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Dealing with urine tests on short notice


By Dale Gieringer, California NORML

While we  strongly oppose drug use on the job, we think no
one should  be forced  to urine  testing,  especially  for
marijuana.   Aside from  launching a legal challenge, your
best  defense  against  urine  testing  is  to  be  clean.
Unfortunately, this may be difficult since urine tests can
detect marijuana  3-10 days  after a  single use,  and 4-6
weeks or  more for heavy chronic users.  If you are in the
job market, it is prudent to expect to be tested and avoid
marijuana.   However, recognizing  that many  of you  face
drug testing  on short  notice,  we  offer  the  following
advice for  emergencies  with  our  best  wishes  (but  no

WASH YOURSELF OUT:  The general strategy for passing urine
tests is  to increase  your fluid intake and urine flow so
as to  dilute the  concentration of THC metabolyte in your
urine below  the threshold  of detection.   In the days or
hours preceding  the test, you should wash yourself out by
drinking plenty  of fluids.   Water  is fine - contrary to
popular rumor, drinking vinegar doesn't help.

You can boost your fluid output by taking diuretics, which
stimulate  urination.    The  most  potent  diuretics  are
prescription drugs,  widely used  for high blood pressure.
Weak diuretics  of dubious  efficacy are  found in certain
over-the-counter products,  such as  premenstral pills for
water retention.   Contrary to rumor, phenylpropanolamine,
the active  ingredient in  Dexatrim, is not a diuretic and
is likely  to make  you test  positive  for  amphetamines.
Other weak  diuretics  include  coffee,  cranberry  juice,
beer, and  other health  food products and herb tinctures.
While some people take diuretics for several days to flush
themselves, they  are probably  most useful  in the  hours
leading up  to the test when you want to produce plenty of
urine.   Beware that diuretics can be dangerous to certain
persons, such  as diabetics,  pregnant women,  and  people
suffering  from  kidney  dysfunctions,  and  can  lead  to
potassium deficiencies if taken over extended periods.

THE NIGHT  BEFORE the  test drink lots of liquid - as much
as you  can stand.  Be sure to empty your bladder the next
morning, since  urine that  accumulates overnight tends to
be "dirty."   Prepare  for the test by loading up again on
lots of fluid.  Boost this with a diuretic if possible.

If you're  taking the test on short notice without time to
wash  out   beforehand,  the  following  method  has  been
suggested by  a former  army drug  testing officer [Robert
Freeman, "How to Beat a Drug Test,"  *High Times*, August,
1988).   Take an  80-milligram dose  of  the  prescription
diuretic Lasix (furosemide);  take a hefty drink of water;
piss two  or three times; then take the test.  (Again, the
caution above  regarding the  dangers of diuretics to some
individuals applies.)

One slight hitch with urine dilution is that some labs are
suspicious of  the clear,  watery urine  it produces.  You
can fix this by taking 50 or 100 milligrams of vitamin B-2
(available in  B-Complex multivitamins)  which will  color
your urine  yellow for  a couple  of hours.   Contrary  to
popular rumor, vitamin C doesn't help.

If you  are lucky  and didn't  smoke too  much pot, a good
washout may get you past a test on a weekend notice.

DRUG SCREENS:  You may be able to improve your odds with a
couple of  new, experimental  techniques  that  have  been
alleged to temporarily masks traces of marijuana and other
commonly tested  drugs.   Please beware that these methods
have not  been tested  in controlled  scientific  studies,
only  in  informal  freelance  investigations,  and  while
encouraging news  has  been  reported,  such  stories  are
notoriously unreliable.

ZINC SULFATE:   It has been suggested that drug use can be
masked by  the mineral  supplement zinc sulfate.  The idea
is that  zinc attaches to drug molecules through a process
known  as   chelation,  screening   them  from  urine  and
diverting them  to feces.   Regular  smokers have reported
passing urine  tests within  48-72 hours  of last  smoking
after washing  themselves out  and  taking  zinc  sulfate.
Zinc sulfate  should be  taken while loading up on liquids
in the  hours before  the test.   Avoid  taking  too  many
solids.  Investigators have used dosages of 250 milligrams
of zinc  sulfate two times before the test, once the night
before and  a second  a couple  of hours  before the test.
BEWARE, doses above this level can cause a toxic reaction,
and chronic,  prolonged use  may cause copper deficiencies
and other  health problems.   Zinc sulfate is available in
tablets from  pharmacists or  in a more expensive solution
known as Zinc Challenge, sold in health food stores.

DRUG  FREE:    Customers  have  reported  success  with  a
mysterious product known as Test Free, which guarantees to
clear any  drug testing  or money back.  Regular pot users
have  reported  passing  within  hours  of  last  smoking,
although   the   manufacturer,   Zydot   Unlimited   Inc.,
recommends  abstaining   for  a  day  or  two  beforehand.
Unfortunately, Zydot  has been  highly secretive about the
contents of  its product,  other than  to say that the FDA
has approved  its ingredients  as "generally recognized as
safe."  Test Free requires at least an hour or two advance
preparation, including  drinking lots  of liquids,  and is
guaranteed to mask all drugs for at least four hours.

In addition,  other products  have begun  to appear on the
market,   including    Naturally   Klean    from   Houston
Enterprises, making  the same  claims as Test Free.  It is
possible that they contain the same ingredient, however we
have no way to tell at this time.

NORML has  no financial  interest in  either company.  For
more information  on these  products, simply  contact  the
suppliers at:   Zydot  Unlimited Inc., Box 9485, Tulsa, OK
74157  (918) 747-2400;  Houston Enterprises, PO Box 27776,
Tempe, AZ  85285 (602) 968-0773.

TAMPERING:   The preceding methods are all something of an
ordeal and  thus mainly  useful in  emergencies.   Another
tact used  by some  people is  to tamper  with the sample.
Ethical issues  aside,  tampering  can  be  highly  risky,
especially as  urination  is  being  observed.    For  the
adventurous, Abbie  Hoffman's book *Steal This Urine Test*
has full  instructions on  how to  rig yourself  up with a
plastic bag to substitute clean urine.

Another, less cumbersome trick to foil the test is spiking
the sample.   This  only works  on the standard EMIT test,
the most  commonly used  pre-employment screen, and is not
always successful.   It  does not work for the Radio-Imune
Assay (RIA)  used by  the  armed  services,  nor  the  Gas
Chromatograph/Mass  Spectrometer   (GC/MS).     Scientific
studies found  that certain  substances interfere with the
EMIT test to make it appear negative.  Six to ten drops of
bleach, detergent,  or blood,  or a  few bleach  or  Drano
crystals concealed  under the  fingernails are  said to do
the trick.   However,  anyone trying  this should practice
beforehand and  beware  that  personnel  may  inspect  for
smell, color, clarity, temperature and content.

Reprinted with  permission  of  California  NORML,  2215-R
Market #278, San Francisco, CA  94114 (415) 563-5858.

For more  information, contact  NORML, Suite 640, 2001 'S'
Street NW,  Washington, DC   20009  (202) 483-5500.  NORML
Membership is $25 Annually.

NORML is  a 501(c)3  nonprofit  educational  organization.
Contributions are  fully  tax  deductible.    Please  give

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