PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- The number of people caught cheating on employer-required drug tests rose by 40% from 2017 to 2018, according to figures compiled by Quest Diagnostics.

"This is common," said Tim Terrill, the owner of ARCPoint Labs of Scottsdale - North.

[WATCH: Drug test cheating on the rise in Arizona employment]

He says the most common forms of cheating include using someone else's urine and synthetic urine.

"It’s super easy to do. They give you a little bottle. It comes with with a temperature strip on it. You premix the little urine in the water, and it looks yellow. It has, supposedly, all the properties," said one woman who concealed her identity due to working in the medical field, the operating room specifically.

"I used this product twice prior," she said, indicating it worked both times. "But last month, something changed."

"The lab called and they said they had to inform me that the result was a substitute," she said, which means she lost her job.

"I have learned a terrible lesson," she said.

Roughly 60 % of employers in Arizona require their prospective and current employees to undergo drug testing. According to Quest Diagnostics, the number of people who failed those tests rose by 9% last year.

Between 8% and 9% of people in the general population are believed to have dealt with substance abuse. Among doctors and nurses, that number is thought to be as high as 15 %.

"I would say that about two-thirds of our complaints are related to substance abuse," said Janeen Dahn, the associate director of complaints, investigations and compliance for the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

Dahn says she's aware of the many methods and techniques people use to try to cheat on drug tests.

[WATCH: CBS 5 Investigates How some medical professionals beat drug tests]

"Our job is to protect the public. So we’re going to make sure that they’re not practicing under the influence or putting the public at risk," said Dahn.

However, a growing understanding of substance abuse has led to options for people who fail drug tests. Those options often include ways for substance abusers to keep their jobs, even in the medical field.

"It’s not the end of the road, but it’s the beginning to recovery if the nurse acknowledges that there’s a problem," said Kathleen Harrington, a registered nurse who is the administrator of the Alternative to Discipline Program for nurses in Arizona.

"Currently we have about 450 participants in our programs," said Harrington.

[RELATED VIDEO: ASU tests wastewater to gauge drug abuse]

The Arizona Medical Board, which oversees medical doctors, has a similar program for substance abusers.

"Currently, the Board ‘s Physician Health Program monitors 77 physicians/physician assistants located in-state and seven licensed physicians/physician assistants licensed in Arizona, but residing out of state," wrote Patricia McSorely, the executive director of the Arizona Medical Board.

Morgan Loew's hard-hitting investigations can be seen weekdays on CBS 5 News at 6:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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(4) comments


Passing a drug test is easy and doesn't require cheating IF 1) you have the time and 2) you're healthy. Cheating isn't smart and you always run the risk of getting caught, the labs are too sophisticated to fall for synthetic urine or someone elses urine. Dilution and diuretics are helpful (mentioned below) but they're not guaranteed. The best thing you can do is "amplifying" your body's naturally occurring detoxification functions; below are a few ways to do this:

Abstain from inhaling or ingesting weed– Obvious enough.

Eat a low carb and low sugar diet - A diet like this forces the body to metabolize fat (where THC metabolites are stored) instead of glucose.

Drink at the very least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day; this will help flush your system.

Drink green tea; green tea is a diuretic and will help speed up your metabolism.

Exercise and hit the sauna, steam-room or jacuzzi.

Lastly, get a 5 day detox kit from if you have the time to spare. Their not full proof (most things arent) but their certainly helpful and can take a couple days off the detox process.


This must be how fire captain Michael Palmatier managed to keep his job.

TRUMP supporter

That is because a lot of people aren't smart enough to stay off drugs.


What don't you have all figured out?

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