I’ll always remember the first time I failed a drug test. I was in my early 20s, looking for a marketing job that paid reasonably (“reasonably” meaning pretty much anything higher than minimum wage) and offered any type of upward mobility from bartending and serving food. And I’d somehow made it through first and second interviews, and had received an invitation to meet with the hiring manager, who would also be my direct manager if I was hired for the position. It paid just under $30,000 per year, and I definitely needed the money.
I remember the lady was very nice, with a bright smile but nervous eyes. She seemed genuinely excited when she leaned toward me from the other side of our table at a coffee shop in midtown Atlanta and told me she was offering me the job as a marketing coordinator. For about 10 seconds I felt a huge sense of relief.
Then she said, “There’s just one more thing I need you to do, and I apologize, but I need you to go across the street to those offices and take a drug test.”
She said that the test had to be taken that day, within a two-hour window, or else they’d have to rescind the job offer. My heart melted into my stomach.
Most people (at least the people I know), including me, smoked weed in their early 20s. It’s as all-American as having a Budweiser before you’re legally able to drink—it’s just part of our national pre- and post-college culture. Whatever we do when we get older is a different story, but it’s not uncommon to find cannabis consumers under the age of 25, wherever you are in this great, free country of ours. I remember being extremely frustrated that this test was necessary, and also being very nervous about what my options were, so I decided to put personal politics aside for the moment and just try to get past the piss test.
Luckily for me, or at least so I believed, there was a GNC nutritional supplements shop in the same plaza as the drug testing facility. The hiring manager said she had somewhere else to be, so she got up to leave and let me know that she hoped everything worked out, with a gentle but knowing, almost apologetic smile.
As soon as she’d driven away in her car, I sprinted to the GNC and asked for any cleansing agents they had that could work to rid my system of toxins. Of course, the associate knew what I meant, so he pointed me toward the shelves where there were a variety of drug testing kits and “detox” serums. I saw one that said it would work in three hours. I didn’t have that much time, but it was the best option available.
I remember it was more than $40, which I certainly didn’t have to waste, but was willing to invest if it would open up new income for me with this job that was about to slip through my weed-scented fingers.
I paid the cashier, gulped down the disgusting candy-apple-red liquid in the bottle, and said a prayer.
I waited until a few minutes before the deadline, then walked into the clinic, which had my information ready, along with my urine cup. I peed and I left, hoping for the best but expecting bad news to come.
Sure enough, the hiring manager called a day later. Those tests are pretty quick with negative results, and she let me know that “something was found” in my urine that suggested that I used marijuana, which was illegal and against company policy. I remember her trying to leave the possibility out there that I could still get the job; I would just have to appeal the test and take it again. And I remember doing my best to sound shocked that such a result could happen. I also remember the lump in my throat and the weight on my shoulders, knowing it was a lost cause.
Still, I told her I’d be willing to take the test again, and she responded with excitement, telling me to go back to the same facility and they’d know what to do. It would again have to be that same day. So I went to a different store—an adult novelty and smoke shop—looking to see if they had anything that seemed more reliable. The price was around the same, and it didn’t look convincing.
I gave up and decided I’d move back home to Alabama and get a job at a call center until I figured it out.
What I later learned, after failing another drug test months later applying for a different job, and just before taking a third drug test to work for a national bank, was that I was never going to pass that drug test they way I thought. Didn’t matter if it was a pill, some natural beverage or stronger liquid cleanse, or anything else that relied on my own urine. My best friend, a physician, told me after asking him what to do for this upcoming test, was to use “the substitution method”—the synthetic stuff.
I didn’t believe him at first until he explained the reasoning behind why you can always use synthetic urine: the calibration of the testing machines. See, medical equipment isn’t cheap. So before a drug-testing clinic first purchases the machines, they have to know they work properly. That means they’re tested. And most often, at least back around the early 2000s, they test and calibrate the machines using the fake stuff.
In other words, the machine doesn’t know the difference between your pee and some Frankenpiss created in a science lab. If it contains the same chemical makeup, it counts.
You’re gonna need more than just fake pee, but make sure you have enough. Whether you’re using a concentrated powder and mixing it with water, or buying pre-mixed synthetic urine, have three ounces, minimum. You also need an empty squirt-top bottle with a temperature display strip, because one of the easiest giveaways that you’re faking is trying to pass off urine below normal human body temperature (or way too high, obviously).
Then you’ll need hand-warming packets; I suggest two to be safe. They supposedly take a couple hours to get to the needed temperature, and I’d suggest activating one an hour earlier than the other so that at least one of them will be at the right amount of heat to make what’s in the bottle as warm as your body. And your heating hand packs either need to have a sticky side that can keep them attached to the bottle, or you will need something to hold them in place, such as a string you can tie around the bottle and pack.
Once you have that essential heat source securely radiating warmth on your fugazi pee, you’re going to want to keep the whole thing in a place near where you actually urinate. They make you empty your pockets at these clinics, so you don’t want to be caught slipping after all this prep work. Stuff it in your underwear, ideally against something that’s comfortable with that heat pad. The contact with your own body will also regulate the heat and keep it from cooling too quickly.
After that, it’s all on you and your ability to keep a cool head. Be steady! Don’t avoid eye contact, don’t let yourself look guilty and don’t worry about the actual test part. You don’t want to seem like some sketchy person smuggling fake pee into a clinic, preparing to fraudulently submit urine in order to pass a drug test, just to work at whatever draconian corporation demands to know the contents of your bodily waste before paying you to do a job they need done. No my friend — you are a hardworking American who is hungry for gainful employment, and maybe also some nice sour candies, beef jerky, and chips.
Keep in mind, I certainly don’t guarantee that this method works everywhere, simply because that was how it was over a decade ago. But I hear it’s exactly the same in most places. Also, in some places, you’re going to be monitored. But aside from working at a few government agencies or being on probation or whatever, most places that hire people have policies that legally restrict them from stuff like staring intensely at your penis or vagina while you urinate.
Anyway, good luck to you! It’s a shame that we have to do all of this for a plant that is legal to possess and put in your body, recreationally, medicinally or however, in many states. Some of us are still fighting. At least now you can feel secure that you have an edge.