WHAT’S WRONG WITH DRUG URINE TESTING?
Privacy: Urine tests intrude on intimate bodily privacy. Mass drug screening violates the privacy of the majority of responsible employees in order to spot a minority of alleged drug abusers, many of whom are in fact not drug abusers at all. Government-imposed drug testing may be restricted by the 4th Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids unreasonable search and seizure and requires “probable cause” for search warrants. However, the 4th Amendment does not generally apply to tests by private employers.
BLOOD TESTS: In some situations, including accidents and roadside sobriety checks, blood tests may be used. Blood tests are a much better gauge of current impairment than urine tests because they detect the actual presence of THC in the system; however, they can be sensitive to other metabolites as well. Blood tests generally register positive for just a few hours after smoking, though heavy chronic smokers may be positive for a couple of days. Less sensitive are saliva tests, which register positive for about 2-4 hours after smoking. If you have used marijuana in the last few days but are not currently under the influence, you should insist on a blood (or saliva) test instead of a urine test if at all possible, since you are more likely to turn up clean. On the other hand, if you have smoked recently, you may do better to take a urine test, since this will at least leave open the question as to whether you were under the influence. Also, urine doesn’t turn positive until several minutes after smoking.
TEST YOURSELF: Many drug abuse clinics offer urine testing for a fee. Home test kits are available from companies such as Liberty Research and Instant Diagnostics. Beware: drug urine levels can fluctuate up and down during the day.
TAMPERING: While urine dilution is useful, it isn’t 100% reliable, especially for heavy daily users. Another tack used by some people is to tamper with the sample by adding adulterants or substituting clean urine for their own. Ethical issues aside, tampering is risky since subjects may be observed or made to disrobe beforehand, and cheating isn’t forgiven. For the adventurous, Abbie Hoffman’s book Steal This Urine Test has full instructions on how to rig yourself up with a plastic bag to substitute clean urine. You can buy clean, dehydrated urine from Byrd Labs. Beware however that labs check to make sure the temperature of urine samples is right (around 91-97ƒ).
LEGAL CHALLENGES: Prospective employees have no legal right to challenge pre-employment drug screens. However, workers who are already employed may be able to challenge their employers’ drug testing plans in certain situations depending on labor law and local regulations. Avoid signing anything that gives your boss the right to arbitrarily test you; by stating your objections, you will strengthen your right to refuse a test. If you think you are being unjustly tested, you may have cause for legal action. San Francisco, Berkeley and some other jurisdictions forbid on-the-job drug testing except in safety-sensitive positions.
We are sorry having to mention these devious techniques, but feel it is necessary to defend innocent people against wrongful accusations of drug abuse. California NORML urges you to use this information responsibly and not as a way of hiding irresponsible marijuana use.
Another trick to foil the test is to spike the sample with an adulterant. This approach should be used only as a last resort, since any adulterant can be chemically detected if labs take the trouble to do so. A number of adulterants cause negatives on the commonly used EMIT test, but not necessarily other tests. In an emergency, you might fool an EMIT test by adding a few drops of Visine® to the sample. Other common adulterants include detergent, bleach, salt, and the cleaning solution glutaraldahyde, but most of these are easily detected by smell or visual inspection. A host of commercial adulterants are on the market (for advertisements, see High Times). Among the more popular are Klear® and Whizzies®. No additive is 100% reliable, and all involve a substantial risk of detection. Many drug testing companies claim to test for adulterants, though it isn’t clear how carefully.
“Passive smoking” of marijuana is not an acceptable excuse at the 50 ng/ml level, since only in extreme circumstances can a non-smoker absorb enough pot to test urine positive (e.g., being stuck in a closet full of heavy smokers for hours). However, passive exposure may result in positive tests at 25 ng/ml or lower.
No substance is known to produce a false positive for marijuana. It used to be that ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin) interfered with the marijuana test, but this problem has been fixed. A variety of over-the-counter medicines can cause false positives for amphetamine and other illicit drugs on the EMIT test, but not on the GCMS.
NORML – Working to Reform Marijuana Laws Dealing With Urinalysis on Short Notice While NORML strongly opposes drug use on the job, we think no one should be forced to submit to urine testing,
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- Fresh urine stains:
. clothing and bedding
Johnson’s easy-as-pie method for removing fresh urine stains from furniture uses detergent, vinegar and water.
- Lightly blot the urine stain with a microfiber cloth to remove excess urine. If you press too hard, you may spread the stain. (Tip: If the stain is fresh, a wet/dry vac will do a great job.)
- Mix 1 tablespoon of dish-washing liquid with 2 cups of cold water in a small bowl.
- Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar (to disinfect the area and break down the acid) to the solution and gently stir.
- Dip a clean microfiber cloth into the solution.
- Gently sponge the urine stain, starting at the outside of the stain and working toward the center.
- Repeat as needed.
- Rinse out detergent residue by blotting the area with a damp cloth.
- Using a dry microfiber cloth, gently blot the area until it’s dry.
If the stain has been in the fabric for an extended period of time, soak the article overnight in the in the vinegar and water, then wash as usual in the morning. Repeat soaking the item in vinegar and water until stain is removed.
For starters, always follow manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning upholstery. For silk, antique and vintage upholstery, consult a cleaning professional.
Whether it was a little one who peed the bed or a pet who couldn’t make it until the walk, TODAY Home asked a team of cleaning experts to share how professionals would take care of this problem.
Urine stains? They're really nothing more than a wee problem — as long as you treat the area quickly and use the right products.