APSCREEN Reveals Top Five Tricks Applicants Use to Cheat Drug Tests

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Background check pioneer incorporates drug-screening service into comprehensive pre-employment screening program to help businesses avoid negligent hiring, achieve “Drug-Free Workplace.”

APSCREEN, one of the early pioneers of comprehensive background checks for pre-employment screening, warns business owners and human resources managers of the top five tricks employment applicants use to cheat drug tests, placing employers at risk of negligent hiring lawsuits.

Thomas Lawson, APSCREEN CEO who pioneered the background check industry in 1980, said the new drug-screening service prevents each of the following from getting through the screening process:

1.    Rapid Detoxification—According to Lawson, many applicants will ingest anything from high quantities of cranberry to pickle juice, herbal concoctions and other digestive aids to cleanse the system. “However, most drugs contain metabolites that stay in the body for several days and can be detected regardless of what they take to disguise the drug’s profile,” said Lawson who is a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS), and one of first to become a court-certified expert in negligent hiring cases.

2.    Shy Tester—Some applicants try to avoid the drug-screening by showing up and claiming an inability to produce the required amount of urine. “This way, the tester can try to secure the position first, hoping the drug screen slips through the bureaucratic cracks,” Lawson said. “But patience is a virtue and we make the applicant wait up to three hours and even then an applicant unable to provide a specimen is asked to provide a medical explanation for their inability to void a specimen. The absence of a medical explanation results in a refusal to test which has the same consequences as a positive test.”

3.    The Switch—One of the most popular tricks is for an applicant to attempt to submit a ‘clean’ sample which did not come from their own body. “Our process includes a step-by-step authorization, as well as a blood and urine screen, that immediately flags a sample if certain criteria, odd temperatures or unusual activity is noticed.” Lawson said. “We’ve even caught applicants trying to use unique prosthetic devices.” The laboratories test every specimen to determine that it is in fact normal human urine.

4.    Pleading Invasion of Privacy—Another common strategy is for an applicant to deny the employer consent to the drug-screening, hiding behind an ‘invasion of privacy’ claim. A strict well-written company policy requiring the testing will hold up in all courts throughout the United States as grounds for not hiring someone or releasing someone from employment. “Besides drug testing, APSCREEN uses every other service at our means to double check the applicant’s use of money, credit, neighborhood references, driving and criminal activities among other ways to identify if the applicant is hiding a problem. When we deliver the complete report, the employer can make an educated decision about hiring the individual.”

5.    The Waiting Game—Other testers will concede to the drug-screening but ask for up to 90 days before showing for the test. “This is a red flag that shows the applicant could be ‘dirty’ and needs time to clean up,” Lawson said. “Our process recommends the applicant be tested immediately upon being notified of selection for testing. Any delay caused by the applicant is duly noted and supplied in the final report.”

According to the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions, nearly 19 percent of on-the-job fatalities, the person dying tests positive for alcohol, drugs or both. Additionally, the federal government estimates that 71 percent of illegal drug users are employed. The Department of Transportation requires workers in the airline, railroad, trucking, pipeline, mass transit and shipping industries be regularly tested for drug use. Other non-regulated industries across the country are implementing drug free workplace programs at the request of employees in order to ensure a safer working environment.

“We envision a ‘drug-free workplace’ for the safety and betterment of our economy,” said Lawson who said APSCREEN’s drug testing service administered by Florida Drug Screening is Nationally Accredited for Administration of Drug and Alcohol Testing Programs (NAADATP) – a unique certification received by only 65 providers in the United States from the Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA). “We adhere to the highest level of service and legal compliance available as with all our services.”

Lawson is a Certified Fraud Examiner, Certified International Investigator and Expert Witness for lawsuits regarding negligent hiring, human resource management/compliance, employment screening as well as use, interpretation and compliance of FACTA/Fair Credit Reporting Act/CCRRA/Gramm-Leach-Bliley (Financial Privacy) Act in the HR Context.

According to Joe Reilly of Florida Drug Screening, the key to identifying the ‘cheaters’ is consistent specimen collection procedures and use of laboratories certified by the United States Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Reilly is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Washington DC based Drug and Alcohol Testing Industry Association (DATIA).

“This includes emptying of pockets, no overcoats or purses, or pocket books brought into the collection area, securing all sources of water, checking temperature of the specimen, observing for sights and sounds indicating falsification; and laboratory testing for adulteration and substitution,” Reilly said.

Reilly also said numerous Federal and State laws regulate the drug-screening industry and between APSCREEN and Florida Drug Screening, clients will stay informed of any specific changes that may be impacting the service.

Founded in 1980, APSCREEN is based in Rancho Santa Margarita, California and is the originator of the factual employment-screening concept. APSCREEN provides nationwide coverage for businesses seeking the highest caliber, most comprehensive background checks for pre-employment screening. Thomas Lawson, CEO of APSCREEN and a Certified Fraud Examiner, authored the Pre-Employment Screening series, published in The Complete Workplace Violence Prevention Manual, which is used as the gold standard in Best Hiring Practices. APSCREEN also offers tenant screening and employee locate services. More information is available by calling toll-free (800) 277-2733 or register online at http://www.APSCREEN.com.

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