Drug Test Tampering - Methods and Myths

Drug Test Tampering - Methods and Myths


No one in the world would love to fail. Be it examinations or interviews or even your passion, any person would perspire to succeed. That kind of obsession may even lead to threatening consequences if one fails.

We are used to hearing those motivating speeches that “failure is the stepping stone to success” and similar other quotes to hold the confidence; but what if there is a way to change the fate of failure to success.

It is not rest assured in other forms of failures like in examinations, but in drug tests, one can have a chance of tampering with the test specimen to pass the drug test.

Tampering a drug test is the process of adding any foreign substance to the specimen to prevent the discovery of drug use. Specimens that are diluted or adulterated are not considered for decision making in the drug test.

To be specific, drug test tampering is the method of adulterating the specimen with a foreign substance to dilute the specimen and pass the drug test.

In this blog, you will get to know about several drug test tampering methods and the myths revolving around it.

Table of Contents

Commonly Used Tampering Techniques

If you are very obsessed with clearing your drug test at any cost, some of the below-mentioned tampering techniques can be of some help.

  • Household Products:  If you have an upcoming drug test at short notice, you can try some of the everyday household products available at home. With some of the cleaning products, you can tamper the specimen by making it dilute. If you want to dilute the urine sample, you need to change the pH and it can be done by adding any housecleaning product to it. You can use any agents such as ammonia, bleach, vinegar, bathroom acids, etc. This will help you to cause disruption in the initial drug screening test.
  • Substituting With Other Similar Substances:  Replacing the specimen with some other substance that looks similar to urine is another such great tampering method to escape the initial screening test. You can replace the sample with similar looking liquids like lemonade, soft drinks or sports drinks. In exceptional cases, you can also replace your urine specimen with some other’s urine. You can also use powdered urine which can be mixed with water. This will resemble urine contents in a diluted state that can confuse the tester on initial screening.
  • Diluting The Sample:  You can dilute the sample internally by taking enormous amounts of fluids like lemonade, water or sports drinks. Enormous usage of these drinks will dilute the urine that contains drug traces. This happens due to consecutive urination which will eliminate the drug traces in the bladder. Sometimes, this may happen unintentionally. Diluted drug samples cannot guarantee perfect drug testing results. You can also add water or other liquids directly to the urine specimen to make it more dilute. Internal dilution works better and untraceable compared to external dilution.
  • Adding Chemical Additives To The Specimen:  Some people add chemicals to the specimen to interrupt the initial drug screening test. Some chemical substances that can be added to the drug sample include glutaraldehyde, nitrites, halogens and chromates. These chemicals do not have strict prescription control and can be purchased through online stores. Glutaraldehyde affects the initial drug screening test whereas other chemicals and halogens can derange either the initial or confirmatory drug tests that are done to look for the presence of weed or narcotic drugs.

These commonly used tampering techniques can be ineffective because of advancement in testing techniques. Technicians are highly trained and can delineate between biological and adulterated samples with stringent lab testing methods.

Is It Possible To Tamper With The Presence Of All The Drug Traces?

Of course not! The drug tampering may work for the specific drug, but cannot tamper or control the presence of other drugs. If you consume any household substances like lemonade or vinegar to control one substance, you can tamper with one drug, but other drug concentrations will remain the same. Sometimes, it may increase the presence of other drugs. For instance, Pyridinium chlorochromate (PCC) helps to suppress the presence of weed or alkaloid narcotic drugs, but it can increase the levels of other drugs like AMP.

Adding chemical additives may create a dilemma in the drug results. With incorrect concentration, chemical additives can produce false positive/negative results in the initial drug screening. Glutaraldehyde, one of the best chemical additives, can also lead to false negative/positive drug results if not served in exact concentration. This applies to all drugs including THC, COC, AMP, OPI, PCP and others.

What Kind Of Drug Tests Can Be Tampered With?

There is a misconception that only urine drug tests can be tampered with, but not other drug testing methods. All kinds of drug tests can be tampered by using certain techniques. If you take the hair follicle drug test for instance, there are various methods that you can tamper with your drug screening. One prominent technique is shaving the hair.

Hair drug screening works on the principle of the presence of the drug metabolites in the hair. It is threatening that hair drug testing is considered by many drug centers due to the presence of drug traces in the hair for a long time, say 90 days. But with proper strategy, you can tamper your hair drug test.

The first and foremost thing is shaving the head and body hair. You should shave it based on your drug consumption. Yes, you should shave it 5 to 7 days after your last drug ingestion since this is the duration it will take for the drug to reach your hair. Therefore, shaving the hair after one to two weeks after the last drug consumption can eliminate the presence of drug traces in your hair. Regrowing hair will contain certain traces of the drug, but it will contain only minimal amounts.

