We concluded Part 2 of this article with the general notion that anyone claiming or even trying to be "Sober" should not be using any potentially addictive or mind and/or mood altering medication. In this third installment about prescription medications in a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Appeal, we'll look at how the presence of these medications is detected beyond a person simply admitting such use. In particular, we'll review the urine test that is a required part of any Michigan Driver's License Appeal. While the urine test is used to provide the state with an assay of the substances in a person's system, including prescription medications, there is more to it than just testing "clean" or not.
In the last installment, I noted that, as a Michigan Driver's License Restoration Attorney, I had better be the first person to learn that a person is on, or has (detectably) used the potentially addictive or mind and/or mood altering medications that is the focus of our inquiry. Here's where that "strategy" to which I alluded in Part 1 of this article comes into play, and I must take a "diplomatic pass" and trust the reader will understand that, outside of the confines of my Office, I can say little more about what happens once I learn about such use. Suffice it to say here that while the strategy varies from case to case, the key element of any such strategy is planning. Each plan, in turn, depends on the unique facts of any particular case.
I am often asked about the logistics of the urine test; some people think it is collected separately from the Substance Abuse Evaluation. It is not, at least for my Clients. The Clinic to which I refer my Clients for the required Substance Abuse Evaluation is located a few blocks from my Office, and collects their urine for the lab test. This is particularly helpful for the roughly one-half of my Clients who come from out-of-state. For those who live either out of state, or across the state, we'll arrange for their first appointment with me (which takes about 3 hours) to be scheduled the same day as their Substance Abuse Evaluation. This way, they can go right from my Office to their Evaluation.
The urine test serves several purposes beyond just showing that a person has or has not been puffing on a joint in the last few weeks.
To begin, the urine test can't just be any old urine test. The $10 do-it-yourself home test, even administered by the Substance Abuse Evaluator, will not cut it. In order to pass muster in a Michigan License Reinstatement (Restoration) Appeal, a urine test must be a "10-panel" test with at least 2 "integrity variables." Integrity variables are very much what they sound like; things that are examined in the test to make sure he sample is unadulterated or diluted.
Dilution is a big problem. If a person drinks too much water, their test will come back "diluted." Dilution is usually determined because the level of creatinine in a person's urine is lower than what's considered clinically normal. Creatinine is present in everyone's urine, and there is a guideline range that dictates what is normal, and what is not. When the level of creatinine falls below a certain amount, the urine sample is considered dilute, and therefore considered invalid. Thus, the real implication of a diluted sample is "invalid," as in adulterated, or hiding something. This can completely derail an otherwise winning License Appeal.