The drug testing industry has always resided on somewhat shaky ground. People you would think should be drug tested on a regular basis, like airline pilots, are rarely tested for anything other than alcohol, while office workers are often subjected to either regularly scheduled or random five-panel drug tests. The rise of the drug testing industry has raised a lot of questions about who actually benefits from making sure the person who puts salt on your French fries hasn’t smoked a joint in the days before you sauntered in to place your order. In a lot of cases, it would be logical to conclude the only ones seeing any benefit are the companies conducting the tests. And that notion was driven home with authority again this week when the story of Elizabeth Moreno surfaced.
It was 2015 when the aforementioned Elizabeth Moreno, a Texas college student at the time, underwent back surgery to correct a congenital abnormality in her spine. Thankfully for Moreno, the surgery was a success. In the aftermath, she was prescribed a short course of the well-known opioid painkiller hydrocodone to help ease her through the recovery period. Sometime later she was told she would need to take a urine test to ensure she had successfully transitioned off the drug.
At the time she didn’t think much of it. She had long since stopped taking the hydrocodone and had nothing to hide. So she submitted to the drug test and went back to her normal life. It wasn’t until almost a year later that the bill arrived for that test and when it did it Moreno and her parents were floored. The testing lab was demanding the princely sum of $17,850 for a single urine test.
The case has received national attention with many patient advocates, health professionals, and legal experts questioning both the cost of the test and whether it ever should have been given in the first place. Virtually everyone except the testing lab itself (surprise!) viewed the case as a textbook example of the rot at the core of the drug testing industry. Scores of labs nationwide are getting fat off drug tests that are hard to justify and yet no one seems to know how to assert control over the situation.
One former federal prosecutor called the $17,850 charge in the Moreno case “incredibly out of the norm” while others seemed to imply that it was an isolated incident and all boiled down to the actions of one lab that had a history of overcharging. Indeed, the lab in question, Sunset Labs, has earned an “F” rating on the Better Business Bureau of Houston website with many people claiming they have been subjected to similarly outrageous charges.
It seems, at least on the surface, that there may be something to the notion that this was all a matter of a single rogue lab trying to take advantage of its position in the medical food chain. But is that really the case? Or is Sunset Labs just an extreme example of an entire industry that’s out of control?
Is it just the tip of a corrupt iceberg that is raking in huge profits for conducting drug tests that are at best hard to justify and in many cases, wholly unwarranted?
Elizabeth Moreno’s insurance company estimated a urine test to determine if her system was clear of opioids should have cost about $100. An attorney for Sunset, however, claimed that the $17,850 charge was entirely in line with what other out-of-network labs in the Houston area charged for similar tests.
It was also revealed that Sunset had not simply tested to see if Moreno had stopped taking hydrocodone. Instead, they tested her urine for everything from psychiatric benzodiazepine to amphetamines and buprenorphine as well as a laundry list of other illicit substances, thereby charging hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars for each additional test. The lab also tacked on extra charges to verify that her urine sample was genuine. The fact that they did so when their mandate was simply to verify that Moreno had transitioned off hydrocodone speaks to the heart of the underlying problem with drug testing: it’s a potential cash cow many labs simply can’t resist.
The drug testing industry has profited mightily from legitimate concerns about the opioid crisis in America. The CDC estimates that more than 100 people die each day in America from opioids and the problem is only getting worse. As such, many companies that otherwise have no legitimate reason to drug test their employees have fallen for the marketing and enlisted the services of drug testing companies to ensure the people stocking their shelves or flipping their burgers aren’t stoners, drunks or secret opioid addicts.
The result of the nationwide drug testing binge is that urine testing has grown from little more than a laboratory sideshow into an $8.5 billion a year industry with no signs of slowing down. And with the national willingness to spend whatever it takes to ensure a clean and sober workforce at an all-time high, it's no wonder that many labs can't resist the urge to pad the bill.
Back in Texas Elizabeth Moreno’s surgeon has stated that he sometimes orders drug tests just to ensure he doesn’t draw the ire of the Texas medical licensing board for prescribing opioids. But that organization claims they don't require doctors to order drug tests for short-term prescriptions and that if Moreno's surgeon did so, he acted of his own accord. They also stated that even if the surgeon had concerns that perhaps his patient was at risk of becoming addicted there were and are plenty of tests available that screen for specific drugs and typically cost less than $200.
