Excerpted from 3TV/CBS 5 By Morgan Loew
The number of people caught cheating on employer-required drug tests rose by 40% from 2017 to 2018, according to figures compiled by Quest Diagnostics.
“This is common,” said Tim Terrill, the owner of ARCPoint Labs of Scottsdale – North.
He says the most common forms of cheating include using someone else’s urine and synthetic urine.
“It’s super easy to do. They give you a little bottle. It comes with a temperature strip on it. You premix the little urine in the water, and it looks yellow. It has, supposedly, all the properties,” said one woman who concealed her identity due to working in the medical field, the operating room specifically.
“I used this product twice prior,” she said, indicating it worked both times. “But last month, something changed.”
“The lab called, and they said they had to inform me that the result was a substitute,” she said, which means she lost her job.
“I have learned a terrible lesson,” she said.
Roughly 60 % of employers in Arizona require their prospective and current employees to undergo drug testing. According to Quest Diagnostics, the number of people who failed those tests rose by 9% last year.
Between 8% and 9% of people in the general population are believed to have dealt with substance abuse. Among doctors and nurses, that number is thought to be as high as 15 %.
“I would say that about two-thirds of our complaints are related to substance abuse,” said Janeen Dahn, the associate director of complaints, investigations and compliance for the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
Dahn says she’s aware of the many methods and techniques people use to try to cheat on drug tests.
“Our job is to protect the public. So, we’re going to make sure that they’re not practicing under the influence or putting the public at risk,” said Dahn.
However, a growing understanding of substance abuse has led to options for people who fail drug tests. Those options often include ways for substance abusers to keep their jobs, even in the medical field.
“It’s not the end of the road, but it’s the beginning to recovery if the nurse acknowledges that there’s a problem,” said Kathleen Harrington, a registered nurse who is the administrator of the Alternative to Discipline Program for nurses in Arizona.
“Currently we have about 450 participants in our programs,” said Harrington.
The Arizona Medical Board, which oversees medical doctors, has a similar program for substance abusers.
“Currently, the Board ‘s Physician Health Program monitors 77 physicians/physician assistants located in-state and seven licensed physicians/physician assistants licensed in Arizona, but residing out of state,” wrote Patricia McSorely, the executive director of the Arizona Medical Board.