Tricky dicks are taking the piss

The sale of prosthetic penises and fake urine to pass mine site drug screening is on the rise, according to Queensland Police.

Gold Coast police Superintendent Jim Keogh said police could not prosecute for the sale of such items as the sale and purchase of fake urine was not illegal.

“In reality, all they're doing is making a chemical compound in liquid form and selling it, they're not indicating what the purpose of the purchase is, at the time of selling it it's certainly not a dangerous drug," Keogh told the ABC.

"So we're quite restricted in that area, albeit sitting behind the scenes here is sinister unlawful intent to test clean going onto a work site where you could compromise the safety of your fellow workmates.”

Keogh also suggested the possibility that fake urine could be “spiked”.

"If you're using a bought substance, whether it's synthetic urine or urine from a friend, you're putting a lot of faith in what you're actually buying, you better hope that nobody has spiked it and you're going to come out worse for wear."

Fake penis kits range in price from $60 to $140, complete with fake urine and pads for heating to body temperature.

A range of other products used for cheating on drug tests are readily available, including drinkable masking agents.

Australian Workplace Drug Testing Services spokesperson Tony Graham said fake urine had become harder to detect in urine analysis due to the use of synthetic creatinine.

“In the good old days we could do a test on it and determine there was no creatinine in it,” he said.

"Creatinine is a by-product of muscle tissue break-down, it's a protein that passes out into the urine and that was a unique mark to tell us we had real urine.

"These days they've got synthetic creatinine as well that they put into the synthetic urine so it's become much harder to actually pick up on the fact it's synthetic."

Drug testing on minesites is often carried out in a private toilet cubicle, precluding the need for the use of a fake penis, however Graham said by using a medical practitioner to observe the procedure could lower the chances of cheating attempts.

Graham also said education was a useful tool in the fight against test cheats.

"Spend less on the actual testing, spend more on educating the people this is not a good way to go, this is the sort of testing we can do that will pick it up, if you get picked up cheating you will almost certainly lose your $150,000 a year job."

Graham said it was very difficult to measure the true degree of cheating going on in the industry, with many reports coming anecdotally.

“We do a lot of forensic testing for the courts, so we have people coming in who say they are clean now, but tell us what they used to do,” he said.

“But self-reported information is not quite a reliable as we’d like, because sometimes the person is big-noting themselves.”

Despite the sensationalism of wearable rubber penises, Graham said that drinkable masking agents presented a greater risk to drug testing results due to current standards.

“Australian standards require complete privacy, so people go in [to a toilet cubicle] and they close the door, so that one’s no longer necessary,” he said.

“With observed testing with females, it’s more likely to be a condom full of clean urine vaginally secreted- they’re the sorts of stunts that are played during observed testing.

“Non-observed testing they’re more likely to carry something in, which is why we ask people to empty their pockets and pat them down, but people can still find ways to bring things in.”

Pre-employment drug screenings sometimes utilise laboratory analysis of urine to analyse for adulterants, which is a more rigorous test thanks to the use of a gas chromatographic mass spectrometer, a machine worth approximately $250,000.

Graham said drinkable masking agents can sometimes beat simple onsite urine tests, but do not stand up to laboratory analysis.

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