Elizabeth Moreno’s father eventually settled with Sunset Labs for $5,000 but says he wishes now that he had put up a more robust fight.
Today the team at Aberdeen Proving Ground are busy patenting their discovery. Once that has happened they’ll turn their full attention back to finding out exactly what is behind the more efficient production of hydrogen using urine and how the whole process can be scaled up and made available to those who need it.As we move forward, it's obvious that this discovery will have wide-ranging implications outside the military sphere as well. Automobile companies, for instance, have long been searching for a practical way to produce hydrogen powered cars but until now the process has simply been too cumbersome and impractical. There is a very real possibility this new process could change all that and be the first and most important step yet taken in finally replacing the worlds’ 1 billion fossil fuel powered vehicles.
Research into the practical applications of this invention is still in its infancy but few discoveries in recent years have generated so much buzz among those looking for sustainable solutions for the world’s vexing energy problems. It’s conceivable that, because of this invention, shortly we’ll be driving hydrogen-powered cars and that, on a far-flung battlefield somewhere, a soldier in desperate need of power will generate electricity using found aluminum cans and pee.
There is a ton of confusing, often misleading information out there today regarding urea and uric acid. Most of it goes something like this: "Urea and uric acid are two names for the same thing" or "Our synthetic urine product contains uric acid, the only thing you'll need to ensure you get a positive result on your next test." That all sounds very well and good, but the fact is that neither statement is true. Many labs these days don't test for uric acid and the ones that do only use it as a kind of fallback position because urea can be notoriously fickle and dissipate so quickly that it's hard to detect. Which leads to the first point; that urea and uric acid are the same things. They're not. And below we’ll discuss the difference.
A better analogy would be that they are like carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Both of those things result from the burning of fossil fuels and can be found in car exhaust, yet they are fundamentally different compounds. Both urea and uric acid result from metabolic processes and can be found in urine. They are not chemically the same and are not regarded as being interchangeable by the people who conduct drug tests.
Before we go any further, let's take a more or less scientific look at these two compounds, what they are and how they are both similar and very different. ("More or less" because we're going to eliminate most of the scientific jargon.)check What is Urea? - Urea is the result of a metabolic process. A metabolic process is that which converts food into forms of energy the body can use to power itself. In this case, urea is the result of the metabolizing of proteins and amino acids by the liver. More to the point it is a waste product that moves from the liver into the kidneys before being expelled by the body in urine. The way of sweat also discharges a small percentage of urea. Urea is a toxic substance, which is why the body expels it. But it is also vital because it carries with it excess nitrogen that would otherwise accumulate in the blood. Why is that important? Because excessive nitrogen levels lead to a condition called uremia. Uremia symptoms include confusion, fatigue, general physical weakness, dry mouth, edema, tachycardia, passing out and more. check Urea has been on the chemist’s radar since 1773 when it was first identified. Some 50 years after its discovery it also became the first organic compound that scientists were able to synthesize. And they have been doing so ever since. Today, laboratories around the country produce some 1 million pounds of synthetic urea every year for use in fertilizers and other products, including synthetic urine. check A typical person expels roughly 30 grams of urea every day. Most of it in their pee and the rest of it when they sweat until recently, testing facilities did not check for urea. But as the means of evading the testing machines have grown more sophisticated those labs have changed course and started looking for this most important of indicators that they are dealing with pee and not apple juice. check What is Uric Acid? - Like urea uric acid is a waste product of metabolic processes. In this case, it is produced by the kidneys as the end process of the metabolization of particular nucleotides. Because it originates in the kidneys the only mechanism for expelling uric acid is through urination. That's in contrast to urea, some of which is excreted via sweat. Humans are not the only animals that generate uric acid. Birds and reptiles also produce this metabolic waste product. In those animals however uric acid is expelled in both solid and liquid forms, mostly solid. While in humans uric acid is always expelled during urination.
Let’s see if we can clarify this issue for you a bit more thoroughly by taking things point by point.check Uric acid and urea both result from metabolic processes - Urea is a byproduct of the liver metabolizing amino acids and proteins. Uric acid, on the other hand, is produced during the final stages of the metabolic process of specific nucleotides by the kidneys. The two have fundamentally different chemical structures. check Urea and uric acid are expelled differently - Most of the urea your body produces is expelled in urine. However, a small proportion is discharged in sweat as well. Uric acid on the other hand, because the kidneys produce it, is only expelled by way of urine. check Uric acid is not a reliable indicator - The fact that a sample contains uric acid is not a reliable indicator that it is pee and not some fake. check Urea is a good indicator that pee came from a person and not a lab. As a result, many companies have begun looking for urea or both urea and uric acid, rather than merely checking for uric acid. check Beware uric acid only - If you are in need of a synthetic urine product beware of those that advertise they contain uric acid and/or state that uric acid is the same as urea. It is not. Chances are if a drug testing company is looking for one of these metabolites it is urea they are looking for, not uric acid.
