Drug tests and handling cocaine

I work with people who are coming out of prison and who are sentenced to my program as an alternative to prison. One of the things we do is assess them for substance abuse issues. A couple of times, I’ve had clients who got positive urine tests for cocaine, but claimed they never used cocaine. They admitted, however, to dealing cocaine and claimed that they must have absorbed it through their skin or even had it on their fingers and contaminated their sample that way. (Insert joke about Harvard and Yale.)

Is this plausible? Can a person absorb enough cocaine through handling it to show up on a piss test? Could just accidentally pissing on your fingers get enough into the cup to show up? (I’m assuming they weren’t deliberately trying to introduce cocaine into the sample and that their hands were at least reasonably clean.)

I’m NOT interested in hearing about how to beat a drug test or anything like that, i just want to know if these guys are necessarily lying or just probably lying.

The snowboarder from Canada at thelast olympics (not these ones) tested positive for marijuana and claimed that he never indulged in pot in the 6 months before the game; but he may have been at a party where the air was pretty thick with it. (Insert snowboarder comment here). Of course, I’m not sure why anyone would think pot is a performance-enhancing drug in any respect…

Some tests claim to be able to find evidence of use for several weeks or months back. If so, I would imagine the small amount absorbed from inhaling the dust particles or licking you fingers from time to time might be detectable.

If it goes in through the skin, that would be interesting too…

I recall a study in the 80’s when cocaine use was the “cool” thing, which found a significant percent of the $100 bills in Florida had traces of cocaine residue, since snorting through a tightly rolled $100 was also the fashion.

Why does it matter? You’ve got a hot drug test result. Whether they snorted coke or sold it, that’s probably enough to violate the terms of their probation.

That was several Olympics ago, in Nagano. The snowboarder in question was Ross Rebagliati. In the end he was allowed to keep his medal because marijuana was not on the list of proscribed drugs.

I dunno, that sounds kinda suspect. Would second-hand pot smoke show up in a urine test? If the “air was thick with it” I guess I could probably see it, but does amount that you might inhale from someone else make any difference? How about if he had inhaled only a tiny whiff?

Second hand marijuana use is not enough to get the D-THC byproduct in your urine to a high enough level to test positive – it’s so close to impossible that it’s not worth discussing.
As for pissing on your hands which have cocaine, which would show positive, also entirely impossible. They don’t test for cocaine in a piss test, they test for the biproduct that cocaine gives off when it’s used. Much the same way they wouldn’t test a tailpipe for Gasoline, they’d test it for carbon monixide (example) which would indicate that gasoline is being used.

I believe the standard test for Marijuana is 15ng/l, some people don’t even test positive at 15ng/l after smoking marijuana once, if that puts it in perspective (most people do test positive after 1 use).

As for “length of testable time,” that varies from person to person when it comes to marijuana, as marijuana’s testable biproduct is stored in fat. The more a person uses, the more fat a person has, the longer period of time it’s testable.

However, Cocaine is not fat-soliable, so it doesn’t get absorbed (which is why there’s a 3-5 day “use-to-testing window,” I believe). I can answer more questions regarding drug tests if I’ve missed any (I was not a well behaved teenager).

Just the one about whther cocaine can be absorbed through the skin in quantitues enough to show up in drug test.

That’s probably what got them to me in the first place. I’m a step up from the probation officer. If they get another hot while they’re here, we respond to it. Actually, dealing would be a far more serious offense here than just using. A single relapse would mean a step up in required treatment. Dealing would pretty much mean straight to prison.

Part of my job is to assess the clients for what kind of treatment they need when they first arrive. I generally assume that anyone dealing was using, but if I thought they were telling the truth, it would potentially mean less addiction treatment would be required.

Plus I’m just curious. I’m addicted to getting The Straight Dope, you know. :smiley:

This, I can’t state for certain, however it seems very unlikely.

One common method of using cocaine is a “gummy,” where they dip their finger into cocaine and rub it around on their gums. The reason they do it this way is because the membrane of their gums is very thin, and it’s possible to absorb cocaine through the thinner membrane of the gums, and not their skin.

It’s also not likely that they had enough cocaine on their hands to give themselves an “unintentional gummy” from dealing. Now, it is possible they were dealing, and just did a gummy to clean their fingers, assuming it wouldn’t be a big deal, and that it wasn’t “using.”

Generally, people who get caught doing drugs aren’t the most intelligent crop of folks (plenty of smart people do drugs, they just don’t get caught)… so that’s the most likely thing I can think of.

I had a friend that happened to. Know for a fact he wasn’t doing it, but was handling it quite often. He failed a UA and was regressed back to prison. Upon his release a second time, he began using rubber gloves while handling the drug and never had a problem. So, I would have to say yes, it can indeed be absorbed into the skin through handling large amounts.

Know for a fact???

Isn’t skin absorption of drugs more likely in things like LSD than in drugs like cocaine or marijuana?