Maui News

Popularity of Synthetic Urine to Mask Drug Use Continues

July 3, 2019, 10:26 AM HST
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Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. is a medical testing laboratory that offers a comprehensive
range of routine and esoteric testing services and the most sophisticated forensic toxicology and
substance abuse testing services in the State of Hawaii. The company employs more than 700
people and has locations throughout Hawaiʻi, Saipan and Guam.

For the second quarter in a row, more synthetic urine is being submitted by people trying to cheat the workplace drug testing system, according to Dr. Steven Brimmer, director of Toxicology at Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc.

The company, which is a medical testing laboratory, conducts routine and esoteric testing services throughout Hawaiʻi, Saipan and Guam.  According to the company’s Quarterly Results of Workforce Drug Testing, the percentage of synthetic urine detected in Q2 2019 was up 7.4% and 38% versus Q1 2019 and Q2 2018 respectively.

According to the quarterly report, cocaine use was up from Q1 2019 approximately 25%, and up 5.3% from Q2 2018. “Although cocaine use was up 25% from Q2 2019, it doesn’t alarm me because the percentages of positives are quite small,” said Dr. Brimmer.

Marijuana positive rates were down 6.2% in Q2 2019 from Q1 2019, with little change (-0.4%) compared to Q2 2018.  Positive rates for amphetamine were down 11% from Q1 2019 to Q2 2019 and also showed a decrease of 1.3% from Q2 2018.

In Hawaiʻi, the percentage of positive results for opiates in workplace testing ranges between 0.15% and 0.25%.  Both quarters in 2019 have stayed within this range; the Q2 2019 rate is 0.23%. “Although the quarterly rate is up 28% from Q1 2019, the percentage of positives are quite low for opiate use,” Brimmer added.


DLS’ quarterly sample size typically includes between 7,000 to 10,000 drug tests.


Quarterly Results of Workforce Drug Testing to Date

2nd Q 18 3rd Q 18 4th Q 18 1st Q 19 2nd Q 19
Amphetamines 0.80% 0.63% 0.65% 0.89% 0.79%
Cocaine 0.38% 0.26% 0.40% 0.32% 0.40%
Opiates 0.23% 0.16% 0.17% 0.18% 0.23%
THC (Marijuana) 2.78% 2.72% 2.91% 2.98% 2.77%
Synthetic Urine 1.26% 0.87% 1.20% 1.62% 1.74%
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