Understanding Drug Test Adulteration

Understanding Drug Test Adulteration

Adulterating a sample means adding something to make it of poorer quality. People adulterate drug test samples to get incorrect results. Understanding why and how people adulterate samples can improve prevention and detection.

Three Main Ways People Tamper With Samples

The main tampering methods are:

  • Substituting drug-free urine as their sample
  • Diluting the sample with fluids to hide drug traces
  • Adding compounds directly to the sample to impede testing

Diluents include large amounts of fluid. Adulterants directly alter test results. Bluing tablets can as serve an important purpose in the collection of urine samples. By turning the toilet water blue, the tablets prevent urine specimens from being diluted with water from the toilet tank.

Detecting Tampered Samples

Check these five signs of an adulterated sample:


Urine should be 32-38°C (90-100°F) up to four minutes after collection. Higher or lower suggests tampering.


Bleach, soap, alcohol etc have strong smells indicating adulteration attempts.


Bubbles suggest soap; residues indicate other solids were added.

Specific gravity

Normal urine ranges from 1.003-1.035. Higher/lower often means dilution.


Urine pH is typically 3-11. Outside this range suggests tampering.

Confirm With Validity Testing

Validity tests check for expected urine contents like creatinine, plus specific gravity and pH. An abnormal result confirms adulteration.

Acting Against Attempted Deception

Understanding tampering methods better equips organizations to detect dodgy samples. However, enabling test evasion would be unwise and unethical. Rather than detailing adulteration techniques, the goal should be upholding accuracy and honesty.

Photo by Akram Huseyn on Unsplash

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

You May Also Like: