Synthetic urine, meth use rise in workforce drug testing

Diagnostic Laboratory Services

More people are trying to cheat their drug test in Hawaii and meth use is also on the rise.

According to results from workforce drug testing performed by Diagnostic Laboratory Services, synthetic urine use doubled from first quarter 2014 to first quarter 2015, but remained steady at 0.9 percent from last quarter 2014.

Synthetic urine is marketed as a way to mask drug use in tests.

“We are a little surprised to see the rising level of synthetic urine use because it dropped significantly after we found a way to detect it in 2010. I can only guess that there are new brands on the market, and people are believing the hype,” said Carl Linden, scientific director of toxicology at Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc.

Amphetamine use, more commonly known as meth, is up to 0.9 percent from 0.6 percent from last year, but did not show an increase from fourth quarter 2014 to first quarter 2015.

“It’s a disappointment. You see one drug go up, another go down, you know, it doesn’t ever seem to go away,” Linden said. “That’s one issue. Substance abuse doesn’t seem to go away.”

Marijuana use, the result that most frequently shows up in workforce drug testing, remains the same this quarter as last quarter 2014 at 2.5 percent. Opiate use was down from 0.4 percent to 0.2 percent, and cocaine has stayed in the 0.2 to 0.3 percent range for five straight quarters.

DLS’ quarterly sample size typically includes between 7,000 to 10,000 drug tests.

In 2012, Hawaii banned several categories of ‘legal’ synthetic drugs, such as bath salts, but they cannot be tested for in workplace drug testing according to federal and state law. However, if a physician orders it, tests for synthetic drugs can be performed.

Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. is a medical testing laboratory that offers a comprehensive range of routine and esoteric testing services and the most sophisticated forensic toxicology and substance abuse testing services in the State of Hawaii. The company employs more than 500 people and has locations throughout Hawaii, Saipan and Guam.

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