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Drug Testing: Tips & Tricks
Drug Testing at Work
Copyright 1996, 1998: Beverly Potter & Sebastian Orfali

In this segment we're going to tell you how you how you can try to clean up your act from the inside out so your test stands a better chance of coming out clean. And in case you think your chances of a clean result are smaller than the odds of a Humboldt kind bud surviving a Dead show intact, we'll tell you how you how to tinker with your tinkle test by substituting, diluting, or contaminating your urine sample. We'll even tell you about containers you can use to sneak the substitute urine into the collection site and where to get them. 

Obviously, the best way to get a negative result from a drug test is to clean up your act beforehand. We're talking about that ol' devil abstinence, which in this case includes precription drugs and over-the-counter meds, which can and often do create positive results. (This is called cross-reactivity, and we'll explain it in a moment.) Maybe your drug test is tomorrow and you don't have time to clean up in advance--if so, hang on. We'll have some tricks and tips for you shortly.

Now we're going to tell you approximately how long you have to avoid various drugs before your drug test in order to come out clean. These time periods are called "detection limits." But first there are a few things you need to know. First, detection limits vary greatly from person to person. They depend on a person's weight, fat level, metabolism, and the amount of drugs they have taken and for how long. Second, different authorities report radically different detection times. For instance, some of the detection times reported in Abbie Hoffman's book Steal This Urine Test are up to eight times longer than those reported by Anaclinn-Roche Biomedical laboratories. Most of the detection times we're about to give you come from the Pharm-Chem company, which is an authoritative source. But to be safe, you should at least double or triple theese time periods if you've used drugs and need to pass a drug test.

Here come the detection times: Amphetamines ("speed," diet pills, etc) 2-4 days Barbiturates and Quaaludes 2-4 days Benzodiazepines (tranquilizers like valium, librium, Xanax, etc) up to 30 days Cocaine 12-72 hours Pot light occasional use 2-7 days long term use one, sometimes two months Alcohol 12-24 hours Heroin, methadone, opium, and other opiates 2-4 days PCP light, occasional use 2-7 days long term, heavier use up to a month LSD Hoffman says 20-40 days

These detection times tell you how long chemicals called "metabolites" can be detected in your urine after you last used a certain drug . Metabolites are chemicals that your body, or your metabolism, makes out of other drugs. Then your body excretes these chemicals in your urine (they can also be found in sweat, saliva, mucus, and other bodily secretions, as well as hair.) The problem is that your body sometimes makes the same metabolites out of different drugs. That's why "cross-reactivity" happens, when over the counter or prescription drugs create positive test results for illegal drugs.

Here are some of the over-the counter or prescription drugs that can create cross-reactivity with other, illegal drugs:

    + Ibuprofen, contained in Advil, Nuprin, and Mortin, can make a positive result for pot.

    + Common over the counter cold, asthma, and allergy remedies and diet pills such as Diatec, Dexatrim, Cotylenol, Triaminic, Primatene, Bronkotabs, and Nyquil can show up as positive for amphetamines.

    +Vicks Formula-44, Demerol, Mydol, Primatene-M and common prescription antidepressants such as Elavil and Tofanil can show up as positive for opiates such as opium and heroin.

    + Primatene can also show up as positive for barbiturates, and Benadryl can show up positive for Methadone.

    + Some additional over the counter medicines to avoid include Alka-Seltzer plus, Allerest, Bronkaid, Contac, Donnagel, Sinuntab, and Sudafed.

To be safe, it's best avoid all drugs before a drug test--but make sure to consult with your doctor before going off a prescription drug.

Before your drug test, you can dramatically reduce the concentrations of metabolites in your pee by "flushing your system," pushing as much liquid through your body as possible. Drink lots of water and other non-alcoholic beverages the night before and the morning of the test. Start even earlier if possible.

Flushing the system will dilute your urine, and increase the chances that any drug metabolites will go undetected, particularly on a less sophisticated screening test like the EMIT test. So that your sample doesn't look overly clear and watery, which could be taken as a sign that you've been flushing your system and therefore arouse suspicion, you might try taking large quantities of vitamin C for several days before the test. Vitamin C gives a deep yellow color to your urine.

The first urination in the morning will contain the highest concentration of metabolites, so it's best to make sure that your sample is not the first pee of the day. Abbie Hoffman even suggests staying up all night before the test so you can continue urinating and flushing the system, or at least getting up extra early.

Taking diuretics, which increase your rate of urination, might also help flush your system. Tea, coffee, and colas might be good things to drink because they contain caffeine, which is a mild diuretic. A doctor who is friendly to your cause might prescribe furosemide, a prescription diuretic marketed under the name Lasix. A HIGH TIMES article recommends taking 80 milligrams of Lasix and peeing two or three times before taking the sample.

Some people use other substances to help flush their systems, although there's really no proof that these work. You might call these "folk remedies" for flushing system, and they include cranberry juice, vinegar, Aspirin, and an herb called Golden Seal. A similarly questionable aid to flushing the system is a tea called test PURE. They can be reached at 1.800.678.9117 or 916.557.6099. Or try the High Times Hotline. It may cost $1.95 (or more) a minute, but it's informative: 1.900.988.8463 (18 and over only; choose #1) These techniques for flushing the system might not help, but they probably won't hurt either.

