways to keep your current employees safe and to assist you in bringing the best new employees on board.
Not sure where to start when it comes to drug and alcohol testing for your business? ARCpoint Labs’s experts can review your current drug testing policies and update them if needed, help you implement and manage a random drug testing program, conduct drug screenings, and even train your supervisors to recognize the specific, observable behaviors of an impaired employee. All ARCpoint Labs locations have certified and trained staff that knows the rules, understands the processes and knows the importance of doing things the right way. They go through a rigorous training program and can lean on the years of experience of other franchisees to know what to look for from cheaters, and are up to date on the latest trends in trying to beat a drug test. Give us a call at (864) 271-3210, or contact us online to start creating a safer work environment today.