For California physicians with a probationary medical license for unprofessional conduct related to substance abuse, the Medical Board of California uniformly requires observed random biological fluid testing as a stipulation for good standing. Doctors in this program must check in every day to see if they are randomly tested. Being selected to test can occur on weekends and/or during holidays, which greatly limits your testing option.

So let’s say you were selected to drug test and you show up your collection site (typically occupational health clinics) to submit your urine. The collection site says “We don’t have an observer of your self. We can’t test you today. Go somewhere else.” Typically finding another site nearby takes another hour out of your day. Sometimes (like on weekends), there are no other sites you can try within a 2+ hour commute time.

What can the doctor who is a drug testing participant do in a situation where their drug collection site does not have an observer to proceed with the test? This happened to me for the third time already, but I figured out the optimal way to deal with this problem.

Here is a specific sequence of events with specific details that you can use if this were to happen to you:

  1. Selected to drug test, option #1
  2. Arrived at usual testing center. Receptionist says there isn’t a staff of my sex, so I cannot be observed. Politely recommended I go somewhere else.
  3. Reviewed my testing options on Sunday, no other site in a 10 mile radius.
  4. Called First Source Solution emergency line, spoke with “Kathy” at 215-396-5500 ext. 6126. Sympathetic, but keeps saying she has no power to help me. Directed me to call another number.
  5. That number was the First Source Solution main line but with a specific option. She had me dial 833-476-1173 and option #1 to leave a voicemail.
  6. Luckily, I received a call back within minutes. Spoke with “Lakesha.” Typical hard-stance demeanor, reciting legal terms of probationary license to me in a stone cold way. Don’t take this personally, almost everyone in this probation-industrial-complex treats you that way.
  7. I got Lakesha to agree to let me proceed with drug testing but unobserved.
  8. I proceed with an unobserved drug testing. In my COC form, there is a section called “Remarks.” Have your lab technician write out that an unobserved was done because there were no observes available today.
  9. I documented the entire event on paper, signed it, sent it to the medical board/FSSolutions just as a backup.

Long story short, if there are no observers available for you to drug test – just proceed with an unobserved test and write down in the COC form that no observers were present on that day. The alternative is to attempt to find another collection site, but that will be additional hours out of your day to deal with this on top of that hour you set aside for the initial drug test.