April 12, 2024

Bringing back the integrity of urine drug testing in the workplace

By Guest Contributer

By Samantha M. Simons MsEd, CEO and Founder of Gillon Diagnostics & Associates

“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” C.S. Lewis

Substance abuse is proven to harm people’s lives and their respective careers. More than 60% of adults who are employed in the United States admit that they have or have had a substance abuse problem. The U. S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates, that around 13.3% of Americans initiated or increased their substance abuse during and after the COVID-19 pandemic to cope with their anxiety and emotional stress. [1]

According to the 2023 Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index Report; more than 9.2 million (combined U.S. workforce) urine drug tests, showed the overall drug positivity rate was at its highest level in 20 years. Post-accident workplace drug-positive tests additionally climbed to more than 10.3% in 2022 – the highest it’s been in 25 years! [2]

There is no coincidence that this historic increase in workforce drug-positivity tests began climbing the same year Colorado and Washington legalized the recreational use of marijuana in 2012. Since then, 19 additional states and the District of Columbia have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, with 38 states (plus the District of Columbia) legalizing its medical use. [3]

Meanwhile, U.S. federal Law classifies marijuana/cannabis, cocaine, and heroin as Schedule 1 drugs with a very high potential for abuse. Additionally, Executive Order 12564 prohibits drug use by any federal employee in a sensitive position such as law enforcement, national security, the protection of life or property, public health or public safety. [4] Safety organizations, including the National Safety Council, have long advocated for zero-tolerance policies regarding workplace drug use.

They have their reasons.

The impact of substance use in the workplace

Substance abuse results in reduced overall safety and achievement in all working environments, negatively impacting the U.S. workplace in many ways including: [5]

  1. Loss of productivity and job performance
  2. Increased employee absenteeism
  3. For substance abuse issues, employers are paying an average of $15,640/year in health care costs per employee
  4. Decrease in employer bottom-line revenues
  5. Increased workplace accidents and injuries
  6. Increased workman’s compensation claims and increased employee health insurance costs
  7. Decrease in employee morale
  8. Increase in workplace theft
  9. Damage to the employer’s brand and professional image

Industries with inherently safety-sensitive environments, including transportation, construction, and manufacturing, experience all the effects listed above in addition to critical risks to health and safety, due to both illicit drugs and misused prescription drugs.

The important benefits of workplace drug testing

Drug testing offers an effective and proven tool for employers who want to maintain a drug-free work environment, functioning as a powerful deterrent when done right.
Despite the thought that drug testing may be an invasion of employee’s privacy, there are compelling arguments for drug testing. When workers know that ongoing testing protocols are in place, it encourages sobriety and decreased drug use in the workforce. [6]

Fake urine is more common than you think!

A urine drug test, however, is only as good as the quality of the specimen being tested. Detecting whether the donor’s urine sample is real or fake/synthetic is essential for accurate drug testing. More than 23.36% of all urine samples collected contain fake urine, and one in every four employees tested provided adulterated urine. [7] Currently, there is no foolproof method or protocol in place for urine specimen collectors to follow that will combat the abundant fake urine problem. Specimen validity tests at the lab level can cost between $80 and $134 per specimen, and the fake urine specimen may still not be detected.

What is fake or synthetic urine and how readily available is it for purchase? The answers may surprise you!
Synthetic urine is composed of chemicals, creatinine, yellow dyes, and sometimes, uric acid to mimic the characteristics of urine. It typically retails on the internet, at truck stops, and smoke shops, and is easily purchased inexpensively. Users and addicts can subvert a positive drug test by substituting a synthetic specimen of urine for $35 or less — a nominal price to pay for keeping their job or avoiding a return trip to jail.

Cheating with sophistication – The thriving legally dubious synthetic urine market

The sophistication of synthetic urine samples is designed to deceive all aspects of urine drug testing. Many fake/synthetic urine kits even include a temperature gauge and heat pad to keep the ‘fake urine’ between the temperature range of 90-100 degrees, so the specimen doesn’t get rejected. Fake urine suppliers even provide a strap used to conceal the synthetic urine sample close to the donor’s crotch area, so that it is not detectable when the body area is searched. Leading brands, that often pass a urine drug test include, Quick Fix™, Clear Choice Sub Solution, Urinator, and Test Clear Powdered Urine Kit. These brands are saturating the market and are explicitly sold to cheat or sidestep a positive drug urine test result even though they are advertised as “fetish” products or “for research purposes.”

Eighteen states including, Arizona, Indiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wyoming, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Florida, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas have banned the marketing and use of synthetic urine. However, the legalized sale and cheating on urine drug tests, still prolifically occurs at collections sites across the United States. [8]

Is it difficult to detect synthetic urine at collection?
Generally speaking, synthetic urine samples often are not detected by the collector at two key checkpoints:
1) When the collector tests the specimen for the correct temperature, within two minutes of the donor giving the sample.

