Wisconsin Locals Share Ways to Pass Drug Tests

By Jahna Peters

University Wire

February 9, 1998

(Badger Herald) (U-WIRE) MADISON, Wis, -- As increasing liabilities force companies to mandate drug testing, more individuals turn to alternative methods to pass drug tests.

    While the best way to pass a drug test is to clean up beforehand, several folk remedies, diuretics and antioxidants may increase the possibility of passing a test.

     According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nine percent of current employees and 12 percent of job applicants test positive for illegal drug use. Because drug use results in an estimated 100 billion dollars per year in lost revenue, many companies require tests prior to hiring and test randomly during employment.

     "It's more common to see drug testing today because of the liability issues," said Annette Jay of Accurate Biomedical laboratories. "The trend has been increasing greatly even within the last year."

     The increased use of testing forces many individuals, using drugs socially or continuously, to employ system cleansing methods.

     According to Beverly Potter, author of the book Drug Testing at Work, an individual should start as early as possible to flush his or her system of any residue.

     Drinking excessive amounts of water will dilute the urine and increase chances that drug metabolites will go undetected. Similarly, diuretics such as tea, coffee or soda, increase urination and therefore reduce any drug traces.

     Several folk remedies are also used to pass tests. Drinking cranberry juice or vinegar, or taking aspirin flushes the system of toxins. Similarly, antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E cleanse the human body.

     "My friend told me to try vinegar because it practically sterilizes the system," said an anonymous UW-senior, "So, I drank a half of cup. It tasted awful, made me feel like shit but I passed my test."

     Several herbal methods claim to cleanse the system of toxins. Products such as Naturally Klean and Fast Flush combine numerous herbs to target specific regions of the body.

     "We have a number of products geared for cleansing the system," said Julie Voelker of Community Pharmacy. "But because of FDA legalities they don't say 'for passing drug test' right on the box."

     Herbs such as chamomile, alfalfa, licorice, red clover, and dandelion may combine to 1act as a natural cleanser of the blood.

     "Each herb has one or two areas of the body that it focuses on," Voelker said. "The more herbs you piece together the better overall effect it has."

     GoldenSeal remains the most popularly used herb, aside from its natural ability to treat congestion and soothe inflammatory conditions of mucous membranes.

     "It's an urban myth that if you take GoldenSeal that you will pass a drug test," Voelker said.

     While sweating removes impurities within the body, health officials suggest not exercising 24 hours prior to testing. Exercise can release traces of the drug stored in the fat cells into the blood and urine systems.

     Similarly, time constraints force many individuals to sabotage their drug tests. Diluting urine with water, salt, bleach or ammonia can skew the results and eliminate any traces of drugs.

     "My job called me the night before telling me I had a test at 3 p.m. the next day," said Chad, a UW-junior. "I was in a bind so I put some water in a sandwich bag, held it under my armpit to get it to body temperature and at the test I poured almost three-fourths of it in the cup. Amazingly, I passed."

     Residence times for illicit drugs vary from 12 hours to 40 days. The average test detects usage of marijuana, which remains in the system up to seven days, and the use of amphetamines, which stay for up to four days.

     The detection time for barbiturates, opiates and alcohol varies from test to test.

     Drugs such as heroin and LSD remain in the body for 20 to 40 days, according to UW Health Services.

     While there remains no scientific evidence that these methods work, several pharmacies, publications and websites provide people with viable options for system cleansing.