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Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
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Pillbug

Hey all,
I own a drug and alcohol testing business. My clients are all construction companies and public safety agencies. Ask me anything you want to know! I won’t tell you how to cheat tests but I will discuss ways people have tried to beat the tests. I’ll also happily discuss the business side of things because that is JJ, surprising.

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Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

Domus posted:

I had to drug test for my last job, and I take Adderall. I knew that I would test positive for amphetamines because of that, so I brought my pills with me. You would have thought I showed up with three heads. No one seemed to know what to about me. Lots of people take Adderall. Was it really that unusual for someone to bring a bottle with all the necessary info on it?

People do it but it doesn’t really make a difference. When the test is done and the results come from the GCMS machine, it’s sent to a medical review officer, who’s a doctor that doesn’t work for the collector, the lab, or the employer. The thing about the prescription is they’re not just going “does he take adderall y/n”, the levels that are present get reviewed too to see if you’re abusing it. Technically. Never saw someone get bounced for having too much in their system. But until the MRO has made their determination the test isn’t considered to be complete.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

Canine Blues Arooo posted:

Any fun stories? Are there certain methods people try to cheat with that are just not effective at dodging a test? Are there other ones that are surprisingly effective?

Someone once handed me throw down pee that had clearly been microwaved, the IR gun in the safety trailer had it at 140 degrees.

One drug test led to three people getting fired- the actual testee who was obviously messed up on something, the person who brought the fake pee, and the person who came along to try to distract me for the handoff.

Honestly cheating a test is incredibly easy. I don’t want to get into detail but there’s a lot of go tos that are urban legends that will cause a failure. Bleach powder under the fingernail and stirring it into the sample can destroy the metabolites, yes... but it’ll also make the oxidizer strip bright pink and bam, adulterated sample.

I had a guy who blew a .24 at 930 in the morning, and another guy who was certainly higher but was too hosed up to actually test. He was so drunk he couldn’t figure out the gate to the job site and then ate poo poo in the parking lot because his pants fell down.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

Blue Footed Booby posted:

Imagine what a mess your life has to be that you fail to fail a drug test.

About 16-17 percent of construction workers have a substance abuse problem so there’s more of them on that high end of the substance abuse bell curve than you would expect.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

Pekinduck posted:

I'm guessing a lot of these are guys that came to work obviously shitfaced so the boss sent them off to get tested for the paper trail.

Where are the most common drugs you see, and are certain drugs more common among specific professions?
There’s a few kinds of tests- reasonable suspicion, where (typically) two managers are like “I think this dude is messed up, here’s why, test him”. Then there’s post-incident, where most places will send people out after something involving property damage or an injury. A lot of larger construction companies will hit 10 percent of the site population on random tests every month. Pre-employment is exactly what it sounds like and is my usual source of business. When I work safety I hit all of ‘em though.

Most common by far is alcohol. Partly availability, partly addiction potential, partly people not realizing how long it stays in your system. That’s followed by opiates, then amphetamines, then weed. I don’t have data to really back it up since it’s not like I know when someone successfully cheats, but I think that most people who smoke weed regularly are functional enough that they know to have a way to cheat the test ready to go at a moment’s notice, and I’m fine with that. Burning one outside of work doesn’t make you a hazard the way the other stuff does.

Almost all of my tests are construction and emergency services, so it selects for a population with access to prescription opiates (a medic helping himself to the narc box is why one of my clients started testing) and long shifts (the construction people will often do 6 12’s) leading to people taking amphetamines to stay awake. I have seen people bounced on non-therapeutic levels of prescription opiates, though as I mentioned before, never on amphetamines.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

The Lone Badger posted:

Has easy availability of antibody-based test kits changed the industry much in the time you've been working?

Do the peoplr ordering the tests run mostly want to know "was this person currently affected by drugs?" or "does this person consume drugs at all?" ?

I’ve been doing it for three years, so the immunoassay kits have been standard for the whole time I’ve been doing it.

That varies massively with who’s ordering the tests. I’ve noticed the ambulance agencies care more about people doing drugs at all (since the narc safe is right there and there’s been incidents of people jonesing and treating themselves). Construction usually wants to know if they’re actively under the influence in a reasonable suspicion, obviously, post incident is a bit “are they effected right now” and a bit “worker’s comp dodge” and random and pre-employment testing is about mitigating the risk that they will be hosed up at work and cause an incident/requirement for federal contracts. The thing is, it’s not all a workers comp issue, there’s an incentive to catch them early to prevent people from being messed up and causing an incident- even if they were under the influence and you’re not covering a lot of the worker’s comp, it still effects safety rates which can effect being able to get contracts down the line. And can give your safety department people ulcers.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

Hyrax Attack! posted:

Was involved at company where a fish processing plant in Alaska was audited, looking at payroll issues. They passed that but the auditor noted the 140 hour work weeks likely involved amphetamines. Which we weren’t looking for, but I was curious if that is extremely common in meat plants?

