As Drug Tests Advance, So Does Cheating

As Drug Tests Advance, So Does Cheating
Posted by CN Staff on March 29, 2004 at 09:05:27 PT
By Adam Geller, The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press 
Philadelphia -- Put 30 drug testing workers in a room together for a few hours and it isn't long before they start trading strange -- and somewhat indelicate -- tales of urine collection.Stories of specimens doctored to the most vivid hues of blue, green and purple, and others spiked with bleach or diluted with chewing tobacco. Talk of false penises, and synthetic urine formulated in separate his and hers versions. And accounts of mystery concoctions ingested or added to try to ensure that urine does not betray the drug use of its provider.
"It's just amazing," says Sherri Vogler, who runs a Houston specimen collection company and led the discussion recently at a training session for testing workers held at a Philadelphia hotel. "Beating a drug test has become a major industry."Drug screening is a rite of passage for millions of U.S. workers, with more than 40 million tests conducted each year by employers and others. The vast majority are done by collecting a urine sample, which people in the testing business refer to, mostly straight-faced, as their "gold standard."The "positive" rates are low -- less than 5 percent -- suggesting that most people aren't using drugs, let alone trying to cheat.But the prevalence of screening and the reach of the Internet has fostered a thriving cottage industry of entrepreneurs who promise to help workers beat the tests.The federal government hopes to crack down on cheating by broadening testing of its own employees over the next year to include scrutiny of workers' saliva, hair and sweat. Some private employers have already adopted the alternative testing methods, and new government standards could lead even more companies to make the switch."You want to create a new mechanism for cheating on drug tests, we're going to create a mechanism to catch it," said Robert Stephenson II, an official with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which sets standards for testing federal workers.But tests using so-called alternative matrices are already fueling a new round of cat-and-mouse, as companies who specialize in test-beating scramble to market products they claim will foil hair and saliva screening."The government can go ahead and try to catch up and they will eventually, but they're going to have to do that through legislation. They're not going to do it through science," said Tony Wilson, a spokesman for Spectrum Labs, a Cincinnati company that markets an ever-changing lineup of products designed to beat drug tests.Spectrum got its start in 1992 with a product called Urine Luck, a urine additive whose formula the company keeps changing in a bid to stay one step ahead of the testing labs bent on deciphering and detecting it."I think there's version 7.3 out there right now. It's like software," Ted Shults, chairman of the American Association of Medical Review Officers, says with grudging admiration.But as new types of tests have gained acceptance in the past few years, Spectrum has also begun looking beyond urine. The company now sells 9 different products, including Get Clean Shampoo intended to counteract hair tests and Quick Fizz tablets for saliva tests."It's not about defrauding anybody," Wilson said of his company's products. "It's about protecting privacy, because people have no privacy anymore."The constant morphing by Spectrum and companies like it has complicated the work of test labs and employers, said Shults, whose group is made up of doctors charged with reviewing the methods and procedures used in drug screening.A handful of states have begun cracking down, passing laws that forbid the sale of substances or devices designed to beat drug tests. So far, there has only been limited enforcement.In one closely watched case, South Carolina prosecutors won conviction of a businessman, Kenneth Curtis, for violating a state law that bans the sale of urine to cheat on a drug test. Curtis, who began serving a six-month sentence in February, sold thousands of containers of his own urine in the late 1990s over the Internet.Labs and firms that make the testing technology say they've worked aggressively to screen out cheaters who use substitute urine or adulterants.Quest Diagnostics Inc., one of the largest providers of workplace drug tests, reports that the most common type of adulterants were detected in just 0.02 percent of the 2.8 million tests it administered in the first half of last year. That is down from 0.23 percent in 1999, an all-time high.Substituted urine was detected in 0.03 percent of tests, a figure that has stayed roughly constant over time.Alternative testing will make it even harder for cheaters, said Barry Sample, director of science and technology for Quest's corporate health and wellness division. Unlike most urine tests, hair and saliva tests are done under direct observation, making substitution very difficult, he said. So far, products marketed to foil the test don't appear to work, he said.But Sample said he doesn't expect cheaters and companies that cater to them to give up."I think as the alternative matrices grow in their application in the industry and in the work force you will see more varied types of products