The ease of cheating on home drug tests suggests that parents shouldn’t try to test their kids for drug use, says U.S. News & World Report. Experts say they should seek out a professional assessment. “Cheating remains the Achilles’ heal of drug urine testing in all settings,” says Robert DuPont, president of the Institute for Behavior and Health Inc. and former director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. At the annual meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry last week, toxicologist Amitava Dasgupta of University of Texas-Houston medical school demonstrated various ways that employees try to beat workplace drug tests–and how experts foil these schemes in the laboratory.
On the list: Tampering. A sprinkle of salt or a splash of bleach, vinegar, detergent, or drain cleaner is all that’s needed to muck up a urine specimen. Water-loading. Gulping fluids before providing urine is still the most common way teens try to beat tests. Switching drugs. Teens bent on defeating drug tests will sometimes switch their drug of choice to an undetectable (or harder to detect) substance that’s considerably more hazardous. Popping vitamins. Some teens have the idea that extreme doses of niacin would erase any trace of their illicit drug use. Swapping urine samples. Whether it’s a friend’s clean urine, synthetic pee, or even freeze-dried urine purchased online, teens try to pass off foreign samples as their own.