Everything you need to know about drug testing

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Everything you need to know about drug testing – A complete guide to drug testing survival Contents Legal drug addiction.. 3 Why we drug test. 4 Drugs and driving.. 4 Dangers of drugged driving.. 5 How common is drug driving?.. 5 Common drugs detected in drivers.. 5 What are the drug crash statistics?.. 6 rugged Driving in Older Adults.. 6 Drug driving issues for young adults.. 6 Why is drugged driving a problem in teens and young adults?.. 6 Preventing drug driving.. 7 What steps can people take to prevent drugged driving?.. 7 Points to Remember.. 7 Roadside drug testing.. 8 State drug legal THC level for drivers.. 8 Employment drug testing.. 9 What do employers test for?.. 10 Testing for drugs at work.. 10 Why test current workers?.. 11 Home Drug testing for parents and school. 11 Why use a home drug test?.. 13 Drug testing at home.. 13 Drug testing.. 13 Drugs most commonly abused.. 13 Cannabis:. 14 Cocaine:. 14 Heroin:. 14 Methamphetamine:. 14 Types of drug tests.. 15 Urine drug testing is:. 15 Blood testing is the most:. 15 Hair testing:. 15 Saliva testing:. 16 Urine testing.. 16 Drugs urine testing can identify.. 16 Benefits of urine drug tests.. 18 Problems with urine drug testing.. 19 Urine drug test methods.. 19 Types of tests include:. 20 Using synthetic urine to pass drug tests.. 20 Blood drug testing.. 23 When to use a blood test. 23 What makes blood tests so accurate?.. 24 How to pass a blood drug test. 24 Hair drug testing.. 24 Hair can be taken from anywhere.. 25 Effectiveness of hair follicle tests.. 26 Removing cannabis traces from your hair.. 26 Saliva drug testing.. 27 How saliva drug tests work.. 28 Testing method.. 28 Passing a saliva drug test. 28 So, you failed.. 30        

Everything you need to know about drug testing

Drug testing is the new, or old, buzz word that is now a companion to alcohol testing. Parents, schools, governments, and employers all want to test for drugs to keep the world a safer place. Or, at least their little part of the world safe. Drug testing exists in all the same places as alcohol tests. With cannabis becoming legalized in more states, random drug testing drivers is more common. Workplaces can test employees and prospective employees for drugs. The last thing they need is employees under the influence of drugs at work. It disrupts the business, causes trouble, is a safety hazard, and costs money. Drug testing or screening is any technical test of a person’s biological specimen (saliva, blood, urine, hair, etc) to detect the use of drugs. If you are a regular or recreational drug user, it is your worst nightmare. Especially if your job depends on the outcome of a drug test. Drugs like cannabis remain lurking in your system for a long time. Whether you had a smoke this morning or had fun at a party weeks, even months ago, it can pop up as a positive in a drug test. Debates about legalizing cannabis for its medicinal properties continue around the world. Legislators against legalization use the debate there are those who will misuse it and its effects on the wider community. This is a weak argument when there is more addiction to prescription drugs than illegal ones.

Legal drug addiction

According to Scott A. Bonn PhD his Psychology Today article, ‘Prescription Drugs are more deadly than street drugs’, April 28, 2014, backs the high rate of prescription drug addiction. Deaths from overdoses in the US tripled since 1990. Around 100 people die of drug overdoses daily. Prescription drugs cause more than 36,000 deaths a year. Just because doctors prescribe prescription drugs, it does not make them safe. The huge rise in overdoses is at 300 percent. This parallels the sales of powerful painkillers like OxyContin. In 2008, painkillers were responsible for 14,800 deaths from overdoses. This was more deaths than from cocaine and heroin combined. Yet we only hear the news of the effect of illegal drug overdoses. Rarely does a prescription overdose make the headlines. And the list of hypocrisies go on when governments advocate so many drugs as legal but, if abused, turn into legal lethal killers. It does not make a lot of sense that regulators ban some substances, but allow others knowing they are more likely to kill than illegal substances. Another issue concerning regulators is that designer drugs can replicate the effects of other drugs using different chemical compositions. These can be lethal when combined with alcohol and other substances. Designer drug effects earned them the label ‘party dugs’. Fentanyl, a strong synthetic painkiller prescribed to cancer patients is at least 100 times stronger than morphine. This is one of the most commonly abused drugs at parties. It has killed thousands of people in the US since 2013. It is often sold as a substitute for heroin or cocaine. Then there is the use of sports enhancing drugs used by athletes. Even with strong testing regimes in place, people still using these drugs have ways to mask any drug use. They often have to front up for random drug testing.

Why we drug test

We drug test for lots of reasons. There are the dangers of drugs and driving, and the risks it poses to innocent road users and members of the public. Or parents and schools concerned about drug problems in the children in their care. Employers use drug tests for new employees to avoid problems down the track. They can also random drug test, especially in high-risk workplaces where drug use can compromise safety. Here we bring you everything you need to know about drug testing.