There are a few more things you can do that might help you flush your system. Exercise speeds up your metabolism, so it makes sense that a daily workout of your choice starting several days before might help you clean out faster. Working up a good sweat helps because metabolites and other substances are excreted through sweat. But don't exercise in the 24 hours directly before the test, because exercise releases metabolites stored in your fat cells into the blood stream, so exercise just before the test could actually increase the concentrations of metabolites in your urine. You might try taking large amounts of antoxidants, substances that help your body get rid of waste matter in your cells. Common antoxidants include vitamins A, C, & E. 

Some people try to switch their urine sample with another one from someone else that they think is clean. This is called the "substitution" strategy and is definitely a high-risk ploy which can become technically quite difficult depending on how closely you are going to be checked out at the collection site.

One of the problems with substitution is that it's really hard to guarantee that anybody else's pee is going to be clean. For instance, one professional man who occasionally smoked pot on the weekend substituted with a urine sample taken from one of his kids--which ended up testing positive for coke! And whatever you do, don't try faking urine by adding food coloring to plain water, a ploy which testing labs can easily detect. Labs are also hip to substitutions of urine from animals--and besides, how do you know your pets haven't been getting stoned when you aren't around? 

If you're determined to try substitution you might try ordering "Urine Luck." They claim that adding a vial their potion to your pee will allow you to "never fear a future urine analysis." again. Their number is 1.800.721.1414 .

If you're going to try substitution you'll need some kind of special, not-easily-detected container that you can use to sneak your substitute sample into the collection site. This isn't as easy as it sounds. Usually some kind of hidden plastic bag or pouch taped to the body is used; at least this is less likely to be detected than a jar. A procedure described by Abbie Hoffman uses a resevoire-tipped, non-lubricated condom taped near the crotch which can be broken with a pre-sharpened fingernail when it comes time to give the sample. Hoffman suggests filling one condom and then putting a second one over it to help prevent bursting.

Pharmacies and hospital supply stores sell other items that can be used as containers for substitute urine. Bard Dispoz-a-Bag Drainage bags, used by ambulant patients, are cheap and come in different sizes. You can buy "incontinence pants" to help hold the bag in place around the middle of your body, and even add a short piece of rubber tubing and a valve for easy filling. Hoffman describes using a large leg bag with the air squeezed out of it. This can be less conspicuous because you can fit a decent-sized urine sample in it but still flatten it out around the middle of your body so it doesn't create a funny-looking bulge.

And the substitute urine can't be more than 18 hours old, because otherwise it will undergo a deterioration that will be obvious to workers at the lab. It also should be kept warm so that it simulates a fresh urine sample. Some testing procedures require the collector to take the temperature of the sample at the site. The best way is probably to keep the bag or condom close to your body, where body heat will keep it at about the right temperature.

Another strategy for beating a drug test is to add a substance to your sample that will screw up the test. This strategy is called "contamination." For example, a little bit of table salt will foil an EMIT test, the kind commonly used for random sampling and mass screenings. But it won't work for a TLC test, and, especially if the test is not a mass screening or random sampling, it's fairly likely that the samples will be tested for PH balance. If enough salt has been added, the PH balance will show up outside the normal range for urine--which could get you into a lot of trouble.

Another problem with adding salt to your sample is that it's hard to make sure that the salt is abolutely, totally dissolved. Otherwise it will be easily detected. Getting the salt into the site can also be difficult. Carrying it in your hand or under your fingernail won't work if you are required to wash you hands before giving the sample, as is the case with all Federal employees undergoing drug testing. And employees carrying salt to collection sites in purses and pockets have been cuaght and fired. Apparently salt is one white powder you can get busted for even though it's not a controlled substance!

Other contaminants besides salt that might work are two tablespoons of bleach or a capful of ammonia. Obviously, the smell of ammonia is going to be a problem, and the blue dots in a lot of bleaches are a dead give-away. For these reasons, it might be better to use hydrogen peroxide, which doesn't smell and might actually work if you're lucky. Clinical Chemistry magazine says that two drops of liquid soap will do the trick for an EMIT test. One university pharmacologist says that three or four drops of flesh blood, obtained by pricking your finger in the bathroom stall, will make the sample test negative for pot--that is, if you haven't gotten stoned in the last 6 or 8 hours!

Another tactic is to use an IV bag with saline solution in it, like the kind used in hospitals. You can get one at mosts drug stores. You can tape the bag under your arm, which will keep it warm, and run the tube down to your crotch. Saline solution is undetectable, and this technique guarantees that the salt in the sample is already totally dissolved.

Another strategy is to dilute the sample with water to reduce the concentration of drug metabolites to a less-than-detectable level. In a throughly rigged "dry room" of the kind you heard about if you pressed #1, the problem is finding the water, because the taps are shut off, the toilet water is colored with dye, and sometimes even the reservoirs in the back of the toilets are sealed off. But if you can get the water, make sure the sample does contain some actual urine.

Again, if you're planning on trying to dilute your sample you might want to take a lot of vitamin B in the days before the test so that the sample still has a strong yellow color even though it's been diluted. And if you dip the container in the toilet bowl or reservoir, make sure you dry off any water from the outside of the cup because that's another give-away. Another problem with dilution is temperature. As we've already mentioned, it might be noticed if the sample is not near body temperature. Rubbing the outside of the container with your hands might help warm it up some, but not necessarily enough. And using the hot water spout, if you have access to one that works, might actually overheat the sample. A sample that feels tepid to the finger is probably close to the right temperature.

Adapted from Drug Testing at Work
Copyright 1989, 1996, 1998: by Beverly Potter & Sebastian Orfali. Published by Ronin Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 22900, Oakland, Ca 94609. All Rights Reserved. Individuals may download this material for personal use only. Written permission is required for any other reproduction., fax:510/420-3672.

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