that are available to attempt to help a donor cheat on their test," he said.The specimen collectors who administer drug tests, meanwhile, say experience has shown some screening subjects will go to extraordinary measures to evade a test.Robert Brewster, owner of an Altamonte Springs, Fla. testing company, recalls when he went to a construction site to administer an unannounced drug test and one of the workers tried to run him down with a truck.Darrell Fontenot, an independent tester from Crowley, La. who regularly conducts tests on offshore oil rigs, said entire work crews have quit on the spot -- even when that spot was in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico -- rather than submit to his test.Other workers have used decidedly more clandestine methods, said collectors at the one-day seminar in Philadelphia run by the Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association.Vogler, whose Houston Medical Testing Service has been doing drug screens since 1989, said staffers have caught people with bottles of substitute urine taped to their legs.Urine is tested for temperature when it is collected, leading some subjects to heat synthetic or substitute urine. The most skilled do so with special heating units hidden in their clothing. The less adept have been known to turn in specimen cups charred at the bottom from exposure to a cigarette lighter, she said.People also deliberately try to contaminate samples, using everything from soap to antacid tablets and a variety of chemical additives."If it glows in the dark, it's not normal," Vogler said, as her fellow specimen collectors chuckled and nodded their heads knowingly.Fontenot said he once overheard workers discussing how they swallowed teaspoons of bleach in hopes it would taint their test. A friend told him about a worker who had his 5-year-old son urinate in a cup every few weeks to provide him with a ready substitute sample that he kept handy for random drug tests.Then there are men who rely on products like the Whizzinator, a fillable prosthetic penis that is marketed in five skintones to evade the notice of test monitors. Testers said they've almost certainly missed a few of those.In a business reliant on tests designed to be standardized and repetitive, it keeps things very interesting, Vogler said."I've been in it for 14 years and [some times] I'll think I've seen it all," she said. "But then something new will happen, and it'll be like, no, I haven't seen it all yet." Note: Workers' saliva, hair, sweat increasingly scrutinized amid ever-evolving efforts to beat screening.Source: Associated Press Author: Adam Geller, The Associated PressPublished: March 29, 2004Copyright: 2004 The Associated Press CannabisNews Drug Testing Archives
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on March 29, 2004 at 20:52:47 PT
Audio Now Online: It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle 
The audio is online at:
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Comment #20 posted by E_Johnson on March 29, 2004 at 17:00:18 PT
Holy creeping Sovietisms, Batman
When drug testing is no longer done by identifiable companies but people come to see it as something done by the generic "them" -- that's a creeping Sovietism in action.There's practically a new one every day on this board.The power company working together with the police to use power consumption as a basis for a search warrant -- a creeping Sovietism.This is not a traditional American idea, this is something new brought to this country by the Drug war.
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Comment #19 posted by Sam Adams on March 29, 2004 at 13:50:12 PT
I never cease to be amazed...
at the state-worship by the media in this country. I love the way the AP says "Beating a drug test has become a major industry". Yah right - I'll bet it's only a fraction the size of the drug-testing industry itself! But no, apparently no giant, campaign-contributing dreadnought of an drug-testing industry exists. Drug tests are performed by some magical, virtuous, god-like entity that is not to be questioned, or even thought about!  
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Comment #18 posted by Virgil on March 29, 2004 at 12:32:03 PT
Prime- Sure there is hope
What is unfortunate is that we have all this work ahead of us. Don't we all already have enough to do without having to restoring the mission of government and don't we all have enough expenses without the government crapping it all away?
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Comment #17 posted by FoM on March 29, 2004 at 12:28:43 PT
I agree with you. I've even heard where a boss warns employees when they will be randomed. One company I heard refused to drug test after losing all his good employees because they failed.
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Comment #16 posted by Prime on March 29, 2004 at 12:09:59 PT
There's Hope...
I took a drug test back in the mid-eighties, and the doctor, who was a casual friend ask what the expected "results" were, I said I was nervous.He took my empty speciman container, walked away, and came back 5 minutes later with a container full of nice clean yellow urine. I dont know who's it was, but it was clean.As long as there are folks out there destined to beat the system, the system will be beat.They cant put us all in jail.