Drugs and driving[1]

Drug testing drivers is not equal with testing drivers for drink driving. While a drug test can determine if certain drugs are in someone’s system, it is a hot debated whether that means they are too impaired to drive. This relates to cannabis and whether THC levels in saliva indicates mental impairment. With the number of states in the US legalizing recreational and medical cannabis, there are reports of people driving down streets smoking a joint. This raises obvious concerns with cars being a lethal weapon in the hands of a mentally impaired person. University of California, Psychiatry and Medical Cannabis Research chair Igor Grant said the challenge was how to assess if someone was too impaired by drugs to drive. He received a $1.8 million from the State of California to find the answer to how much smoking pot affects someone’s driving ability. He is to create a drug test that functions in a similar way as a breathalyzer. While it is easy to relate how much someone drinks to their ability to drive, Grant says it is not so simple when it comes to smoking pot. THC levels spike as soon as someone has a smoke. It takes time for the effect to reach the brain so their driving may still be normal. Body fat stores THC and it can stay in your system for weeks after your last smoke, especially if you smoke a lot.

Dangers of drugged driving

How drugs affect one person can be different to how they affect someone else. It also depends on the drug and how it acts on the brain. Cannabis is notorious for slowing down a driver’s reaction time on the road. It can cause misjudging time and distance, and decreases coordination. These are all vital skills to stay safe while out driving on the road. Methamphetamines and cocaine can cause aggressive or reckless driving. Some sedatives cause drowsiness in drivers. Drugs make drivers dangerous to themselves and others while under the influence. Research shows that drivers under the influence of cannabis tend to frequently lane change, have poor reactions, and trouble concentrating on what is going on around them. Because people can mix their drug use with alcohol, it is difficult to measure the level of impairment from specific drugs. To counteract this, drivers can face drug driving charges for being under the influence for any amount of a drug found in a blood or urine sample.

How common is drug driving?

Results from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NDUH) found 10 million people over the age of 12 said they had driven under the influence of drugs in the year before the survey. Men were more likely to drive in this situation than women. Young adults between the age of 18 and 25 are more likely to drive when under the influence of drugs than adults over 26.

Common drugs detected in drivers

Cannabis is the most common drug found in the bloodstream of drivers after an accident. Tests can measure the level of THC in the bloodstream, but it is unclear what affect it has on drivers involved in accidents. People can smoke pot while having a drink or mix it with other drugs, which can enhance or change the effects of cannabis. Some research concludes that drivers with cannabis in their system are twice as likely to be responsible for deadly crashes killing innocent people. An NHTSA study found there was no detectable risk of drivers with cannabis in their system crashing when controlling the results for age, gender, trace, and evidence of alcohol. Prescription drugs rank highly as connected with car crashes. A 2010 study of lethal car crashes found that 47 percent of drivers had prescription drugs in their system compared to 37 percent with THC and 10 percent with cocaine in their systems. The most common prescription drug found was painkillers. It is impossible for a study to distinguish between medical and unsupervised used of prescription drugs.

What are the drug crash statistics?

There are challenges in accurately measuring the contribution drugs have to car crashes. These challenges include:
  • lack of an accurate roadside testing
  • police do not test for drugs if a driver tests positive for alcohol
  • many drivers have drugs and alcohol in their systems, which makes it difficult to know what substance contributed more to the accident.

Drug driving issues for young adults

Because teenage drivers are less experienced they tend to misread situations on the road. This is especially true when under the influence of alcohol or drugs. When this happens, tragedy can result. A survey of middle and high school students in 2011 showed that 12 percent of students had driven while under the influence of cannabis within 2 weeks before the survey. This compared to 9 percent who said they had drunk alcohol and driven during the same time. Cannabis is the most common drug of choice, followed by cocaine and prescription painkillers.

Roadside drug testing

In Australia, it has become big to drug test drivers with new legislation due to that effect. Soon it will be commonplace to be drug and alcohol tested at random on Australian roads. Some states in the US also use roadside saliva drug tests. The issue with saliva tests is that smoking cannabis contaminates a person’s mouth with high levels of THC. But it can take up to 3 hours for the THC to reach that person’s bloodstream. Random drug testing does not reflect the THC in someone’s bloodstream at the time of the test, only the THC levels in the saliva. University of Maryland School of Medicine, adjunct professor and toxicologist Marilyn Huestis coauthored a study that found THC levels in the bloodstream dropped dramatically below state legislated level within a few hours. Huestis said they knew this but had now proved it. There is an urgent need for an accurate drug test. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration research showed that drivers with alcohol in their system jumped by 47 percent from 8.6 percent in 2007 to 12.6 percent in 2013/2014. The survey did not look at how much THC there was, only whether there was THC detected. The reason for this is, if there is THC in your system the law assumes you cannot drive. This is an issue even in states where cannabis use is legal for recreational and medical use. While it is legal to use cannabis, driving under its influence may not be. Many states still have zero tolerance laws of THC in a driver’s system. The other issue is for people taking medical cannabis under a doctor’s care. But, the answer to that is really simple. If you are impaired, no matter whether taking legal or illegal drugs, it is illegal to drive regardless.

State drug legal THC levels for drivers

While medical cannabis is legal in Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island, Michigan, and Arizona, all states have set THC limits for drivers. They are all different and range from 1 to 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Other states have no specific drug driving laws. Colorado has set THC limits on drivers at 5 nanograms per milliliters of blood. Even though they were the first state to legalize cannabis, they believe that if anything you take impairs your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely, a person should not be driving. Huestis said it was difficult for lawmakers to come up with a universal THC cutoff point like the alcohol cutoff point of 0.8.

Keep in mind:

  • Misusing prescription or using illegal drugs and driving is risky. It is unsafe to drive. Just like drinking and driving.
  • More than 10 million people over the age of 12 reported they had driven a vehicle while under the influence of drugs in 2014.
  • Lack of driving experience combined with drug and alcohol use is a lethal combination.
  • More than a quarter of people tested as positive for drug use after a lethal car crash were over the age of 50 in 2010.
  • Drugs come in second to alcohol as contributing to fatal accidents.
  • It is difficult to measure exactly how many car accidents drugs are responsible for causing.

