safety regulations

Methods Employees May Use to Beat a Drug Test

Drug testing your employees can be an effective way to keep your business and other workers safe. However, it's important to be aware of tactics individuals may use to beat a drug test.

By Tim Dimoff

Drug testing your employees can be an effective way to keep your business and other workers safe. However, it’s important to be aware of tactics individuals may use to beat a drug test.

In a previous article, we discussed why it is important to conduct employee drug testing. Here we share information on various methods in which employees may try to beat workplace drug testing.

>> RELATED: Should you be drug testing your employees?

Workplace drug testing is a complex, often costly, but necessary issue that provides many benefits and protections for employers. Employers often conduct tests when hiring new employees or randomly during employment. In industries such as transportation and aviation, drug testing is mandatory to comply with safety regulations.

Drug testing benefits include increased employee safety and productivity, improved trust between employers and employees, and more. Employers should have a written random drug test policy that includes when and why they test employees. Some reasons for testing include, but are not limited to, suspicion of being under the influence while on duty and/or post-accident screenings.

Drug testing helps ensure employee safety and minimizes lost productivity due to substance abuse in the workplace. Additionally, having a strong, written policy around drug testing can help protect employers from legal liability should any accidents or incidents occur due to impaired judgment resulting from illegal substances. It also helps to assure workers stay accountable for their health and well-being.

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Drug testing is basically a process that involves the taking and analyzing samples of hair, blood, saliva or urine to determine the presence of drugs. There are ways in which an employee can try to cheat a drug test. While the most common test is a urine test, other types of tests include hair follicle testing which involves taking a small sample of hair from an individual’s head, or saliva tests which uses a swab sample of an individual’s saliva — both of which are tested for traces of drugs. These types of testing are quick and non-invasive, but typically only detects recent drug use in an individual’s system for up to two days.

The most common test is a urine test, but employees often will try to beat this test using some of these methods including:

  • Diluted urine: Employees have been known to pour water into the urine sample or even substitute a sample from another person. One way to overcome this is to make them take the test at the workplace. Never allow them to bring a sample in that was taken at home or elsewhere.
  • Detoxification: Detoxing means cleansing the urine of harmful substances or drugs. This is often used by marijuana users. Since THC, the active ingredient in marijuana is fat-soluble, it is stored in fat cells and can be removed through exercise, loss of liquids, and eating certain foods. Drinking large amounts of certain drinks such as orange carrot ginger combinations, lemonade, cucumber mint, and pomegranate juice can also work to detox.
  • Pills: There are also pills known as “cannabis flush pills” made with an enhanced formula that makes a person urinate more frequently. These are often used to try to detox before a drug test.

As an employer, understanding drug testing is important. Having a written policy on randomized and other forms of drug testing for all current and new employees, and making sure they are made aware of it, will go a long way toward helping you to maintain a drug-free workplace.

Timothy A. Dimoff, CPP, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc., is a speaker, trainer and author and a leading authority in high-risk workplace and human resource security and crime issues. He is a Certified Protection Professional; a certified legal expert in corporate security procedures and training; a member of the Ohio and International Narcotic Associations; the Ohio and National Societies for Human Resource Managers; and the American Society for Industrial Security. He holds a B.S. in Sociology, with an emphasis in criminology, from Dennison University. Contact him at


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