Friday, June 27, 2008

Fun with Drug Testing, Volume One

You know, I've been a Medical Review Officer for a little while now, and from time-to-time I begin to think that it is fairly routine. Then someone pulls a new one on me. This happened yesterday.

I wrote a couple of days ago about the cocaine-user personality type. They are usually the most violent in their protests, and therefore are usually the most fun. Marijuana users, however, are normally quite complacent and resigned, zen-like, to their fate. Now I don't claim to know which is the chicken and which is the egg in this scenario. Are laid-back, complacent people attracted, naturally, to cannabis? Are intense, aggressive personalities are already primed by nature for cocaine use? Or is it the substances themselves that impart these personality traits? As an aside, I find this fascinating. Occasionally, however, I run across someone who seems to have chosen (or been chosen by) the wrong drug.
The call is made. The donor answers. I explain the purpose of my call. I verify her identity. I note that she doesn't seem all that surprised to hear from me - never a good sign. I inform her that her drug test is positive for THC (marijuana). Then all Hell breaks loose.

She moans loudly, as if in anguish. It's almost more of a screech, really. She begins to protest.

"But I'm not a user! I don't use marijuana! That's impossible!"

"Ma'am, it is not my place or my desire to accuse you of anything. I am simply notifying you that, for whatever reason, there is marijuana residue in your urine."

"But I don't use marijuana!!!" Now it gets interesting.

She muffles the phone just enough to make it obvious that she is telling someone what is going on.
"The doctor says my drug test is positive for marijuana!"

"What? But you don't even use marijuana!"

The unexpected appearance of this new player in our little game catches me a little off guard, but is almost immediately funny to me. I instantly imagine a number of different comedic scenarios where two potheads hatch this little plan. I imagine their rehearsals - "No, you have to speak more clearly for him to hear...". Eventually, she admits to the old stand-by: second-hand exposure. Incidentally, this doesn't work, so I don't know why people still try it. This further validates the result, at least in my mind. As usual, I picture a room or a car, filled with cannabis smoke, and the innocent donor, just trying to have a good time, but passing on grass. Right.