Can’t speak to meat plants but a ton of my amphetamine positives have been on the people working 7x12s.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

Hyrax Attack! posted:

Are there industries where abstaining from drug use is unusual? I heard (second hand) that in WA state after pot was legalized a major retailer had issues where before legalization being trained on a forklift was a good career move. But the company followed federal laws meaning no pot ever, so if a forklift operator was involved in even a minor incident and had used several days before, instant termination.

This was leading to fewer people wanting to be trained as forklift operators to avoid regular drug tests, and booming construction meant if someone didn’t use pot but could operate power equipment, they’d likely switch to construction as they could pass the screening.

Most of my construction ones are either GC’s with federal contracts or subs on federal contract sites so I wouldn’t run into people that were looking to dodge weed tests. I can’t imagine it’s that big, though- pretty much any employer is going to do a post-incident test and a lot of them do five panels even in legal states- you can get protection with a medical card, sometimes, but that’s dicey. Typically what I know of is that people know they could be tested so they have fake piss in a way they can get it ready to go quick-like. Saliva tests are rare, though probably becoming more common.

Saliva test isn’t the technical term but “oral fluid” is so much loving grosser I can’t bring myself to use it.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

ParisFascistWeek posted:

I don't reckon you live in a state where weed is legalized, considering you test people for it as you said previously. I wonder then if you have any knowledge on the relationship between employees consuming weed away from work and if that can threaten their job in a place like colorado, california, oregon, washington etc. I am not in construction but I'm in school for the healthcare field and there is a shocking lack of information on the internet about this. Wondered if you had any insight. Thanks

I spend about half my time in MA where it is legal- the issue with it being on the state level is that recreational use is still something that can get you fired. Amazon did lose a case firing someone who had a medical card, though, and I feel like that is the entry to state level recreational use being used for MROs to make the weed test negative. I really hope it does.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

Fritz the Horse posted:

Are you familiar enough with the chemistry to talk GC method? I've done quite a bit of method development for GC. I'd guess you do a simple liquid-liquid extraction (can't shoot urine directly onto a GC column heh)? Is there much of a temperature ramp? In terms of sample throughput you might be able to get away without much of a temperature program because the metabolites are wildly different molecules, you probably don't need a long/slow oven ramp to separate them and that would use a lot of energy and time.

I have a masters in biochemistry but that doesn’t really enter into the part of drug testing I do- anything that hits a GCMS has already been shipped, retested, and then in the queue for the column.

The fun part is how 25 percent of the population will piss hot for PCP on the immunoassay test if they take benedryl.

Oh. That reminds me- I once had to retest a guy in the summer because the tube I sent to Alere boiled and popped in the bag while FedEx was shipping it.

Ugly In The Morning fucked around with this message at 08:32 on Feb 21, 2021

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

Phyzzle posted:

Do you or others at your company get randomly tested?

When I was working with Bechtel I got hit with randoms three months in a row.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

I find the idea of the people that work for me being tested for things I wouldn’t test for repugnant.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

BiggerBoat posted:

What can you tell me about me testing negative for medication I take (Norco) even though I use it as prescribed? I occasionally get drug screened (I guess) so that the doctor knows I'm actually eating it and not selling it but on a couple of occasions they've said the levels were low or not present at all, which is loving impossible.

Do you know if it a GCMS negative or did they just do the immunoassay and not send it out after a negative test there? If it was a GCMS and you have the results handy I’ll PM you my email and I can take a look. I’m guessing it’s likely a metabolism thing, some people clear opioid metabolites crazy fast, especially if it’s a lower dose or you’re a smaller person.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

That’s a relatively small dose so I can see that and a weird metabolism producing a negative.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

ParisFascistWeek posted:

Biden made a comment about decriminalizing all small amounts of drugs for personal use, I guess. It's just a comment and not real action but I think it's the first step to making addiction recovery more approachable and improvements to the prison system. We'll see if anything happens and what that will mean for businesses where sobriety is important.

So as far as this goes, there’s some interesting stuff going on legally there. NYC has made it illegal to drug test for weed, except there are exceptions carved out in that- particularly for safety sensitive jobs like construction or anything involving heavy machinery.

I feel what’s most likely is that as things are legalized and decriminalized and the umbrella of protections for use gets expanded, there’s going to be a push for more tests that can detect current impairment instead of past use. For example, booze is legal but the DOT still tests for it since there’s an easy and noninvasive way to do so. That’ll probably be in saliva testing, since piss takes a while for metabolites to actually show up, blood is too invasive, and hair is obviously even slower than piss.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

My MRO has specific language that comes up when a medical card is responsible for a negative test since not all employers accept that and it’s federally illegal so it doesn’t have the same protections as other medication. I don’t have any paperwork with that handy though.

