First things first, yes, synthetic urine, or “fake pee” if you use common language, is, indeed, a real thing.

However, if you were to search FAQ’s regarding synthetic urine a popular question asked is “Is it legal?” The answer is an emphatic “No!” In fact, 17 states currently have pending legislation in progress to make selling the stuff illegal. It’s reported that 10% of all drug tests have been tampered with in some way.  Comparatively, only 3.5% of all drug tests are positive.

The breakdown

Employers submit millions of employee drug tests to their laboratory of choice every year. The fact that only 3.5% of these employees test positive is, undeniably, great news. All in all, though, the number would undoubtedly be higher were it not for the use of synthetic urine.

Currently, the majority of employers use a urine test when drug testing their employees. This is mainly due to the fact that the DOT (Department of Transportation) mandates the urine test be used by all employers of the safety-sensitive workforce. Therefore, employers of the general workforce just followed suit. It’s a “what’s good for the goose” type of mentality that makes sense.

Urine drug tests are extremely accurate, affordable, and, quite frankly, expected by employees and job applicants. This type of testing is so common that chances are if they know a company drug tests, they expect a urine test until informed otherwise.

Employees who use drugs often look for ways to “get over” on employers by falsifying the drug test by whatever means possible. Oftentimes, they purchase drinks that supposedly detoxify the system. Laboratories are on to this game, however, and constantly work to counter this measure.

At some point, synthetic urine entered the game as the new go-to method for employees to test negative when they knew there was no way they could do so naturally.

It’s more than colored water

Of course, the main ingredient is water, but it’s fortified with more than dyes these days. Creatine, uric acid, nitrates and optimum pH levels are part of the makeup. All of these ingredients together make it seem like the real deal.

It’s most often purchased in powder form and the user has to mix it accurately, of course, or their attempt is all for naught. If they are successful during the measuring process, keeping it within the temperature range is the next concern. The first thing a testing technician does is measure the temperature. It has to range between 90 and 100 degrees.

Urine kits often come with warmers that keep the test sample within the necessary temperature range. As long as the urine test is administered during the length of time specified in the instructions, the temperature should measure correctly.

Passing with flying colors—not so much

Thanks to constantly evolving technology, laboratories are becoming more and more adept at keeping up with those who manufacture products to “pass the test.” Detoxifying drinks were all the rage for years, but not so much any longer. Synthetic urine is the supposed MVP of the new millennium. But employers are crying, “Foul!”

Laboratories that test for drugs agree. And, as more and more states introduce legislature to keep it off the market, it’s obvious everyone is in agreement. Everyone, that is, except the drug user.

Until states enact laws banning it, though, synthetic urine is easily accessible. Gas stations, head shops, and online are three major sources available to buy the stuff. It ranges in cost from about $17 to $40 and if someone passes a drug test because of it, they consider it money well-spent.

Busted

But, remember, laboratory technicians are on to this charade. For example, many technicians start the test on their own as soon as the test subject walks in the door. They identify things like nervousness, for example, if the subject is pacing, agitated, or exhibits other signs of something being not quite right.

In addition, they may not be in the restroom with the subject, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t listening outside the door. Technicians listen for the urine stream as another telltale method to identify an attempt to falsify the test.

The visual aspect doesn’t just pertain to color, either. Most human urine contains some type of sediments. In other words, there is visible “stuff” floating around in it. Most of us probably wouldn’t even realize that, but crystal clear urine raises a red flag to the trained eye of a lab technician.

Human urine is a complex liquid to say the least. There are multiple ways to test it because of the vast array of “ingredients” it contains. If anything raises a red flag, additional testing discovers the truth. Drugs in the workplace are a safety risk. Lab technicians take their jobs seriously. They’re in it to win it.

However, we should note here that some laboratories generically perform the drug test. There’s a chance that synthetic urine will squeak by in that case.

Employers may want to ensure that the laboratory they use doesn’t generically perform the actual test. There’s a lot to be said for human interaction here.

It’s a real thing, but not the real thing

In conclusion, synthetic urine, although the latest ploy to fool employers into thinking a test is drug-free, is likely to backfire. Employers deal with true life, not fantasy. If a drug test falls into the 10% of tests found to be adulterated or a fake sample altogether, odds are the employee is immediately marked as a drug user in the eyes of their employer. What happens next is probably their final chapter.

While some employers give employee’s a second chance, it’s company policy to do so. However, most employers don’t offer that option. Instead, the employee loses their job. That certainly wasn’t the “happily ever after” they envisioned when purchasing the fake pee kit.

The best advice on how to pass a drug test is quite simple. Don’t use drugs.

End of story.