Employment drug testing

These days employers are drug testing potential employees. There is nothing worse than having the perfect candidate with a great resume who’s references check out, and you hire them and they are unreliable. These days employers are checking potential employees out for drugs. They also do random on-the-job drug testing of employees, especially if they suspect something is going on. Many workplaces have zero tolerance drug policies. It makes sense really. Many jobs are dangerous and you cannot be impaired in anyway or you could cause an accident. Just imagine having an employee as high as a kite while working as a building contractor on scaffolding 10 stories in the air. Or, employees off their faces stacking hazardous goods incorrectly. Employers are responsible or everyone’s safety. This means drug testing has become a part of getting a job in many industries. So, what are employers looking for when they ask for a drug test? Drugs and alcohol can cause problems in the workplace such as:
  • injuries and accidents
  • productions losses
  • absenteeism
  • deaths
  • losses to an organisation’s bottom line.
Other problems drugs can cause in the workplace include:
  • high staff turnover
  • falling asleep on the job
  • lateness
  • low morale of staff in general
  • poor decision-making skills
  • cost of following disciplinary procedures
  • lack of working efficiently
  • coming to work feeling the after effects of the drugs, which can affect work performance
  • stealing
  • loss of production
  • trouble between supervisors and co-workers
  • preoccupation with scoring drugs
  • selling drugs at work.

What do employers test for?

The two most common drug tests employers use are the 5-panel and 10-panel drug tests:
  • 5-panel drug tests screen for:
    • PCP
    • cocaine
    • methamphetamines and amphetamines
    • THC
    • opiates such as morphine, heroin, and codeine.
  • 10-panel drug tests screen for:
    • PCP
    • amphetamines
    • cocaine
    • opiates
    • methamphetamine
    • barbiturates
    • methadone
    • THC
    • benzodiazepines

Testing for drugs at work

Many US states allow employers to drug test job applicants. But, they must follow some guidelines to ensure drug tests are not discriminatory. Drug tests must also be conducted according to manufacturer’s instructions of the drug test kits used. To test prospective employees, employers must:
  • say drug testing applies to job applicants in any job advertisements
  • test all applicants in the same way
  • an employer can offer a potential employee a job based on the outcome of a drug test
  • have a state certified laboratory carry out the testing.

Why test current workers?

Employers need to be wary and have a reason to test current employees. Employers can only carry out drug testing after a workplace incident or injury. And, only when they suspect the accident was caused by someone under the influence of drugs. The onus is on employers to have a safe and drug-free place for all workers to come to work in.

Drug testing at home

When you have been out on the town having a great time, taking drugs and drinking, you forget about the consequences of tomorrow. Dancing the night away can seriously impact your life the next day. There are a lot of good home drug tests. These can be great to have at home or even carry with you if you are out partying all the time. They can keep or get you out of trouble if you have been partying too hard. At home drug tests provide accurate results if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to buy good quality ones if you are going to rely on the results. The cheaper ones may not be as reliable. But, if you have had a big night out, you may want to test yourself for drugs before going to work the next day, especially if your workplace has a policy of zero tolerance to drugs.

Home Drug testing for parents and schools

With drug testing becoming so common, parents and schools may consider testing their kids for drugs. But, the question is, should schools and parents being drug testing kids? A lot of experts think kids should be drug tested to avoid:
  • psychiatric problems now and in the future
  • antisocial and violent outbursts
  • raising the odds of kids being involved in accidents.
While everyone is responsible for ensuring children are safe and have minimal exposure to drugs, reality dictates this is almost impossible in today’ social environment. The US government supported random drug testing at schools. The idea being that if students expect random drug testing they will not start taking drugs or stop using them rather than risk testing positive. Drug test kits are widely available to parents who suspect their kids of being on drugs. But, should parents go down this road? It can do more harm than good. Emotionally, whether a home test is negative or positive, it can damage the trust between you and your kids. Some parents may have good reason to test their kids and others may test just because they can. This can be upsetting for kids, especially if they feel parents or their peers do not trust them. The only benefits from drug testing a child is if the test returns a positive result. At least you now know the truth can support them to get help to find better ways to cope. But, what if the test is negative? You have just put a huge dent in the trust between you and your child. Negatives can also provide false comfort. Your child can use this against you in the future if you find the need to question them about using drugs at any other time. Kids are smart. They also know how to get around drug tests if they are doing drugs regularly. Home drug tests that do not check creatine or pH levels are easy to fool. All you do is substitute water or fake urine for the urine sample. So, parents, make sure someone is watching your child as they pass urine for a drug test. Home drug tests do not test for synthetic cannabis and other types of drugs. These can be just as dangerous even more so than cannabis, for example. Synthetic drugs mimicking cannabis can be made from unknown toxic ingredients that can cause all sorts of health problems. In some cases, even death. Launching an anti-drugs campaign at home is most likely not going to gain you much support or popularity. Even If the kids are not involved in drugs. You can harm your relationship with your child when you create an environment of mistrust and suspicion. Rather than using drug tests when you suspect your child is using drugs, seek other ways to find out the truth. Talk to your child’s doctor and teachers. You do not want to turn this into a battle of who can hide their drug use best from your attempts to discover it.
Did you know:
  • more young people die from prescription drugs than die from heroin and cocaine combined
  • 50 percent of high school seniors have tried drugs of some kind
  • 43 percent of high school seniors smoke cannabis
  • 15 percent of children have had a toke by the time they reach 8th grade
  • more than 60 percent of teenagers said that drugs were freely available at school
  • 28 percent of teenagers said they knew at least one person who used ecstasy
  • 1 in 9 high school seniors have tried synthetic cannabis (K2, spice, etc) and 1.3 percent had used bath salts to get high
  • 64 percent of teenagers said they had tried prescription drugs someone had given them
  • 6 percent of 12th graders have used hallucinogenic drugs
  • 5 percent of 12th graders tried cocaine and 2 percent crack[2].

