The last thing an employed drug user wants to do is pee in a cup. They will go to extreme lengths to defraud or not take the drug test. Their livelihood is on the line. We often tell stories about someone trying to pass off someone else’s urine as their own, but what if they don’t have a chance to get clean pee? What if the drug test is unannounced? What if they are escorted to take a test or a collector comes to their work to test them?
We run into this situation frequently. We will arrive on a jobsite to perform random tests on employees and nobody has time to get drug-free urine before their test. When this happens, it can often turn into a waiting game. For federal DOT tests, we have to allow the donor up to 3 hours to produce a specimen. In that 3 hours we can give them a maximum of 40 oz of water. If someone doesn’t think they will pass a drug test, they will NOT pee in the cup. They will say they have bladder issues, or more commonly they attest that they only urinate twice per day and just finished 5 minutes ago – how convenient. In the drug testing business, when someone purposely won’t urinate and are waiting out the clock, we call it “holding out”. The donor is holding out hoping and praying that things will work out if they can make it to the end of the 3-hour time limit. No pee equals no positive drug test, right? Wrong. Luckily, the DOT put measures in place to deal with this situation.
When 3 hours is up and someone can’t produce at least 45 ml of urine, the test is over. The donor has 5 days to see a physician to determine if there is a medical reason as to why they can’t produce urine. If the physician determines there is no medical reason, the test is reported as a refusal, which has the same repercussions as a positive drug test. If there is a medical reason, the test is cancelled.
The next time you as an employer hear an employee say that they couldn’t produce enough urine in the allotted time for their drug test, I urge you to drink 40 oz of water and try to hold it for 3 hours. Chances are, as soon as these people’s 3-hour time slot runs out, they run to the closest restroom because they can hardly hold it anymore.
When we run into a situation where we think the donor is “holding out”, we first encourage them to take the drug test because their chances of passing go up ten-fold if they urinate in the cup. Otherwise they will have to make a doctor’s appointment, and we know from experience that rarely ends well for the donor. One other method that we have used successfully for non-dot drug tests is threatening to do a hair test if they do not urinate. We find the best way to get a drug user to urinate or refuse to test and end the holding out drama is when we break out our scissors. Drug users biggest fear is a hair test because there is no way to cheat and it has a detection window of 90 days or more.