It's essential that anyone in search of a synthetic urine product make sure that the product contains both uric acid and urea. Any synthetic urine sample that does not contain urea runs the genuine risk of being deemed non-human, which means a failed drug test and botched career.
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Passing a drug test can be stressful for some, because no matter if your drug use is medical or recreational, it can be tough to time things out correctly. A common solution that one might think of is to use their friends or family member’s piss; after all, this is an efficient way to go about it. But what if the only option available is a friend or family member of the opposite sex?A lot of us don’t really know anything about the science behind these procedures. If you’re not familiar with the testing process, how do you know if using a female’s piss (if you are a male) will work? The short answer is: you don’t. There are a bunch of different factors that can affect each individual situation, including: What kind of drugs you might be taking. Personal health factors. The type of panel you use to administer the drug test.
Alcohol is another thing that you can see in your results. Ensuring clean results when performing a substance procedure on yourself will depend on the length of time that your substance of choice remains in your system and how often you may use that substance.
If you are looking to detox, this is a great, effective option. However, the biggest downside is that a complete drug detox will take too long if you are looking for immediate results.Quit Using the Drug
This is the most obvious answer – if you don’t want a drug to show up in your urine then don’t put it in your body to begin with. While this is the most straightforward solution, it is also the least fun. This can be hard to do in a timely manner. It is also not super doable for some people who take substances medicinally without them being well documented.Synthetic Urine
For many people, artificial piss is the way to go. Synthetic urine is cleanly generated in a lab where it is produced with proper toxin-free piss characteristics. It is the only option that will work instantly for you every time. Quality fake pee should contain uric acid, urea, creatine, nitrates, a normal pH level, and more.
Image the look on your roommate’s face after you tell them the liquid all over their bed or belongings is real piss. Pretty funny, right? Chances are, you will feel a lot better about following through a prank like this with the security of fake pee. Fake pee is quite healthy and won’t contaminate their bed with the gross toxins actual piss contains.Fetishuse
This product is often sold at sex shops because of its surprising popularity within the fetish community. With the look and scent of regular pee, fake pee creates a more sanitary option for urine fetishes in the bedroom (or any other room, for that matter).Animal repellent
If you need to repel a pesky animal, this might be the way to do it. Animals instinctively have an aversion to territorial the scent, so this is a solid option.Urine therapy
While this is not super common, some cultures do indeed prescribe pee for its curative powers. Lab generated bodily fluid is not approved for internal use (of course), but if this is what you are looking for it is a great healthy alternative to regular pee.
The amount of time the detox process will take depends on how often you use the substance. For instance, if you are a daily cannabis smoker, it can take several weeks. However, if you only smoke on occasion, it can take as little as three days to clear out your system. Most recreational users tend to fall somewhere in the middle – and of course, the amount of time it will take also depends on the substance you are using. If you are going to try to detox, make sure you are giving your body plenty of time to be free of the substance to pass your drug screening before it happens!Getting Clean: This is the most obvious solution to pass a substance screening. However, many users are unwilling to completely discontinue use of their recreational drugs. Getting clean and clearing out your system can take a very long time depending on how frequent of a user you are. If you’re going to try and get clean to pass your substance screening naturally, then make sure that you are giving yourself enough time to do so. Synthetic Urine: Finally, many users put their trust in synthetic urine products, such as Quick Fix. This helps to ensure they pass the drug test with flying colors without the need to discontinue use of the substance. Quick Fix also eliminates the need to wait for the body to detox or get clean. Most people only have a few days to prepare for a substance screening, making synthetic urine their only option. Synthetic urine products like Quick Fix are the only option that works every time!
If you want to be sure that you’ll walk away from your drug screening with a passing result, then synthetic urine options like Quick Fix are your best choice. If you’re on a short time frame, they may be your only choice! Save yourself the headache of trying to force your body to detox in too short a period of time, and do what it takes to make sure you pass your upcoming drug test with flying colors!