Why use a home drug test?

Parents supporting teenagers and young adults with a drug problem can also help rebuild trust using drug tests. Use them as part of a plan to manage the future. Even someone supporting a partner with a drug problem may use a home drug test so you can get support and intervention for the drug problem. It shows parents and partners their loved one is serious about getting help. Teenagers find it difficult when being pressured by peer groups. Drugs can be a difficult thing to avoid. Young people want to try new things in their lives. While this is a good thing most of the time. Drugs can be something that can turn into a long-term problem. Have an agreement with your loved one with a drug problem that they take a drug test after being out on the town. Knowing this can help them resist any temptation.

Drug testing

Roadside drug testing is obvious, to protect other road users from people affected by illicit drugs. Drug tests are everywhere – at work, on the road, for sportspeople, criminals and rehabilitation participants. Random drug tests can turn up just about anywhere. There is not much you can do to avoid them anymore. Drug testing is a multi-billion-dollar industry that exists, in essence, to shame people for doing wrong in secret.

Drugs most commonly abused

The following details the most commonly abused drugs.

Cannabis:

  • Scientific name. Cannabis Sativa.
  • How it is used. Smoked, ingested.
  • Negative effects. Causes paranoia, heart disease, makes it difficult to focus and can speed up your heart rate.
  • On the street. Also known as pot, dope, hash, Mary Jane, Aunt Mary, grass, and pot.

Cocaine:

  • Chemical name. Methyl (1R,2R,3S,5S)-3- (benzoyloxy)-8-methyl-8-azabicyclo[3.2.1] octane-2-carboxylate.
  • How it is used. Snorting, injecting directly into the vein or inhaling it.
  • Negative effects. Causes panic attacks, tightening of the blood vessels, muscle spasms, cravings for more drugs increases, depression, hallucinations, psychosis, and can increase the heart rate.
  • On the street. Also known as paradise, snow, white, Aunt Nora, and toot.

Heroin:

  • Chemical name. (5α,6α)-7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methylmorphinan-3,6-diol diacetate.
  • How it is used. You can inhale, smoke, and inject heroin.
  • Negative effects. It can weaken the immune system, cause memory loss, depression, poor thinking capacity, and respiratory illnesses, insomnia, weakness in the muscles, and depression.
  • On the street. Also known as nose drops, Big H, thunder, brown sugar, and horse.

Methamphetamine:

  • Chemical Name: N-methyl-1-phenylpropan-2-amine.
  • How it is used. You can use it intravenously, inhale the smoke, and use it orally, intramuscularly, rectally, and through the vagina.
  • Negative effects. Using methamphetamine can cause violent, aggressive behavior, an irregular and fast heartbeat, psychosis, a decrease in appetite, loss of memory, and changes in a person’s brain structure.
  • On the street. Also known as glass, Tina, crystal meth, ice, crank, and speed.

Types of drug tests

A basic drug test should be able to determine the presence of the following classes of drugs:
  • opiates (codeine, morphine, heroin)
  • cannabinoids (marijuana)
  • phencyclidine (PCP)
  • amphetamines (amphetamines, methamphetamines)
  • cocaine (benzoylecognine).
There are five types of drug tests:
  • urine
  • blood
  • hair

Urine drug testing is:

  • one of the fastest ways to get a result
  • for a wide range of drugs
  • may not be reliable when testing for alcohol in the system
  • good for detecting prescription and illegal drugs.

Blood testing is the most:

  • expensive method of drug testing
  • accurate method
  • intrusive of all drug testing methods.
It is not used very often because of the cost.

Hair testing:

  • costs more than urine testing
  • detects drug use over a longer period of time
  • may not detect current drug use
  • must have a hair sample at least 70 or more strands thick and 1.5 inches long.

Saliva testing:

  • costs more than urine testing
  • non-intrusive
  • is convenient but best analyzed in a laboratory for accurate results
  • can detect recently used drugs
  • is more reliable for detecting opiates and methamphetamines, but not reliable for detecting cannabis use.
The cutoff levels for testing for drugs using the enzyme multiplied immunoassay technique are in Table 1. Table 1 Cut-off level using the immunoassay method
Substance ng/ml
Opiate metabolites 1 2000
Cannabis metabolites     50
Phencyclidine (PCP)     25
Amphetamines 2 500
Cocaine metabolites 150

Urine drug testing

The most common form of drug testing is through a person’s urine. It is convenient and cost-effective. In 2015, there were 55 million drug tests with 90 percent of them urine tests. The results of a urine test depend on the conditions the sample is collected in. The temperature of the sample should be between 96 and 99 degrees when collected. There is a risk of contamination if it is not at that temperature. Testing urine identifies whether the parent drug or its metabolites are present in the sample to determine whether there has been recent use.