2) Once the sample has been tested for temperature, the collector will perform a dipstick validity test. These dipstick validity tests only detect the following: a) the presence of unusual levels of nitrates; b) the Ph range; c) the correct range of creatinine; d) the specific gravity range; e) the presence of any oxidizing agents. If the dipstick test doesn’t produce a reaction, the test goes straight to the next stage at the laboratory.

If nothing untoward is spotted at the point of collection, then an immunoassay test is conducted in the lab to check for different drug metabolites that are part of a 5-panel, 10-panel, 12-panel, or 18-panel drug test. It is important to note that fake tests such as Test Clear’s Powdered Human Urine, Quick Fix Urine, and Urine Luck have all ‘mastered’ the mimicking of real urine’s temperature and properties down to a science. The chances of a fake sample being sent to a lab for proper analysis become remote. Additionally, even with mass spectrometry analysis, the best fake or synthetic urine may not be detected.

How can collectors catch more synthetic/fake urine at the point of collection?

Genurine™ by Gillon Diagnostics is a game-changer as a next-generation validation confirmation test for the detection of fake or synthetic urine at the point of collection. With 99.7% accuracy, Genurine™ offers a simple validation confirmation test in less than two minutes by following four easy steps:


  1. The collector adds 125 uL of the urine specimen from the donor
  2. Dispenses 500 uL of the proprietary solution from the stock bottle into a 4ml glass vial with a lid.
  3. The collector places the cap on the glass vial, tightens the cap, and briefly shakes the mixture.
  4. The collector lets the mixture sit for 30 to 60 seconds and observes the glass vial for the presence or absence of a precipitate.

If the walls of the glass vial are clear, the test has detected fake/synthetic urine. Conversely, if the walls of the glass vial form a precipitate, the vial contains real urine.

As the result of a urine drug test is only as good as the specimen sample, this new protocol test will make it much easier for the collector to accurately detect fake/synthetic urine at the point of collection. They need not have cross words with the donor. Instead, they simply make the donor aware that fake/synthetic urine has been detected and send the labeled glass vial with the adulterated sample to the lab for confirmation. By even detecting the most sophisticated brands of fake or synthetic urine, this test makes it very difficult for the donor to use a fake urine sample at the point of collection, thereby drastically reducing the opportunity for adulteration or cheating. [10]

The test will also bring accuracy and ease to the at-home testing process. With Genurine™ by Gillon Diagnostics Validation Confirmation, donors can send in their immediate confirmation of their sample with their at-home urine drug test.

Conclusion: Bringing back the integrity of ethical and accurate urine drug testing

Urine drug testing and non-regulated drug screens are essential tools for employers, drug treatment centers, and sports teams to ensure safe and productive environments. By conducting urine drug testing with confirmed validation by using Genurine™, we can stop cheating, provide accurate results from urine drug tests, deter the purchase of ‘fake urine’, and provide overall dramatic cost savings to the industry.

Through confirmed validation, collection sites nationwide can shut cheaters down. An easy-to-use confirmed validation test can also assist states that have banned the sale and use of synthetic/fake urine in preventing illicit drug users from having access to an opportunity to sidestep the urine drug testing system.

Whether or not we like it, illicit drug use is everywhere and increasingly prevalent in our workplaces. However, by enacting a urine drug test with validation at the point of collection we can deter substance abusers and cheaters alike.

For more information about Genurine™ by Gillon Diagnostics please contact info@gillondiagnostics.com, sms@gillondiagnostics.com or call (561)-356-1934. This information is provided for educational purposes only. The Reader retains full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein.

[1] Workplace Supported Recovery: New NIOSH Research Addresses an Evolving Crisis. November 2022. https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2022/11/30/workplace-supported-recovery/

[2] The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/opioids/data.html

[3] SAMHSA Executive Order 12564. https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/executive_order.pdf

[4] Record Number of U.S. Workers Test Positive for Cannabis, Study Shows. May 2023. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/marijuana-workplace-tests-25-year-high-quest/

[5] SAMHSA(Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) The Executive Order, Public Law, Model Plan and Testing Designated Positions Guidance. January, 2023. https://www.samhsa.gov/workplace/about/background

[6] National Safety Council. New Mental Health Cost Calculator. May 2021.

[7] National Library of Medicine. July, 2023. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK459334/

[8] The Addiction Counseling Service. www.detox.com

[9]Best Synthetic Urine 2024 – Can Fake Pee Kits Pass a Modern Drug Test. January 2024. https://www.onlymyhealth.com/best-synthetic-urine-can-fake-pee-kits-pass-a-modern-drug-test-1706076367
[10] Update on Urine Adulterants and Synthetic Urine Samples to Subvert Urine Drug Testing. August, 2022.
American Academy of Family Physicians. Urine Drug Tests: Ordering and Interpretation. 2019https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2019/0101/p33.html
National Library of Medicine. Update on Urine Adulterants and Synthetic Urine Samples. 2022 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35639619/