Perscription opiates are another one where there’s specific language, since it can effect safety. I do have paperwork for that handy!



I took the personal information off there so you can see what the paperwork from an MRO looks like.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

A Tasteful Nude posted:

Hemp-derived CBD products (teas, oils, whatever) are showing up everywhere, these days. My understanding is that 50-state legal hemp can nonetheless contain minuscule amounts of THC or other cannabinoids.

Ever have an issue detecting these as a THC positive? In the alternative, anyone's test ever come back positive for THC, only to have them explain that they drink like 400 cups of hemp tea, every day?

I had one guy piss hot and claim it was off of the CBD, and I believed him. The levels were just at the cutoff level. It was the one guy I ever had where the GC let me retest him instead of just firing him.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

I haven’t really touched on the business side of things yet but I kind of want to since you guys will be shocked.

The whole thing for my business is that I do all my tests on site. It’s great for construction hires since they rarely know who’s starting in advance, the union just sends a bunch of guys. This works great for me for two reasons, no overhead and I get to charge more. A typical round of hiring for the job sites I work at is 15-40 people so it takes up a chunk of the afternoon.

The costs to me of providing a test are dirt cheap. A 5 panel lab test is 13.50. The breathalyzer tube is something like 40 cents, the breathalyzer itself was 3.5k but that’s a one time thing. The paperwork for the breathalyzer is like a dollar. If a test goes to the MRO because something was in there, I pay five bucks. I would say that’s maybe 10 percent of tests, but even that is high.

How much do you think I charge? Because I bet you’re coming in low.

I charge 100 bucks for both tests. The company I used to work for charged even more than that for onsite stuff, in the neighborhood of 150.

Because the margins are so good I can overpay the hell out of the people that work for me. That other company paid me 12.50 an hour to do it. I pay my guys twenty bucks per test and still make a tidy profit.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

PT6A posted:

When you said this:


I thought you were doing some sort of testing for long-lasting metabolites of alcohol, to indicate addictive use patterns. But this:


Makes it sounds like you're just doing a standard breathalyzer. Are people really blowing intoxicated due to just having a few too many the previous night? It takes a lot to do that, I'd assume the full-blown alcoholic taking an eye-opener would be more common.

Employment tests are basically always for active impairment. You see metabolites (AKA the 80-hour test) in parole/probation/DCFS tests which are something I don’t really deal in.

After a while you get to notice the difference between the “few too many” and the “drank before they came in’s”. Construction also tees heavy drinkers up for the few too many issue with the hours- if you’re working 7-7, and then get blasted after work, you easily, easily can come in at a .04 the next day. The cutoff is .02, so it’s easier to come in over that from overdoing it than if it was .08. .040-.050 was my most common positive reading by far in 2019 and I think that held up for 2020 but I haven’t crunched those numbers yet.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

The Lone Badger posted:

So basically you're testing people before they start work for the day to ensure they are currently safe to operate heavy equipment? And the same person will get tested again tomorrow by someone else at a different site?
If they go to a different site the next day, yeah, pretty much any heavy equipment operator will do it if they’re starting with a new GC/site, and very few work for the GC directly so they’re basically always considered a new hire.
As for every day- the thing is trying to test all 1200 people at a heavy construction site every day isn’t really feasible. For my biggest client I’ve ever worked with, everyone was tested after their orientation, since that’s one or two times a week and less than 40 people, they finish at 2ish so getting them all done by 5 is easy. This eventually flipped to before orientation because of issues with people trying to drag out tests.

Then there’s the reasonable suspicion and post incident tests, which are exactly what they sound like. Most places typically have a pretty ironclad set of paperwork for these that two managers/foremen have to sign off on.

The randoms aimed for 10 percent of the site population a month, and we’d try to get the heavy equipment people like crane operators either first thing or after lunch, since that was the highest potential for someone being unfit for duty. If you tested more than three times in a month something was going seriously wrong, because that would be like a pre-employment+a random+ a reasonable suspicion.

I have only ever had one reasonable suspicion come up negative, usually people are pretty good about spotting someone being clearly messed up.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

PT6A posted:

Were people seriously having lunch-beers when operating heavy equipment?

I love a beer as much as the next guy [who really loves beer], but I'm strict about being stone-cold sober when I need to be.

On the “working EHS” side of things I once busted six people having a “happy hour” in the afternoon with the Budweiser margaritas on the side of a heat recovery steam generator like 150 feet up.

The Lone Badger posted:

How often do you run into somebody hosed up on some new research-chemical that you don't even have a test for yet?

Are the new opiod analogues (carfentanyl etc) a challenge to test for given how low a concentration is needed to make someone unsafe to work?