Blood test can be tampered just by increasing your metabolism. It is because of the limited time frame the blood can hold the drug metabolites, say 2 to 5 days. For heavy smokers, it will take more than two weeks to break down. So, if you want to tamper with a blood drug test, all you have to do is to increase your physical activity. This will break down the metabolites and eliminate almost all the drug traces out of the body.

Myths Around The Drug Test Tampering

There are certain myths revolving around the drug test tampering. They might seem to be true, but in real cases, they will not work practically.

  • Enhancing Creatinine:  This is one of the useless attempts to prevent the detection of diluted urine. According to the sources, normal urine will contain a considerable amount of creatinine. Creatinine is a compound produced by metabolism of creatine and qualified technicians check for creatinine level, which will be lower in the diluted sample. It is misconceived that consuming creatine containing supplements or foods such as red meat will increase the amount of creatinine in the urine. Practically, this has no effect.
  • Replacing Urine Sample With Animal’s Urine:  Anyone trying to substitute their urine specimen with animal urine would be the worst move ever. Yes, animal urine composition will be different from that of humans, and hence replacing animal urine is the craziest thing in terms of adulteration. The lab will easily find out and flag the specimen. Instead, you can try to adulterate your urine with any other clean person’s urine, which may yield more chances of success.
  • Stealing The Sample From The Laboratory:  This is one of the daring moves that you can do to escape the drug test. Labs nowadays are more aware of such actions and adopt appropriate precautionary measures. Every lab is camera covered and if you try stealing it, you will have to face punishment for burglary along with the failure of the drug test. Apart from that, if the particular drug test sample is found missing from the laboratory, the labs have the power to declare the result as positive. So, it is best to keep yourself away from attempting such frivolous acts to pass the drug test.
  • Enhancing Your Metabolism:  This myth is the most prevalent among the drug testing participants, but it cannot assure you 100% results. It is true to the fact that metabolism can break the drug metabolites in a faster manner than a normal body does, but increasing metabolism alone cannot create wonders. Even though some of the drug traces may get eliminated by enhancing the metabolism, not all drug traces get eliminated altogether. Thus, increasing the metabolism with a high-calorie diet or doing high intensity level activities will not have any effect on your drug reduction rate.

These above-discussed methods will never work because these can indicate the tampering in the drug tests. The tester can easily identify drug tampering by analyzing certain substances in the sample. For instance, in the diluted urine, the amount of creatinine will be lower and the tester can easily identify that the urine is diluted.

Detecting Adulterants In The Biological Sample

Adulteration based drug tests are becoming more prevalent. Keeping this in mind, the labs and testers have updated their testing methods to filter out the adulterated samples. In some cases, the labs cannot make sure whether the sample is adulterated or not and if they cannot conclude definitively about the result, then the labs will request the candidate to resubmit a sample under direct supervision.

If the sample is diluted again during resubmission, then the tester will determine that it is being cheated and declare it positive for drugs. Detecting adulterants has become an easy task for those labs due to the arrival of many advanced technologies and equipments. The tester would check for certain parameters to find out if they are adulterated.

Initially, they would conduct an external check on the sample. They check for the temperature of the sample along with the odor, appearance and color. Urine samples have a specific gravity and pH. If it is adulterated, the temperature, specific gravity and pH will be different. So the tester will determine the initial level dilution in the sample. At the internal level, the tester would check the creatinine level and oxidizing agents in the urine sample. If it is below the prescribed level, the sample would not be considered suitable for testing.

Moreover, the collection procedure conducted at the testing centers has become more rigid. The candidate should wash his or her hands before entering into the collection room. Donors are not allowed to take any personal belongings such as bag or purse while entering the collection room. All potential adulterants at the site will be removed and the toilet water will be tinted blue. The person in charge at the testing site will allow the candidate inside the collection room and a certain time limit will be fixed to collect the urine sample in order to prevent any tampering.

The testers in the lab will also conduct certain rapid spot tests to determine Pyridinium chlorochromate (PCC) reagents in the urine. They would add 3% of hydrogen peroxide to the adulterated urine sample and within 30 to 60 seconds, a dark brown precipitate confirms the presence of PCC in the urine. Similarly, potassium permanganate solution is used for detecting the presence of nitrite in the urine sample.

Final Words

According to the sources, almost 10 percent of all the drug tests are adulterated. Drug tampering is one such crime and can attract jail term if discovered. This depends upon the severity of the crime and about the knowingness. Not all the samples that are tampered with are intentionally done. Thus, with the above information, you would have gained knowledge about the tampering methods. Also with certain techniques, a tester can detect the urine adulteration. So, it is more important to analyze it on a multidimensional pattern before getting into drug tampering.

One must bear in mind that drug testing technology is advancing day by day. People who use drugs might experience anxiousness and lot of stress with the thought of taking a drug test. Instead of attempting and shelling out lots of money on cheat methods to get through the drug test, it would rather be easy and safe to follow a drug-free lifestyle. A drug-free person would come forward to take up a drug test anytime without any worries or hesitation.

Older Post Newer Post