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Drug testing has become a mandatory requirement for employment. With drug-related crimes now becoming rampant, employers want to make sure that their workers are free from illegal drugs. There are many types of testing available and one of them is the split specimen drug test.

In this article, we will discuss important information about this form of drug testing.

What Is Split Specimen Drug Test?

In a standard split specimen drug test, the urine sample is divided into two vials and sent to a SAMHSA-certified lab for urine testing. One of the vials is tested immediately while the second is stored. If an employee is tested positive on the first vial, they can request for the testing of the second vial. The person being tested can then request for the second vial to be tested in an independent laboratory.

When it comes to the second vial, you need to remember that it contains the same sample that is in the first vial. This will not be subjected to an immunoassay screening but instead will be sent to the GC/MS and will be tested for the similar drug tested positive in the first vial. If the testing lab fails to confirm the findings of the first lab, then your samples will be deemed negative.

Although employers are not required to pay for the confirmatory test, the failure of the second lab to confirm the first test will usually merit a reimbursement of the fees for the second testing. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the result of the first test will be overturned.

What is the Purpose of Split Specimen Drug Test?

The main purpose of the split specimen drug test is to protect the donor against possible mix-up in the lab or in case of a faulty equipment. The Medical Review Officer can ask the donor for any prescription they are taking prior to taking urine samples. The MRO can inform the person taking the drug test regarding the option of having the second vial tested at a different lab.

Unfortunately, there are currently no regulations in place clarifying who pays for the second test. However, regulations are clear that the donor can request for a test even if they do not have cash to pay for it. This means that the employer could still end up paying for the fees. The result of the second test is the final result.

Meanwhile, for many companies, the purpose of a split specimen drug test is to eliminate doubts due to sample adulteration or drug test cheating. The second confirmatory test has the ability to prove whether the first test is true or not.

Points To Remember About The Second Test

Upon getting a positive result on the samples in the first vial, an employee will be informed about the option to have the second vial subjected to a urine test. The sample will be tested at a different but certified laboratory.

Here are some points you need to bear in mind about requesting a second test:
    • Once the MRO informs you of the option of a second test, you are given 72 hours to make a written or verbal request.
    • If you were unable to submit a request within the 72-hour time limit, you can still send information on grounds that the request was delayed as a result of injury, illness, or other unforeseen circumstances like the absence of an MRO Officer that caused the delay in the filing of the request.
    • The MRO has the option to make the request for a second test if the submitted information after the 72-hour period proves that the request would have been submitted in time.
    • When the request for the second test has been submitted, the original testing site must then be informed and asked to send the second vial to another site for urine testing.

Most Common Drug Test Cheating Methods That Don’t Work

Finding ways to cheat on a drug test is a natural reaction by employees, now that drug testing is a major requirement in many transactions like applying for a job, getting a license, entering various institutions, and others. While many people hope to get away, the government has become vigilant with such illegal practices. In addition, split specimen drug tests and other similar drug testing methods that offer confirmatory tests can already pinpoint any attempts of drug test cheating.

Here are some common ways people attempt to cheat on drug tests:

Exercise To Be Clean

One common method is by exercising and providing “clean” samples. While this is not the best method, some people swear that it is effective. The truth is that exercising weeks or months prior to the test schedule can help burn the chemicals in the system, but this is not a guaranteed procedure.

Some people simply urinate several times a day before doing so for the sample. Some people also do not give the first stream of their urine. These schemes are not absolutely effective.

Dilute The Sample

In dilution, the person being tested will saturate their bodies with fluids to hopefully dilute the metabolites. Others add coloring to their sample by orally taking 50 to 100 mg of Vitamin B2 and/or B12 before the test. Unfortunately for drug test cheaters, confirmatory tests can already detect whether the sample has been diluted or tampered with.

Some people recommend taking red meat three days before the test to boost creatinine levels to normal. Others take non-caffeinated diuretics to dilute the sample. Again, these are based on hearsays that don’t have a medical or scientific basis.

Use Chemical Screens

Some companies claim to have developed chemicals that can be orally taken to hide traces of drugs in the urine. For example, taking four aspirins prior to the test is said to remove traces of drugs in the urine. Much like the other “tips” above, these strategies are not backed by any real scientific truths.

Dope With Other Chemicals

Doping involves the spiking of urine samples with other chemicals. A popular chemical used for doping is unscented bleach crystals grounded to a fine powder. However, these foreign compounds are easily traced in samples through confirmatory testing or split specimen drug tests.

Substitute Samples With Another

In substitution, the person being tested gives clean samples that are not theirs. Some manage to get away by refusing to be watched while urinating. Others use a hidden container, which can be tricky especially in a supervised test. Some use rubber containers that they can strap or tape. Meanwhile, some companies have even created powdered urine that can be bought or self-made.

Sample substitution is an extremely difficult strategy to pull off, especially since the sample collection is done in the presence and scrutiny of the drug testing staff. Besides, fake urine is easily detectable because it doesn’t feel warm to the touch like a freshly obtained urine sample.


There are many companies that will do anything just to make money even if it means cheating urine samples. But not everyone will resort to this form of cheating. There are still those who believe that the best way to pass a drug test is to stay clean.