Drugs urine testing can identify

How long different drugs stay in your system depends on how often and how much you use. It also depends on the rate your body’s metabolic system works. Different drugs stay in your system for certain periods of time (see table 2). During this time, a urine drug test can detect traces of drugs in your urine. Cannabis stays in your system for the longest time. This is because your body fat stores the THC. As you burn fat, THC is released back into your bloodstream. Long-term cannabis users can have traces of the drug in their system for up to 3 months after their last smoke. Research in 2013 suggests that exercise can help you release the THC more quickly into your system. While a slow release of THC into your bloodstream will not produce a high, it is still detectable in your urine. This makes it difficult to pass random drug tests. Table 2 Drug types and how long they stay in your system for detection by urine testing
Drug Common names Time in the system
Amphetamines Biphetamine, Dexedrine; Black Beauties, White Crosses 2 – 5 days
Amphetamine variants Desoxyn; Crank, Crystal, Glass, Ice, Speed 3 – 5 days
Barbiturates (Long-Acting) Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, Phenobarbital 3 – 4 weeks
Barbiturates (Short-Acting) Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, Phenobarbital 2 days
Benzodiazepines Ativan, Halcion, Librium, Rohypnol, Valium; Roofies, Tranks, Xanax 7 – 10 days
Cannabinoids (THC, Marijuana) See below 5 – 60 days
Cocaine Coke, Crack, Snow 2 – 5 days
Codeine Tylenol w/codeine, Robitussin A-C, Empirin w/codeine, Fiorinal w/codeine 5 – 7 days
Euphorics Ecstasy, Mushrooms 5 – 7 days
Ketamine Special K 5 – 7 days
Heroin Diacetylmorphine; Horse, Smack 5 – 7 days
LSD Acid, Microdot 7 – 10 days
Mescaline Buttons, Cactus, Mesc, Peyote 5 – 7 days
Methadone Amidone, Dolophine, Methadose 5 – 7 days
Methamphetamines Desoxyn; Crank, Crystal, Glass, Ice, Speed 3 – 5 days
Morphine Roxanol, Duramorph 5 – 7 days
Opiates Laudanum, Paregoric; Dover’s Powder 5 – 7 days
Phencyclidine PCP; Angel Dust, Boat, Hog, Love Boat 2 – 8 days
Psilocybin Magic Mushroom, Purple Passion 5 – 7 days
Steroids (anabolic oral) Testosterone (T/E ratio), Stanazolol, Nandrolone 14 – 28 days
Steroids (anabolic injected) Testosterone (T/E ratio), Stanazolol, Nandrolone 1 – 3 months
Cannabis detection base on time and use
Once only 5 – 8 days
2 – 4 times a month 11 – 18 days
2 – 4 times a week 23 – 35 days
5 – 6 times week 33 – 48 days
Daily use 49 – 63 days

Benefits of urine drug tests

When you use drugs your system processes them and produces metabolites. Your body expels these through your urine. Urine analysis can detect the metabolites within a certain amount of time after taking the drugs. Urine testing is most commonly used because of its many benefits, including:
  • Cost-effectiveness. Urine testing is cheaper than blood and hair follicle testing. All you need is a testing strip, and a testing agent to add to the urine. Then wait a few seconds for the results.
  • Collecting a urine sample is convenient. The person only needs a container to collect the sample. No using needles to take blood or cutting a sample of someone’s hair.
  • Identifies a wide variety of drugs. Urine testing can identify a much wider range of drugs than other tests.
  • Identifies recent use. Metabolites quickly leave your system through your urine. So, the presence of metabolites in a person’s urine indicates recent use. A hair test can only establish a history of drug use.
  • Reliable results. Because urine testing is so commonly used, it has become a standardized test with low false positive results.
  • Instant results. It takes only a few seconds to get the results of a urine test. The color indicator on the test strip starts to change color straight away. These tests are convenient when you require instant results.

Problems with urine drug testing

Everything has weaknesses no matter how reliable and convenient it is. Urine testing is no different. Here are some of the problems with urine testing:
  • Short window of opportunity. Urine testing only detects the metabolites in the urine at the time of collection. So, this method only detects recent drug use and not drug use over the long term.
  • Cannot measure drug levels in the system. A positive urine test only means there are traces of drugs showing up as metabolites. Traces of the drug can also show up. While urine testing is good for detecting the use of drugs as it cannot measure how much someone has taken.
  • Risk of contamination. There are ways to contaminate urine samples. People can add substances or switch the sample over if they are not closely watched while taking the sample.
  • Intrusive collection method. Some people find it intrusive going to the bathroom to pee in a cup while laboratory or medical staff wait outside. Urine testing is more intrusive than taking a hair sample.

Urine drug test methods

There are two types of urine drug tests. The most cost-effective method is the immunoassay test. It gives almost instant results. The problem is that it does not pick up all types of drugs and sometimes gives false positives. A false positive is when someone denies using drugs when a positive urine drug test comes back as the result.

Immunoassay testing

The sample is divided into two portions (aliquots) for chemical testing at the laboratory. The first portion has a process called enzyme immunoassay performed on it as an initial screen. Immunoassays determine how specific antigens cause unique reactions. These reactions produce proteins in the system called antibodies. Antibodies can indicate whether a targeted drug is in the system by determining the antigen-antibody complexes in the sample. A sample of the urine is added to a test strip. It turns different colors when adding a chemical agent to indicate the absence or presence of different drugs.

