One of the most recent trends in tampering and adulteration of drug testing is people using fake pee as a substitute for their own urine sample. Subjects have been using other people’s clean urine for decades, but have sometimes been surprised when the urine they brought failed for more drugs than their own urine would have. People ask us “can fake pee be detected in a drug test?” because it would be a more convenient method of defrauding tests for them.
Using fake pee is more convenient and more trustworthy for someone trying to tamper with their drug test. It’s developed to match the composition and appearance of real urine as closely as possible.
Can Fake Pee Be Detected in a drug test?
Fake pee is easily detected in a drug test when a laboratory is looking for it. Since more people are using fake pee to tamper with their drug test labs have started testing for analytes that are found in human urine but aren’t found in fake pee. Uric acid for example isn’t a common ingredient in much of the fake urine available.
Have you ever forgot to flush after urinating and came back later to an awful smell coming from the toilet? Uric acid and certain bacteria present in urine are left out of fake pee so it has a longer shelf life. Fake pee wasn’t designed to completely fool lab equipment, so it will likely always be detected when your sample is sent to a lab for confirmation. Besides uric acid there are approximately 12 other analytes that are expelled in human urine that would not be stable in a product that needs to be stored more than a few days.
We suggest that companies and medical practices perform visual confirmations on their drug tests. This means an employee will confirm that the sample originated from the donor as a witness.
It would be very challenging for someone to substitute fake pee for their own urine with a proper visual confirmation. Prosthetics are made to help trick employees, but they have been known to malfunction and are easily noticed by most witnesses.
There are also belts available that have a reservoir and tubing to help trick a witness. The belt uses body heat to keep the temperature of the urine warm enough to activate a temperature strip. Again, these devices are fairly easy to identify especially if the witness has been trained to catch people smuggling clean urine.
Can fake pee be detected in a drug test? It can easily be detected in a drug test, and a witness can negate people’s ability to defraud simpler tests.
Does Fake Pee Ever Work?
Fake pee was originally developed as a control tool for scientists and lab technicians to use for testing. It helped eliminate variables such as dilution, composition, and contamination during experiments that required human urine. It could be stored for longer periods without refrigeration.
During a point of care drug test the fake urine will test like clean urine. Since a qualitative drug test is only confirming whether a certain drug’s metabolites are present above a specified level in a substance diluted to the level of average human urine, water will even work if there are no metabolites present. This is why most organizations perform a visual confirmation, use cups with adulterant test strips, or randomly lab negative samples.
If you are trying to cheat on a drug test the likelihood of being caught is directly related to the policies of the organization testing you. The more time and money they invest on stopping adulteration the harder it will be for you to tamper with a test.
As far as a home test cup goes there are basically 2 categories. Cups with adulteration strips and cups without adulteration strips. Most fake urine available will pass on both cups because they are engineered to have perfect readings on most adulterant tests. Urine adulteration checks include:
- Specific gravity
- Oxidant/pyridium chlorochromate
However, all it takes is for the person who is giving you the drug test to watch you pee and you won’t get a chance to substitute your fake pee for your sample.
Both types of cups usually have a temperature strip however, and a sample that doesn’t register will likely trigger suspicions.
If the witness isn’t paying attention and you have taken measures to keep your fake pee warm enough to register at body temperature then you might get away with it. The real question is, are you willing to get caught?
Risks and Consequences of Using Fake Pee
The investment in combating adulteration is often directly correlated to the consequences of catching someone tampering with their drug test. A person on probation will face a zero tolerance policy and tampering with a urine sample will result in immediate jail time. A patient that is prescribed narcotics may not be watched as closely but will be expected to produce a sample that is positive for the drugs they are prescribed. Most doctors will refuse to prescribe and note it on their chart if a patient is ever caught tampering with a drug test.
Employment tests vary, but most of the time they either outsource their testing to a company that has strict guidelines for identifying adulteration, or they run their own program and put a lot of effort into making sure it’s not wasteful. An exception would be a company with relaxed guidelines that only drug tests to satisfy an insurance guideline.
In any case, it would put a company in a position of liability if they hired a potential employee that tampered with their drug test. In almost every case you will not be hired, and in some cases you could be blackballed by an entire industry for tampering with a drug test. Tampering with a drug test is in many ways worse than failing one.
Boeing fired CNC Machinist Michael Kelly after catching him trying to substitute a liquid for his own sample during a drug test. Kelly sued Boeing for wrongful termination, but lost the suit and could not have won even it was proved he did not tamper with the drug test because Boeing acted in good faith.
The consequences of attempting to defraud a drug test are becoming more serious. Several states have passed laws that make it illegal to use, possess, sale, manufacture or distribute fake pee. In many of those states there are sections that stipulates that if a technician catches someone using fake pee or attempting to defraud a drug test they must report it to the authorities or risk being penalized themselves.
Synthetic Urine Bans by State
In the United States there is currently no federal law banning the sale or use of fake pee, but 19 states have enacted legislation regarding synthetic urine.
- Alabama’s SB111 prohibits the manufacture, marketing, sale, distribution, use, and possession of synthetic urine or a urine additive. 1st offense is a class B misdemeanor.
- Oklahoma Code §63-7002 is a comprehensive bill covering fake urine and popular adulterants. The penalty is a misdemeanor.
- Arkansas Code § 5-60-201 is a comprehensive bill covering fake urine and popular adulterants. The penalty is a class B misdemeanor.
- South Carolina Code 16-13-470 is a comprehensive bill covering fake urine and popular adulterants. First offense is a misdemeanor, second offense is a felony.
- Mississippi H.B. 1080 the popular “Urine Trouble Act” is a comprehensive bill covering fake urine and popular adulterants. The penalty is a misdemeanor with a 6 month jail sentence and $1,000 fine.
- Tennessee § 39-17-437 makes it illegal to use, possess or sale synthetic urine. Use or possession is a class A misdemeanor, sales is a class C misdemeanor.
- Florida Statute 817.565(b) doesn’t mention fake urine specifically, but makes it illegal to sale, use, distribute, manufacture or advertise substances intended to defraud a drug test.
- Missouri Representative Nate Tate has been presenting bills to revise Chapter 579 to include bans on synthetic urine.
- Utah HB 0016 76-10-2203 makes it a criminal offense to distribute, possess or sell synthetic urine.
- New Hampshire 2016 SB 361 bans the sale and possession of synthetic urine and urine additives.
- West Virginia §60A-4-412 makes it illegal to sell, give away, distribute or market synthetic urine. It also makes it illegal to knowingly try and defraud a drug test.
- Indiana’s Adulterant and Synthetic Urine Ban makes distributing synthetic urine with the intent of assisting a person in defrauding a drug screen a misdemeanor.
- North Carolina General Statutes § 14-401.20 is a law covering many aspects of fake urine and drug test cheating with the penalty of a class I felony for a 2nd offense.
- Wisconsin 2015 AB658 criminalizes the use, possession, manufacture, distribution and advertisement any substance or device meant to defraud, circumvent, interfere with or provide a substitute for a bodily fluid sample.
- Wyoming § 6-3-614 is a comprehensive bill covering fake urine and popular adulterants. First offense is a misdemeanor, second offense is a misdemeanor.
- Michigan Article 23 employees are barred from interfering with any test procedure or tampering with any test sample
In conclusion, can fake pee be detected in a drug test? Yes it can, and you’re even more likely to be caught by a witness or technician. It can be detected and penalties are getting stiffer for people that get caught.