What is a Drug Test?
It’s a test done on specimen that’s taken from the body. The most popular specimen used is urine. However, specimens like blood, hair, saliva and even sweat can also be used. With this test, the presence of drugs or their by-products can be detected. This test is usually done on athletes to detect the presence of performance-enhancing drugs and at work to pinpoint employees that are using illegal drugs.
In the US, history tells us of two major paths that led to the implementation of drug testing. The first path is taken through the system of the law that follows the context of the “king’s highway”. This refers to the very important trade path in the ancient Middle East. The law considered this as a precedent and this gave law enforcement officials the green light to test people who they suspect are under the influence of drugs.
The second path is more specific. This happened in 1981 when a plane crash-landed on the USS Nimitz. Sensing rampant drug use that led to the accident that killed and injured more than a dozen people, the US Navy immediately ordered a drug test. This led to the discovery of massive use of illegal substances among the personnel. This led to the Secretary of the Navy putting up a strict drug testing program within the Navy’s ranks, something that the other branches of service followed within the next 3 years. This is still practiced today with the concept of having a “drug-free workplace”.
The procedure has received a lot of flak, particularly the random drug testing procedure. In the UK, a study was done by the Independent Inquiry into Drug Testing at Work that revealed that random drug testing, especially when employees are forced by their employers, is illegal under the Human Rights Act 1998. This states that the procedure is a violation of privacy.
Canada has a stricter law against drug testing. Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, random drug tests and drug screening before employment are not allowed. It can only be done when employeers need to detect the presence of alcohol when safety is at risk.
Urban Legends of Drug Testing
There are a lot of urban legends that are spreading around. It’s important to note that these are not true. They are mainly suggested by individuals who are desperate to know how to beat a drug test. Probably the oldest urban legend involves drinking vinegar. While the theory that it can help you beat a drug test makes sense since vinegar helps lower the pH of the urine and the blood, it’s not 100% reliable when it comes to beating drug tests.
Consuming niacine in high doses is also a popular urban legend. Unfortunately, there are no studies that can back up its effectiveness in beating drug tests.
Who Conducts Drug Tests?
There are basically three groups that conduct drug tests. The biggest group are the employers who are looking to ensure a drug-free workplace. The second group are the law enforcement officials. There’s also the medical field for diagnostic purposes.
Most Common Types of Drug Testing
Anabolic steroids – This is popularly done on professional athletes since steroids are most-commonly used in the world of sports.
Random drug testing – Just as the name implies, this is done in random. This is usually done in workplaces to ensure a drug-free workplace.
Diagnostic screening – This is usually done by medical professionals. They usually screen for the presence of harmful toxins and drugs that may have led to the present condition of the patient.
Methods of Drug Tests
Urine – The most popular method and is considered as the most-trusted method when it comes to drug testing.
Saliva – It’s almost similar to urine drug testing. However, it doesn’t come with the approval of the SAMHSA and the FDA for drug tests that are mandated by the federal government and the DOT.
Sweat – This is a test that’s one of the hardest to beat. It’s also preferred by a lot of people since it’s non-invasive.
Hair – This is usually done in fields where there should be zero presence of drugs. This is because it can detect drugs that were taken up to 90 days ago.
Where are Drug Tests Done?
They’re usually done in drug testing laboratories. However, they can also be done just about anywhere as long as the equipment is set up and the facility is complete. In these places, they just gather the specimen and they still take them to the laboratories.
How are Drug Tests Conducted?
The first step is to gather the specimen needed. A technician should always be present while the specimen is taken and this is why it’s hard to beat drug test. It’s then placed inside a container and a tamper-evident seal is place to ensure integrity. The specimen will then be taken to the laboratory for further testing.
There are basically two steps involved – screening and confirmation. Confirmation is only needed if drugs were detected during the screening process. Sometimes, a Medical Review Officer reviews the final results especially when the test was done in the workplace.
Detection Periods of Popular Drugs
Drugs and their by-products only stay inside the body for a specific amount of time. These are the detection periods for the most popular drugs:
- Alcohol – 6 to 24 hours (urine); up to 48 hours (hair)
- Methamphetamine – 3 to 5 days (urine); up to 3 months (hair)
- Ecstasy – Up to 72 hours (urine); up to 3 months (hair)
- Cannabis – 2 to 30 days depending on usage and body fat (urine); up to 3 months (hair)
- Cocaine – 2 to 5 days (urine); up to 3 months (hair)
- Heroin – (3 to 4 days (urine); up to 3 months (hair)
How To Beat a Drug Test
Urban legends aside, there are several ways for you to beat a drug test. Let’s talk about urine drug tests since it’s the most common. One of the easiest methods is to buy detox kits and there are a lot in the market right now. Here are other several ways to beat a drug test:
Know the laws in your area when it comes to drug testing and refuse if possible. Consult a lawyer if needed.
The moment that you find out that you’ll be tested, stop taking drugs immediately. There’s a good chance that your body will be free of the drugs by the time that the test rolls in. Of course, this will depend on your drug of choice and the test involved.
3. Know the detection periods
The information will come in handy if the test is scheduled. If you really want to play safe, don’t take drugs 90 days before a test.
4. Fool the lab technician
There’s a good chance that the test will be supervised so do this at your own risk. If you’re caught, it’s like admission of guilt. A popular strategy is to use synthetic urine. You can also try to dilute the system with warm water.
5. Flush out the drugs from your system
This is the most natural way of doing it. Drink lots of fluids and urinate as frequently as humanly possible. Drinking coconut juice might help. However, this may result to unusually clear urine and you might be reported to the one who requested the test. Take vitamin B to inject color in your urine. In addition, eat plenty of red meat to ensure that the creatine level in your urine stays above normal since it drops when you flush your system.
Some drugs like cannabis are stored in body fats. Exercising can help you get rid of them as they’re burned.
Obviously, these strategies come with risks. However, most people would gladly take those risks considering the fact that they don’t have any choice anyway.