Chromatography/mass spectrometry testing

You can deny using drugs when a test comes back positive, especially if you have not been using them. If you do, you will take a second test. The second urine portion will then have a chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS) test. This is more expensive but rarely produces false positives. If this comes back positive, then the test record shows the test as positive. Both tests can:
  • give false positives
  • fail to catch drugs used that day
  • be cheated.

Types of tests include:

  • iCassette Premium Complete 9 Panel Urine Drug Test Kit. This test kit comes with a pipette and a device that has markers as indicators for different results. The urine is put onto the device and you get results in a couple of seconds. Use this kit to test for amphetamines, opiates, cocaine, benzodiazepines, phencyclidine, cannabis, barbiturates, methamphetamines, and methadone.
  • iCassette Premium Complete 10 Panel Urine Drug Test Kit. This is similar to the 9-panel urine dug test kit. It does everything that one does, but it can also detect tricyclic anti-depressants in the system.
  • T-Cup – 5 Panel Multi-Drug Urine Integrated Test Cup. This test kit has a specimen cup and a temperature strip for the results. It gives an accurate reading with the results available quickly. The T-cup can screen for cannabis, amphetamines, opiates, methamphetamines and cocaine.

Using synthetic urine to pass drug tests

Hard to believe I know. But, synthetic pee is a real thing. Does it really work to help you pass a urine test? While it may have worked in the past, urine drug tests undergo constant development to counteract false positives. These days some urine tests can detect fake urine.

What is fake pee?

Fake pee mimics human urine. People often use it to pass urine drug tests. Manufactured urines come as a dried powder and as pre-mixed solutions. You can buy it at smoke shops, sex shops, and online. All products come with a use by date. Do not use anything that has been sitting around for a while. It may just get you into trouble. Make sure you read the instructions before using it. You cannot use some fake urine 8 hours after mixing or opening. Others are single use only. But, if you have a urine drug test sprung on you by surprise then you may not have fake pee just sitting around. People who know they may have to pass a surprise test go to complex methods to be prepared. Some buy bladders and tubes as well as temperature strips to help them pass a drug test. Fake pee is also used for:
  • theatre
  • tricks
  • kinky sex
  • an animal repellant.

Does fake pee really work?

Synthetic urine can help you pass a drug test. But, it is not guaranteed. If you get caught using the fake stuff, you can get a hefty fine in some states. Although it is illegal to cheat on drug tests, some believe drug testing is a direct violation of their rights. The most important thing when using the fake stuff is to buy a good quality product. Also, make sure you follow the instructions for its correct use. Just remember, there is no 100 percent guarantee that fake pee will get you through a drug test. Technology improves all the time. Drug test companies know that fake pee exists, so they improve their tests to counteract false negatives. As fast as they create new detection methods, the cheats create new products to counteract them. A good quality synthetic urine product should have the following properties:
  • nitrates
  • creatine
  • urea
  • uric acid
  • naturally foam
  • have a normal pH of between 4.8 and 8
  • normal gravity (thickness of the urine compared to water)
  • be the correct temperature (90 to 100°F, 32 to 36°C)
  • smell like urine.

What indicators does the laboratory analyze?

Urine is used to test for all sorts of medical conditions, but most commonly for drugs in someone’s system. Thinking about using fake urine? Then it is a good idea to do some research into what the lab tests for. Here are some things a urine dug test does not screen for, including:
  • genetic data
  • prescription drugs (other than opioid medications, amphetamines and anything else excluded by the specific test)
  • sex hormones to indicate gender
  • general state of health.
Standard urine drug tests check for the following:
  • cocaine
  • amphetamines
  • alcohol (when requested)
  • opiates
  • phencyclidine (PCP).
They will also look for the following:
  • uric acid
  • excess nitrates
  • glutaraldehyde
  • pH levels
  • check the gravity
  • temperature
  • creatine
Lab staff may suspect a sample is not authentic from its color or the way it foams or smells. This is not enough for the lab to reject the sample. But, it will cause staff to take a closer look at it. The first thing a lab does when it receives a urine sample is check the temperature when it arrives. You need to be aware of this if you are going to try and pass off fake urine as your own to pass a drug test. When a lab suspects a fake sample, they have to scientifically prove it is fake before rejecting it. If you are thinking of using fake urine, remember that different laboratories in different states have to meet different legislated requirements. An example is that is illegal to use synthetic urine in New Hampshire. The senate voted on the ban in 2016 and it came into effect on January 1, 2017. Senate Bill 361 (SB 361) bans the sale or use of any synthetic urine or urine additives. Anyone caught selling or using fake pee can face a minimum fine of $500.

Blood drug testing

Drugs and drug dependency have become a real problem in a modern world. It affects all ages, but many young people become addicted often resulting in tragic deaths. Blood tests can identify the parent drug, rather than just the metabolites like a urine test. There is a short time span for blood tests to detect drugs in someone’s system. There is only 6 hours after the last use of a drug that a blood test can detect drugs use. Blood tests are the most accurate drug test of them all as long as the sample is taken during the 6-hour window. Although it is the most accurate drug test, it is the one most uncommonly used because it is:
  • more invasive than other drug tests
  • the most expensive of all drug test types
  • inconvenient as you need a nurse or medical practitioner to take the blood sample
  • up to 7 days before you get the results.

When to use a blood test

While it is rarely used, there are times when a blood test is needed. Blood tests may be necessary in the following situations:
  • by an insurance company to test for drugs before accepting a new insurance policy
  • employers may require a blood test from prospective employees to ensure they are dug and alcohol-free
  • for court cases where there is a need to prove someone was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, especially where there is a death.
Authorities can take a blood sample from the drivers involved in an accident. This is to test whether drugs or alcohol is the cause of the accident.

