By Cynthia Gould, ABC News
Drug users will go to extremes to beat a drug test. One trick they use is synthetic urine. Now seventeen states are moving to ban it. Alabama may be next in line. State Rep. Arnold Mooney of Shelby County is drafting legislation for a ban, but it is not ready to be filed.
The products look like the real thing and are even packed with hand warmers to get them to the right temperature.
Grandview Medical Center helped us see if synthetic urine could be effective in passing a drug screen. We tested one brand and no red flags came in for the standard urinalysis or the twelve panel screen. Both passed.
And even in a more advanced test, the fake urine showed up with all the right properties you would find in urine that a technician would look for: creatinine, BUN and uric acid.
It’s not what Lab Director Kelly Mitcham expected. “Surprisingly it looks like it is urine,” explains Mitcham. She does suspect labs which do pre-employment drug testing and random checks of employees would have more sophisticated machines and testing that would help pick up a fraud.
Synthetic urine products are easy to find online, at convenience stores and truck stops. They cost under fifteen dollars. Manufacturers say the products are for pranks or novelty gifts.
States across the country are planning to flush the fake urine from the market with bans. It’s something supported by laboratories we talked with. “It’s very disturbing to me; it’s marketed to the public,” says Mitcham.
Drug free, non-impaired workers are so crucial in a range of industries like construction, transportation and the medical field.
At The Foundry Recovery Center in Bessemer drug testing helps keep residents accountable. Counselors do random checks and it frustrates them to know fake urine is so readily available.
“What is it beneficial for other than to beat a drug test?” asks Program Director Jacky Gann.
Quest Diagnostics analyzed ten million drug tests finding workplace drug use at highest rate in a decade:
Gould, C. (2019). States moving to ban fake urine used to cheat drug tests. ABC News. Retrieved from https://abc3340.com/news/abc-3340-news-iteam/states-moving-to-ban-fake-urine-used-to-cheat-drug-tests
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