Thats one of those things where it would be hard to know since you don’t know what ones you’re missing, but, as far as the opioid analogues, the testing can be so incredibly sensitive I’m not tooooo concerned. The THC metabolite test has a cutoff of 50 nanograms/mL. If someone is regularly using an opioid analogue they’ll still come up. The RCs are where it gets dicey, since there’s so many and they change so much it’s unlikely there will ever really be tests for anything but the most common ones.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

BiggerBoat posted:

l

Like, what if you take an anti seizure medicine (like my son does) or have manic, anxiety or depression issues and some HR manager decides he doesn't want to hire people with epilepsy, bipolar disorder or arthritis? What if you took birth control or legally prescribed steroids and some person didn't like it? Seems like it's a wide open discrimination case to me.

This is a cool thread.

Those are all protected health information, so if you have a perscription for it all an MRO report will say is negative. It won’t say that anything came up on the test, though obviously an MRO report means something did (on a non-DOT test). The medical marijuana and opiates are the two main exemptions, one because it’s federally illegal and the other because there’s a demonstrable safety risk involved.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

I would blow Dane Cook posted:

We've heard a lot about the opiod crisis in America, how did you see that play out? Did you notice more and more people with opiods in their system as it got worse?

That had fully kicked in by the time I started doing it, but there’s definitely more positives from states that were hit harder like NY/MA/KY/FL.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

Not really, since I by and large just test for standard stuff (one place makes me test for ketamine, but that’s the only oddball.) I guess I would notice if Quaaludes were making a comeback since those are in the ten panel but no one in the US has done that in like thirty years and I don’t think you can even get them here anymore.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

The Lone Badger posted:

I know you're limited in how much you can talk about this, but does the standard bulk test include various biomarkers to confirm that this is real bodily fluid from an actual live human being? Or is that a 'deluxe' feature?

Density and creatinine, with a strip to detect oxidizers like bleach. That’s really it.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

JacquelineDempsey posted:

Do you watch the people pee? And are there any rules/policies in place that ensure the testee is comfortable with the gender of who's watching them?

Typically no, unless one of the clearly defined reasons to has come up.

quote:

The employee attempts to tamper with his or her specimen at the collection site.
The specimen temperature is outside the acceptable range;
The specimen shows signs of tampering ~ unusual color / odor / characteristic; or
The collector finds an item in the employee’s pockets or wallet which appears to be brought into the site to contaminate a specimen; or the collector notes conduct suggesting tampering.
The Medical Review Officer (MRO) orders the direct observation because:
The employee has no legitimate medical reason for certain atypical laboratory results; or
The employee’s positive or refusal [adulterated / substituted] test result had to be cancelled because the split specimen test could not be performed (for example, the split was not collected).
The test is a Follow-Up test or a Return-to-Duty test.
2. The observer must be the same gender as the employee.

3. If the collector is not the observer, the collector must instruct the observer about the procedures for checking the employee for prosthetic or other devices designed to carry “clean” urine and urine substitutes AND for watching the employee urinate into the collection container.

The observer requests the employee to raise his or her shirt, blouse or dress / skirt, as appropriate, above the waist, just above the navel; and lower clothing and underpants to mid-thigh and show the observer, by turning around, that the employee does not have such a device.
If The Employee Has A Device: The observer immediately notifies the collector; the collector stops the collection; and the collector thoroughly documents the circumstances surrounding the event in the remarks section of CCF. The collector notifies the DER. This is a refusal to test.
If The Employee Does Not Have A Device: The employee is permitted to return clothing to its proper position for the observed collection. The observer must watch the urine go from the employee’s body into the collection container. The observer must watch as the employee takes the specimen to the collector. The collector then completes the collection process.
4. Failure of the employee to permit any part of the direct observation procedure is a refusal to test.


Those are the DOT procedures and basically any employment test somewhere reputable will follow those even if it’s not a DOT test. Parole/DCFS tests are often always observed.

Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

The Lone Badger posted:

If i'm reading those guidelines correctly the proctor doesn't actually see the donor's genital area, just their thighs. So you could stay stealth.

Nope, everything is lowered to mid-thigh.

quote:


and lower clothing and underpants to mid-thigh and show the observer, by turning around,

It’s not a situation ive run into yet.

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Ugly In The Morning
Jul 1, 2010

So pat yourself on the back and give yourself a handshake
'Cause everything is not yet lost




Pillbug

Spikes32 posted:

Insurance often does demand it on hiring for lower rates, and the reason comes down to money. If someone can get it together and not do drugs for long enough to pass a drug test, they are X% less likely to be fully addicted and X% less likely to cause a workplace incident requiring a payout.

It’s exactly this. And you would be shocked the ways hosed up people can find ways to mangle themselves even in places you would think are completely safe. A huge amount of serious workplace injuries (both what most people would consider serious and the OSHA definition of serious) are from same-level falls.

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