If you have been told that you should expect to be called in to provide a urine sample, having a bit of background knowledge can help you not only understand the process, but what exactly is being looked for. If you need to, understanding how the urine works can also help you pass, particularly if you are concerned that medication you took might show up under testing.
Types of Urine Testing
Generally, there are three primary types of urine testing, but all start with you providing a sample of around 30ml of your pee in a specimen jar or cup:
Rapid Urine Test
This is the standard test that you have probably encountered at a Doctor’s office. You give your sample to the Dr and they dip a test strip into the urine sample. The results take a few moments to appear, with little squares on the test strip changing color if they come back positive. The test strip is then compared to a color table to work out the results.
- Bilirubin (hemoglobin)
- Ketone (metabolic)
- pH level
- Red blood cells (erythrocytes)
- Sugar (glucose)
- Urobilinogen (from bilirubin)
- White blood cells (leukocytes)
The rapid urine test may also be called a dip-stick test and is the most common type of urine test as it generally is used in a medical capacity to aid diagnosis of illness or infection. Find more information here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urine_test_strip
Urinalysis is similar to the rapid urine test but is usually done in a laboratory. The general three-part process is:
- Physical assessment (e.g. is it a dark color indicating dehydration)
- Use a test strip
- Look for bacteria, cells or parts of cells under a microscope
In addition to the results that would be given using a rapid urine test, a lab-based urinalysis also can give:
- Urinary casts
- Epithelial cells (cells from ureter, bladder and urethra)
Urine tests for drugs can either be looking for a single drug (often amphetamine or THC), a group of drugs, with the most common tests being either for 5 illicit drugs, or the 5+ prescription medication (which has potential for abuse). Generally, these are the top drugs being screened for.
- Cannabinoids (thc)*
- Expanded barbiturates
- Opiates (codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, hydromorphone) *
However, testing can also look for specific banned substances (although these tests usually need to go to a lab as they are more specialized and may not be available in a generic testing kit), as well as alcohol, certain pain medications
Urine Specimen Validity Test (SVT)
In addition to standard drug testing, most companies are now taking the option to use Urine Specimen Validity Testing as this also attempts to ensure that the sample provided is genuine by testing for adulteration, substitution and dilution. You can use this website link to find out if you can circumvent this.
Substitution is when something other than human urine has been provided, either animal or poorly manufactured fake urine.
Adulteration is when your actual urine has been used but something has been added to it to try to hide or destroy traces of drugs (or even to just make the test invalid)
Dilution is when you have drunk very large amounts of fluid (normally water) in an attempt to dilute your urine to the point where the urine will be too weak to be able to actually detect anything
Urine Testing Adulteration
Although there are many products on the market, and the internet is full of very helpful blog posts about how you can just add a bit of bleach or vinegar to your urine sample and pass your drug test with flying colors, modern science has caught up with these techniques and many of the suggestions don’t even need the SVT to be dubious at best.
Acid or Vinegar – This changes the pH level of the urine and is detected with a standard rapid strip test
Bleach, Chromates, Nitrate – often will hide cannabis or opiates, but any screening system using a SVT will detect this as an adulteration.
Timeframes for Detection
Although detection will depend on how much you have used, how often you have used, and what the cut off level is for tolerance with the particular test that you are taking, this will give you a general idea of what the detection time is for a standard urine drug test. Detection is possible over much longer time frames if other types of testing is used.
|Drug||Detected Up To|
|Barbiturates||2 days to 3 weeks|
(2 months for a chronic user)
(1 month for a chronic user)
How Can I Pass My Test?
As you can see, many of the myths and legends that float around on internet sites and on dubious forums are complete fantasy. If someone has genuinely passed a urine drug test by drinking a lot of lemon juice beforehand chances are that it was either a story from the distant past before testing became as sophisticated as it as now, or they simply didn’t consume the quantity of substance that they suggested they had.
One of the more successful methods of passing a drug test (knowing that you do have substances in your system) is a well manufactured fake urine. As an urine specimen validity test will normally check for unusual quantities of chromates and nitrates in the urine, a fake product which proclaims to pass by using large amounts of these will likely just end up going on the adulterated or substituted list and result in you either being required to resubmit another urine sample (which you may think is going to give you extra time for the substance to get out of your system), or more likely be required to undergo hair analysis testing.
You have the background facts, make sure you understand the product that you are purchasing and how any substance you have been exposed to will be detected.