I just picked up a second job on some weekends, which I haven’t started yet because I have been going through the hiring process, which includes drug testing.
Of course since this is the digital age, the only person I actually met in person during the hiring process for this particular job was the hiring manager. Other than that, nearly all my instructions, training and paperwork was sent through links and attachments via many emails from several different people in human resources.
One of these emails contained the documentation for the drug test, which stated in highlighted bold text that it had to be completed within 48 hours at one of the lab centers listed within the email or the offer would be rescinded.
After receiving this, I got up early the next weekday morning and headed off to the nearest walk-in lab center before I had to report to my main Monday-Thursday job.
Like everyone, I find drug testing to be nothing short of a big pain in the ass. However, I did appreciate the convenience of being allowed to go to a walk-in lab center and go through the quick testing process.
The process was as such: My coat and purse stayed with the nurse/tech, who handed me a cup. I went into the restroom where I found the toilet water blue with toilet bowl cleaner.
The instructions from the nurse/tech were to pee in the cup, do not flush the toilet, and emerge with the pee-filled cup without washing my hands.
Once I came out of the restroom I was instructed to give the urine sample to the glove-wearing nurse/tech and wash my hands at the outside sink while the nurse/tech was standing there.
She filled out the paperwork and I was done.
Pee Tests of the Past
Now I have taken at least 4-5 pee tests in my lifetime for various jobs, and I always remembered it as being an event that no matter how “clean” my history, I felt labeled as a drug-abusing, daily alcohol-drinking societal problem.
It wasn’t too much like that this go-round. Unlike previous experiences, I wasn’t forced to pee in a cup in front of a nurse nor pee in a cup over an empty toilet lined with a garbage bag in a large exam room.
No. This time I was in an actual restroom where I could close the door, and I was completely trusted not to run the water of the sink or flush the toilet. Even if the nurse/tech stood outside the door and listened for running water, I wouldn’t have known. So to me the environment wasn’t nearly as threatening as I remembered.
Also this time, I found the nurse/tech to be quite chatty and nice, a big difference from the extremely serious nurses whom I’d dealt with in the past. The ones who made me feel like I was already in trouble as I tried to run through the list of prescriptions or over-the-counter meds I may have taken that could make the test false positive.
As it turns out, because of HIPAA laws you no longer give a list of your meds. Apparently, only if necessary will the lab company call to discuss medications.
As far as prescriptions, the only thing I have to worry about is the Avonex injection, which I am sure wouldn’t show for what they’re testing. For an extra precaution, I made sure not to take any Tylenol or have a cocktail before I went to bed the previous evening.
I don’t even know if a Tylenol would have thrown off the test, but I wasn’t about to risk it. My cautiousness comes from a situation that happened to a very good and very straight friend of mine who found herself in her boss’ office after only a few days on her new job:
“I brought you in my office for a serious matter. You failed your drug test,” her boss stated.
Because she rarely drank let alone take drugs, she started laughing, thinking that he was surely kidding.
“Why are you laughing? This is really serious,” he said. “Your job is in jeopardy.”
Of course she took the test again, which she passed, and also learned through the process that it was the Advil she had taken for a headache the night before her drug test which had caused a false positive. While I believe this is now a well-known fact, she was embarrassed as well as scared to death at the time.
Yes, I’m Pretty Straight
Now I am assuming that the blue toilet bowl cleaner in the toilet during my drug test is meant to deter one from trying to dilute their urine with the toilet water, a tactic that has never crossed my mind because, as my sister and friend said, “You’re pretty much the straightest person I know.”
I am. I have never had to worry about drug tests because, while I do love my cocktails, I can go without, and I am not a marijuana lover or pill popper. So no, never worried, except for once when I had to retake a pee test because the nurse forgot to properly date the sample.
Being young and naïve at the time, this slight oversight by the nurse caused me to freak out because I had attended a rock concert the night prior to the day they called and wanted me to retake the test. While I didn’t smoke pot at the concert, I certainly smelled it and was certain that it would be detected. That is exactly what I told the nurse who called anyway.
Of course I felt stupid when she told me that “the test won’t pick it up unless you smoked it.”
What Some Will Do
While I don’t know of anyone who has tried to dilute their urine with toilet or sink water, I’ve actually heard worse: Someone I know of actually had her mother pee in a pill bottle, and the girl then inserted the bottle of pee into her own vagina to keep it warm until she arrived for her drug test. This is how she passed.
To me, this sounds like something you’d see on an episode of Shameless, which makes me laugh. At the same time it also causes me to expect that should I take a drug test in the future – especially with marijuana becoming legal but companies still firing those who test positive even in those legalized states – the drug testing process will be back to peeing in front of a nurse.
Until that time, I’ve passed this drug test and have been formally hired. My sister, who was happy for me, said, “Good, now you can smoke meth with your cocktail tonight.”