What makes blood tests so accurate?

Blood tests are accurate as only medical professionals take the blood sample. There is no risk of the patient contaminating the sample. It is not possible to cheat a blood drug test. Other forms of drug tests are susceptible to contamination and cheating. It is difficult to mask drugs in your system as a blood test can pick up that evidence. The only thing you can do is try to delay a blood test. Obviously, this will not work if a random test is sprung on you. Blood tests can detect a variety of drugs, including:
  • amphetamines within 10 – 14 hours
  • barbiturates within 1 – 2 days
  • benzodiazepines within 6 – 48 hours
  • cannabis within 6 – 24 hours
  • cocaine within 12 – 24 hours
  • codeine within 6 – 12 hours
  • LSD within 0 – 3 hours
  • methamphetamines within 24 hours
  • PCP within 12 – 24 hours.

How to pass a blood drug test

The short answer is not to take drugs. But, knowing how long the illegal drug types stay in your system can help you delay blood testing until you know the drugs have left your bloodstream. When you know you have to pass a blood drug test make sure you do not take drugs for at least one day before, preferably more. This obviously does not work for random blood tests. Some companies claim their detoxifying products cleanse drugs from your system. Take these detoxifying products with caution as they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. You do not know what is in them or how they will affect any preexisting health conditions, other medications, or someone who is pregnant.

Hair drug testing

Hair drug testing uses a sample of hair to identify whether the person has been using specific drugs. The test measures the drug molecules and metabolites left in the hair after the body has expelled them from the body. A hair drug test can identify traces of drugs for around 90 days after last drug use. This can vary depending on the person’s system and how heavy the drug use was prior to stopping. How fast the hair grows also influences the timeframe this test can detect drugs in someone’s system. Hair at the crown of the head grows at about ½ inch (1.3 cm) a month. But this varies due to many factors. Testing hair samples is mostly used for research as it can identify patterns of drug use in the patient. For example, a hair sample can show if someone has stopped using drugs and then starts again. Researchers can trace a person’s history of drug use in their hair. How far back they can trace depends on the length of the hair sample. The main problem with hair drug testing is its susceptibility to external contaminates in the local environment. Just the most minute particles of dust or smoke can result in false positive test results. Some experts claim that dark hair is more likely to attract contaminants. This makes Latin Americans, African and Asian people more likely to return a false positive. A hair test is invasive. A small amount of the most recent hair (about 1.5 inches (3.9 cm) in length) is cut from close to the scalp. The longer the piece of hair, the more history of drug use the hair test can detect. A hair follicle drug test can detect the following drugs:
  • methamphetamine (methamphetamine/amphetamine and ecstasy)
  • opiates (codeine, morphine and 6-monacteyl morphine)
  • cannabis
  • phencyclidine (PCP)
  • cocaine (cocaine and benzoylecgonine).

Take hair from anywhere

If you think being bald will get you out of a hair follicle drug test, think again. Hair from any part of the body, except the pubic area, is suitable for testing. Body hair grows much slower than head hair. Body hair is completely replaced around once a year. And, if you have no suitable body hair, you will probably have to do a urine drug test instead.

Effectiveness of hair follicle tests

Hair follicle tests are thought to be more accurate than urine tests for detecting low-level drug use over extended periods of time. These drugs usually leave the system in up to 7 days. But, it is possible to detect the history a person’s drug use over a period of time. It just depends on the length of the hair sample.

Detecting cannabis using a hair follicle drug test

Hair follicle tests are growing in popularity for employers and cannabis is at the top of the hit list. It takes about 5 days after you use cannabis to show up in your hair. The presence of cannabis in your hair can stay for several months or until you have a haircut. Drugs, including cannabis, manifest themselves in hair, urine, saliva, and the bloodstream. These deposits become trapped in the hair follicles and your hair leaves a history of any type of drug use as it grows out. Drug laboratories test the hair for evidence of metabolites trapped in the hair. They determine a positive or negative result based on this. A positive result can mean the person has used cannabis, for example, anytime in the last 3 months. The test cannot establish whether cannabis was used last week, an hour or 2 months ago.

Removing cannabis traces from your hair

You cannot simply wash out the traces of cannabis from your hair with your daily shampoo. Metabolites have stabilized within the hair follicle as it grew. Ordinary hair products will not remove these. There are medical grade detoxifying shampoos on the market that can remove all traces of metabolites from your hair. Detoxifying shampoos were originally for removing the metabolites left behind by prescription medicines. They have an acidic base and eliminate all metabolites left behind in your hair, including traces of cannabis, without causing damage. Cleanse your hair and body of cannabis (and other drugs) by:
  1. Permanently cleanse your system in 2 – 6 days. For this to work, there must be no cannabis (or other drugs) in your system. If there are other drugs in your system, they will emerge through your hair again after cleansing. You can do this by:
    • Cleansing your internal system. Flush your system with herbal supplements daily combined with a healthy diet. This will naturally detox your system of any drugs in 3 – 6 days.
    • Cleansing your hair. Use a good detox shampoo to cleanse traces of drugs from your hair. This will permanently remove all traces from your system and hair. But, of course, if you take drugs again you ill have to detox again.
  2. Detox in 90 days. You can naturally detox your system of all traces of cannabis within 30 days. Once your blood and urine no longer carries drug traces, your hair will start to grow clean of drug metabolites. This process will take up to 90 days.
  3. Temporary 48-hour system flush. The temporary flush is not as effective as other methods. It is a good option if short on time. Use a detoxification shampoo to remove drug metabolites from your hair. Cleansing your hair is only a temporary solution. It will last 24 – 48 hours before your hair needs cleaning again.
Keep in mind. Detoxifying is the removal of toxins from your system. Taking drugs after cleansing will reintroduce the toxins back into your system.

