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Drug Test-fixing Products Put to the Test

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RENO -- Is it a scam, or do certain products help drug users pass drug tests?

This week, we told you what's being sold in local stores -- and how it's being used. In this second part of our special report, we'll take a closer look at whether these products work as promised, and see lab results from drug tests.

One product worked, and one didn't.

"Joe Smith" says he smokes marijuana every day.

"Your entire body relaxes," he says.

He asked us to conceal his identity, but he agreed to try the Xtreme Detox Drink and the Quick Fix Synthetic urine to cheat drug tests. We bought the products for a total of 100 dollars from Earth Angels, a shop in downtown Reno that sells a variety of products that promise to help people pass their drug tests.

For the Xtreme Detox drink, Joe chewed a pill, then chugged the 32-ounce drink. Fifteen minutes later, he took another pill, then drank a full bottle of water. The product promises to work in 30 minutes, but we gave it three hours.

For the synthetic urine -- it spent ten seconds in the microwave. Then Joe kept it under his clothes to maintain the right temperature.

We then had Joe undergo the standard drug test at a local lab -- it's the same screening that many employers use.

The lab agreed to a blind test of two samples -- they didn't know which was from Joe and which was the synthetic urine. Both were within the normal temperature range.

The results came in two days later.

The Xtreme Detox drink failed. The lab tests detected THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

The synthetic urine, however, passed.

"You just gotta worry about getting it into the test facility at the right temperature," Joe says, "and it's a sure thing."

Substance abuse counselor Bob Sinnett says many drug labs are growing savvy to the products being used to beat the system.

"People will always have a need to beat tests because they don't want to give up drugs," he says. "The labs have people working full-time buying these products and testing them to see if they work, and if so, they find ways to identify them and eliminate them."

Even so, Sinnett calls it a "cops and robbers game." He says the best way for employers to protect themselves is to use a reputable lab that has well-trained collectors.

"The key issue is to make sure the lab is qualified by the Department of Health and Human Services," he says.

He also recommends random testing, which limits the amount of time a worker has to prepare for a drug test. It's not foolproof, but he says it is the best way to detect drug use in the workplace.

Sinnett says the statistics are on the side of the employers and drug labs. He says only a very small percentage of adulterated samples pass today's tests. But anecdotally, it's still a serious concern for many labs. We first contacted Concentra for this test, but they refused to participate. They were worried about what might happen if they didn't detect the drugs.

Copyright 2003 KOLO-TV. All rights reserved.