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Comment #15 posted by Virgil on March 29, 2004 at 11:49:46 PT
Ekim- Our America
The America people think they are living in is gone. It only survives in people's minds because of blissful ignorance. This was a particularly insightful thread at DU today on the police intimidation of Dr. Cheyney, the former gay-basher with a lesbian daughter-  This was the writing of one of those arrested that deserves a read- is this thread about a former CIA analyst that speaks of America's slide into totalitarianism that is already evidenced by the drug wars - I mention this because the author says the outcome will happen under Democrats or Republicans and that the solution to problem is a popular uprising that calls for the voting out of every last member of Congress. It is mentioned in the comment#2. We need a Great Awakening. What needs to happen in this election concerning the drug wars and CP is for people to visit Souder's district in Indiana and show the people in Fort Wayne what we see and wake them up. It is the retired and elderly that come to recognize the deception of it all that take their bodies to a mass so visible as to wake everyone up. The idea of making an example of Bob Barr for his freedom-robbing in the drug war taught him and others a lesson. It now needs to teach Souder a lesson and there needs to be a call to service to protest in Fort Wayne for this treasonous scum that serves the corporate takeover of America.Even if there were some ideological battle for saving people from drugs it does not belong in the criminal justice system. They drain the resources of the country and militarize the world while they rape the environment. We have 150 dead zones in the sea, with some as big as 70.000 kilometers with the Baltic and Black seas heading dead- Priorities are all wrong with government. I suggest that the number 1 priority of the cannabis reform movement be exposing Souder for the sorry sack of shit he is and that we target his removal from our public office.It is time to get real and reject all fantasy.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on March 29, 2004 at 11:31:50 PT
That's OK. It sure doesn't bother me. I hope some of us will be able to get the program. It won't be on Direct TV though. 
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Comment #13 posted by druid on March 29, 2004 at 11:20:10 PT
soz FoM didn't see it posted yesterday! I try to read all comments on all stories but ya know sometimes one sneaks right by me! :D
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on March 29, 2004 at 11:14:28 PT
Thanks Druid
When Gary posted about the event yesterday I was disappointed that it won't be available to see at least for me. I hope many people will be able to check it out.
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Comment #11 posted by ekim on March 29, 2004 at 11:11:36 PT
hey Virg they are allready laying the groundwork
on now on NPR Talk of the Nation talking about jury's and holdouts.  Bill Would Penalize People for Being High 
Posted by CN Staff on March 10, 2004 at 09:52:36 PT
By Graham Wood 
Source: Columbia Missourian
 Missourians under the influence of drugs could be arrested for being high if a proposed House bill is passed. Reps. Brian Baker, R-Belton, and Therese Sander, R-Moberly, proposed House Bill No. 983, which would make it a Class A misdemeanor to be under the influence of a controlled substance.
