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Pen Pals

Piss Testing Is a Failure

It seems to me like they always pick on the people who are already down when it comes to intrusive nonsense like mandatory drug testing, so the criminals got it first, but it’s becoming more apparent to me that this is a big hustle, and it's not just...
June 30, 2013, 2:16pm

Photo via Flickr user Micah Baldwin

I’m ashamed of the fact that I’ve stuck my dick in a piss cup hundreds of times. I get tested for every drug under the sun, including alcohol, and foolishly, I still take pride in passing 99 percent of them over the past eight years—though, the hits I took on the few occasions I failed were real bad. The saddest part of those failures is the tests are laughably easy to beat. They’re completely fuckin’ worthless if you ask me. They’re just another money-making racket.


Turns out drug testing—which doesn’t affect just convicts but also your average working schlub who has to pee in a cup to get an $8-an-hour stock-boy gig—is a multibillion industry and is increasingly affecting everyday folks’ lives. Around 84 percent of American employers test their employees, but oddly enough, you won’t catch any bankers, traders, or hedge-fund fuckers getting randomly tested, even though they’re the ones most likely to sniff rails and then do some dumb shit that ruins people’s lives. (You hear the one about the Washington Mutual manager who snorted meth daily?) The way I figure, it’s only a matter of time before drug testing becomes routine in schools too. Actually, the first piss test I actually failed was in prep school—I was kicked out as a result of smoking weed. Seems like a pretty harsh penalty, but that’s the rules, I guess. That was 1997, and I imagine this practice has become more frequent in the past 15 years.

It seems like they always pick on the people who are already down when it comes to intrusive nonsense like mandatory drug testing, so the criminals got it first. It’s becoming more apparent to me that this is a big fuckin’ hustle. These tests are all beatable. If you really want to catch someone, just give them a hair test every couple of months. You can’t beat that shit. But it’s part of the racket. They want to hit us with a test at least once a week so they can make that money from Medicaid.


It turns out one company even got busted recently for unnecessary drug testing, a scam that is obvious to even a fuckin’ duck. It’s a win-win for everyone except the taxpayer. These scumbag pharma companies manufacture these tests for next to nothing and make dumb money off them by charging Medicaid. By the way, none of us convicts actually pay to get tested for drugs. We’re all broke, so the government picks up the tab. I’m sure once the testing spreads to other sectors, somehow the taxpayers will get stuck with the bill under the presumption that testing the public is for the greater good.

I don’t care what anyone says, I know for a fact that almost everyone can beat a drug test after being clean for 72 hours. As long as you know you’re getting tested it should be breeze-easy to beat these things. Lots of us dummies like to press our luck, or we’re too addicted so we fuck up, but, in truth, it’s a very simple game. Plus there are so many ways to tamper with samples. They have synthetic urine now, that works like a charm. Once again, if they used the hair test, there would be basically no way to beat it.

Thanks to the use of piss tests, I’ve had a lot of fun, while on paper basically being a good boy—but if they had given me the hair test, I absolutely never would’ve used drugs, and maybe I’d be in a better situation now… I’m not going to fuck with something I can’t beat, and the fact that they give us enough wiggle room to game the system gives us some incentive to stay addicted. I can’t help wondering if this is a conscious effort on their part. Even parole and probation seem to be on board with letting us dabble and get “clean” for our tests. I mean, we know when we’re going to report so all we have to do is stop getting high three days prior to our test. You have to be really fuckin’ dumb to step up dirty. So maybe that’s part of their game, showing us some leniency. By letting those of us with enough discipline to occasionally indulge get away with our habit, they filter out the real fuckups who have no self-control.

I’m not sure any of this makes sense, but I imagine drug testing is becoming more and more mainstream under the guise of keeping everyone safe. Some states are now thinking about making their welfare recipients take drug tests, supposedly to make sure that tax dollars aren't going toward getting high, but that same money they think they’ll be saving will get wasted on overpriced, ineffective tests.

All of this ignores the psychological degradation one undergoes by taking a piss while being watched. I always feel like a dog when I’m having my dick stared at—even worse than that, because I used to try to be polite to my dogs and not watch when they made waste. Just about the only thing I can do is to talk shit to the guy who's stuck watching me pee, just so I'm not the one being uncomfortable in that spot.

Bert Burykill is the pseudonym of our prison correspondent, who has spent time in a number of prisons in New York State. He tweets here.

Previously: The Guys Who Really Should Be Locked Up