Saliva drug testing

Saliva drug tests have many names – cheek swab drug test, swab drug test, saliva swab test, and so on. It is the newest of the drug screen tests and has become popular over the last 10 years because it is:
  • hard to cheat the test
  • easy to use for random drug testing
  • non-invasive and there is no need for privacy
  • results within 10 minutes
  • costs less than a urine drug test.
While the benefits make it easy for roadside testing or for use by employers, the disadvantages include:
  • not as sensitive to THC as the urine drug test
  • can detect pot use from only a week ago
  • you can cheat the test
  • how the results are measured varies from one manufacturer to another so there is no real consistency between the results from different manufacturers.
The saliva test is good news for pot smokers as it is the easiest drug test to pass. THC can only be detected in your saliva for 12 – 24 hours after your last use of the drugs compared to:
  • opiates: 2 – 3 days
  • cocaine: up to 24 hours
  • alcohol: 6 – 12 hours
  • methamphetamines and ecstasy: 2 – 4 days.
Saliva drug tests are commonly used after accidents out on the road, by employers, and as random drug tests.

How saliva drug tests work

Toxins are everywhere. In the air we breathe, and the food and water that sustains us. Our systems process these into metabolites. Some get expelled from the body and the system stores others. These are stored in your hair, muscles, fatty deposits, urine, and bloodstream. How many toxins remain depends on your exposure to what substances. Saliva drugs tests test directly for the presence of THC in saliva before it breaks down into metabolites. This is the reason there is only a short window of opportunity for using saliva testing to detect cannabis use.

Testing method

The saliva test is super simple. The tester will put a toothbrush type of device between your cheek and lower gum for a couple of minutes to get a saliva sample. Or, using a swab, take a sample from below the tongue, below the cheek, and from along the gum line. The results are available in a matter of minutes.

Passing a saliva drug test

The problems with drug tests are they are usually random. You may never know when you are going to be asked to take one. Passing could be crucial to your life, such as your employment or getting a job. But, if you know you may have to take a drug test, for example, at work, here are some things that can help you. To avoid being caught out there are a lot of products on the market. You can always try these. But, here are some home remedies that can give good results.

Stay clean

The obvious answer is to get clean. Avoid drugs altogether for at least 5 days before the saliva drug test. You may find this impossible, so you will need to try other methods.

Rinse your mouth

Get a strong mouthwash, designed to cleanse the toxins and THC from your mouth. Rinse your mouth out several times and hold it in your mouth for several minutes so it takes effect. This will make your breath smell good and neutralize the toxins in your saliva. This only gives you a 15-minute window to give your saliva sample before the mouthwash has no effect. Just remember not to smoke or take drugs afterwards.

Detoxify your system

Flush the toxins from your system:
  • Drink plenty of water and fruit juices, which will send you running to the toilet to pee the toxins out.
  • Exercise to sweat them out.
  • Eat fruit, and drink coffee and fruit juices to get your bowels working. It will also help cleanse your saliva.

Chew gum and mints

Chew on strong mints or gum. This is a discrete way to neutralize any toxins left behind, especially cannabis and anything else you take orally. Make sure to spit out the old saliva. Avoid taking any drugs orally at least 24 hours before a saliva drug test.

Eat more protein

Up your protein intake at least a few days before a saliva test. This can normalize your creatine levels. Red meat, chicken, and eggs are ideal.

Eat some grease

Eat a fatty meal just before the test. The fat soaks up the metabolites from your system so they cannot be detected in your saliva.

Ice as a cleanser

Just before going in for the saliva drug test, chew on some ice to naturally cleanse your mouth. Remember to spit out the old saliva.

Clean your teeth

Give your teeth, cheeks, gums, and teeth a good scrub. This will help to neutralize any metabolites in your saliva. Floss between your teeth to remove any traces from there as well.

So, you failed

When you fail a saliva drug test you can either accept and deal with the consequences, or maintain your innocence. You will have to be a good actor to pull this off. It is rare for a saliva test to give a false positive for THC. This is because no other metabolite structure is similar to THC. While drug tests often screen for more than THC, these drugs can sometimes give false positives. Make sure you let the testers know what medications – prescription and nonprescription – you are taking. Even ask for a urine test to back up your claims of innocence. It can take a couple of days to organize a urine test, which gives you time to detox. However, you may better off dealing with consequences of failed test and moving on.

Conclusion

Regardless of how you feel about drug testing, it is here to stay. Just like testing for drunk driving. The chances of coming across a random drug test is high, whether out on the road, after an accident or in the workplace.   [1]Much of the information for this section is based on National Institute on Drug Abuse; National Institute of Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drugged-driving#references. [2] source http://www.teendrugrehabs.com/facts-and-stats/

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Posted in General and tagged Drug Testing Guide

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3 Comments

  1. Your article saved my ass going through a ride program in Etobicoke this past weekend. I fooled their saliva drug test

  2. I found this information helpful for my incorrigible son.

  3. Great insight to how drug testing works.

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