Current law prohibits only the possession, purchase, distribution or manufacturing of a controlled substance. Baker said drug laws contain a “loophole” that prohibits police from charging someone with a drug violation without physical evidence. Under the proposed legislation, for example, police could arrest someone for being under the influence of cocaine even without physical evidence that the person was in possession of the drug.Baker said the bill is a protective measure to keep people from engaging in drug use.“This closes that loophole,” Baker said.Capt. Mike Martin, investigative commander for the Columbia Police Department, said the bill would help strengthen laws against driving while under the influence of drugs, which can be just as dangerous as drunken driving. But he predicted no change in the department’s investigative procedures if the bill were to pass.“I think we would continue to do the things that we’re doing,” Martin said.He said the department employs three drug recognition experts, or DREs, who help determine whether someone is under the influence.One of those experts, Candy Corman, said that in addition to looking for obvious signs of impairment, DREs measure the blood pressure and pulse rates of people suspected of being on drugs. Measurements that are abnormally high could be a sign of drug intoxication, Corman said.DREs also look for “clinical indicators of actions, “such as teeth grinding and fidgety movement.Corman echoed Martin’s opinion that the bill “might make officers more aware” of the importance of enforcing laws against driving while intoxicated.Some Columbia residents were unimpressed with the proposed legislation.Brandy Stallman, who works at the Columbia Mall, said that people have used drugs for social and recreational purposes for centuries. The proposed bill would do nothing to change that, she said.“It’s just ridiculous,” Stallman said of HB 983. “Nothing has stopped people (from using drugs) so far.”Tim Colbert, a Columbia resident who was shopping at the mall on a recent afternoon, said the bill could help keep drivers who are under the influence off the road. He said poor driving performance is an indicator of drug impairment, so officers should be able to arrest someone based on those observations.However, Colbert said, “police could abuse the law.” He said police should not be allowed to arrest someone because “they look suspicious. To me, that’s not proof.”The bill has been referred to the House Committee of Crime Prevention and Public Safety, but a vote on the measure has yet to be scheduled. Note: Sponsors say that they want to close a “loophole” in current drug laws. Source: Columbia Missourian (MO)
Author: Graham Wood
Published: March 10, 2004 
Copyright: 2004 Columbia Missourian
Contact: editor 
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Comment #10 posted by JustGetnBy on March 29, 2004 at 10:47:38 PT
CHEAT ??? I Think Not !
  I notice the writter of this article uses the word "CHEAT" repeatedly. I object strenuosly to the use of the word "CHEAT" in this context.  Would it be cheating if I closed the window shade to protect myself and family from a peeping tom?  Is it cheating when I lock my house up when leaving to prevent theft?  Is it "CHEATING" when I take whatever steps necessary to protect my livelehood from an illegal, un-constitutional search of my body?  Using words like "Druggy", "PotHead", "Hippie" "Cheating"
( Well you get my drift) de-humanizes the group of people spoken about. The first step that must be taken before you can take someones rights away is to make them "less than" 
the group. The Govt., through propaganda and with the complicity of the compromised American press, have been doing exactly that to cannabis users for over 50 years.  There can be no respect for an un-just law.There is no respect for those who enforce an un-just law.There is no crime when an un-just law is broken. THEY need to learn this, and they will.  Even a good dog will bite if you kick him often enough.
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Comment #9 posted by Druid on March 29, 2004 at 10:45:05 PT
medical cannabis debate today
Program Title: It's Your Call with Lynn Doyle (Live)Host name: Lynn DoyleSubject: Medicinal MarijuanaAirdate: 3/29/2004 - TonightTime: 9:00 PM - 10:00 PM EasternAvailable Via Cable in the Mid-Atlantic and New England States, and Via the Web - See Below.GUESTS:On Our Side, the Good Guys:Multiple Sclerosis Patients Union co-founder Jim MillerCanadian legal medical cannabis patient and director of the Vancouver Island Compassion Society, Philippe LucasOn the Other Side, Folks That Make Their Living Trying to Jail Patients:Terry Farley, First Asst Prosecutor, Ocean County, NJ and Director of the Ocean Co. Narcotics Strike Force David Evans, Counsel For the Legal Foundation Against Illegal Drugs; Executive Director, Drug-free Schools CoalitionABOUT THE GUESTS:Jim Miller of the MS Patients Union , widower of the late Cheryl Miller, has been in an ongoing battle with Terry Farley who believes patients like Cheryl belong in jail. Read news clippings about Jim at Lucas, patient and one of Canada's leading medical cannabis experts, directs the Vancouver Island Compassion Society as well as Canadians for Safe Access Read news clippings about Philippe at Farley's news clippings at's news clippings are the first seven at Also see this: SHOW:Is carried via the cable The Comcast Network in the states shown here: also will be available, we believe, via Windows Media Player, from this webpage: show is scheduled to be rebroadcast from midnight to 1 a.m. Tuesday, 30 March.
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Comment #8 posted by Virgil on March 29, 2004 at 10:32:08 PT
Is this the cannabinoid for obesity?
