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Going to extremes to pass drug tests

CREATED Jun 16, 2014

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We've heard it all before--different types of quick fixes to flush your system.  With more and more ways out there to cheat, labs are getting smarter, and employers are getting tougher.
When desperate times call for desperate decoys, David Wagner with Options Lab in Appleton knows every trick in the book.  "It's something that we encounter on a daily basis." 

With the click of a mouse you can find tons of help to pass a drug test.  Some websites are even selling synthetic urine for "therapy", which is perfectly legal.  But Wagner says they do their best to spot the phonies.  The biggest red flag--temperature. 

"Somebody that is freshly giving a urine sample and brings it right out.  The temperature should read between 94 and 96 degrees," Wagner says.
While the tests easily detect drugs, patients have gotten quite creative.

"Out the back of his pant legs came a bottle with either synthetic or somebody else's urine," Wagner recalls.
More than half of U.S. Employers have some kind of drug test program, according to the Society for Human Resources Management.  To make sure no one slips through the cracks, one local trucking company takes drug testing one step further than the U.S. DOT required urine test. 

Schneider, based in Green Bay needs your hair sample to test clean before they'll hire you. 

Don Osterberg is Senior Vice President and Security of Schneider.  He explains, "With our hair testing we can really identify those lifestyle drug abusers, and we don't hire them."
Since Schneider started hair testing in 2008, Osterberg says their number of positive drug tests has shot up, preventing more unfit drivers from getting behind the wheel.  Out of 
60,000 drug screens, Schneider found 2,000 tested positive for drugs with a hair test.  But out of those 2,000, the urine test only caught 180.

Osterberg says that's because the detection window is much longer.  Generally they can detect drug use back 90 days and it's nearly impossible to change the sample.  Schneider shells out more than a million dollars a year for the tests saying the results are well worth the price.  But hair testing is costly, which labs say make it less popular.  Options lab does about 2,000 a month, compared to just 5 hair tests.
Right now in the trucking industry a urine test is required, but Schneider is pushing for hair testing to be a recognized option as well, so employers could choose which test to use.