There is news of a cannabinoid that will play a part in the problem with obesity. This article speaks of some future drug but does not identify it and I was wondering if it might be because it is anti-demonizing and prohibitionist philosophy calls for silence. Whateve it is the second paragraph of this snipped portion all but shouts Miracle which conjures up the crime against humanity in delaying the true exploration of the cannabinoids lying in wait in the beloved Miracleplant.From -Drug hope for obese
28mar04MELBOURNE scientists are working on a revolutionary "fat pill" designed to fight obesity, diabetes and heart disease.The drug, which concentrates on an enzyme in the body called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), is expected to mimic the effects of exercise, stimulate weight loss, block cholesterol production and lead to new treatments for diabetes. 
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Comment #7 posted by E_Johnson on March 29, 2004 at 10:25:44 PT
Let's just call them rapists okay?
If you use your power to force someone to expose their naked genitals to you under threat of losing employment or liberty, then you are a rapist, plain and simple.
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Comment #6 posted by Virgil on March 29, 2004 at 10:17:12 PT
FoM, it is all tragic
The prohbition v freedom issue regarding cannabis reminds me of the senselessness involved in the evolution v creationism exhibited in the country. Creationism in my thinking is a sign of warpedness. It is absolutely wrong as 1 plus 1 equals 3 but there are passionate people that mash all the buttons they can to prolong the belief in something that is wrong. Now I am not going to argue that evolution is correct, but since there is a new website done by the people at California's Berkley I will put that up- Cannabis Prohibition is as wrong as creationism, but they both have their passionate supporters that would committed to their path, even though it is intellectual weakness and folly to believe what is easily determined to be nonsense with honest intellectual thought.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 29, 2004 at 10:07:03 PT
So far failing a drug test isn't criminal but losing a job over a failed drug test can wreck a persons life. That's tragic in my book. I know a few people who have been fired. 
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Comment #4 posted by Petard on March 29, 2004 at 09:45:36 PT
I like this part
"who regularly conducts tests on offshore oil rigs, said entire work crews have quit on the spot -- even when that spot was in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico -- rather than submit to his test"No work crew = no work, also = complete shutdown of the rig since no one is there to monitor the high tech, high expense equipment. Ya think the added costs of these shutdowns went unnoticed by the test exempt corpo-rat execs?Now that my friends is the way to fight the system, refuse to participate in their folly. Imagine if every American walked out from their job at the same time to protest these "some drugs" tests. Of course that would never happen, not in the Land of the Free, where people insist on violating the principle of non self-incrimination and to be secure in their persons, and even insist on testing the entire population of school aged children. America, Land of the Pee, Home of the Depraved.
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Comment #3 posted by Virgil on March 29, 2004 at 09:43:45 PT
Test and arrest
I cannot believe the madmen of prohibition have not made failing a drug test a crime. The machines they make now to sniff the vapors of people in the search for chemical weapons will probably one day sniff everyone for drugs. But the push on all this testing and such sniffing devices that are even more sensitive than a dog would all be part of a push that leads to a cliff. Part of the prohibitionist army is being destroyed, while the remnants keep heading for the cliff. It will be a glorious downfall celebrated and enhanced with cannabis.With the demise of prohibition, rolling papers will come in the footlong editions and sone will come prerolled with a quarter ounce. I wonder what it would be like to have a "Smoked Senseless Contest" where you rotated some educated and brilliant people and sat them at the same table and filmed and edited the event. It would be a bullshit session, but it would show the enhancement that comes with use and that even an induced superstoned experience isn't going to bring a person to a complete senseless state. The split screen version of such an idea would show a table of people consuming alcohol. Maybe a friendly game of penny poker would theme such an event.
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Comment #2 posted by E_Johnson on March 29, 2004 at 09:28:32 PT
But here's another man's approach
"Robert Brewster, owner of an Altamonte Springs, Fla. testing company, recalls when he went to a construction site to administer an unannounced drug test and one of the workers tried to run him down with a truck.
"Not what I believe in doing to them, but understandable, given the circumstances.
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on March 29, 2004 at 09:27:10 PT
How tempting
"Put 30 drug testing workers in a room together for a few hours..."and hand them some literature about privacy, sexual abuse, rape, Communism, Fascism, the US Constitution, the American Revolution and cannabinoids.And lock them in until they've read it ALL.
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