Arkansas bans selling of clean urine to beat drug testing

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 08 February 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:300
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. Nebraska

    The state of Arkansas has passed a bill that bans the sale of urine. Representative Jay Martin lobbied for and won passage of a bill to make it illegal to sell or use “clean urine” in order to pass a drug or alcohol test.

    People found guilty of trafficking in urine are subject to three months' imprisonment and a fine of up to $500 (£300; €470).

    Urine tests are widely used throughout the United States in pre-employment physical examinations. People who fail urine tests may be denied employment. Also, many employees are subjected to spot urine tests. Occasionally patients may seek clean urine in order to falsify their medical condition or hide illicit drug use from their practitioners. Amateur and professional athletes are also subjected to periodic urine tests for amphetamines and steroids.

    A burgeoning business in uncontaminated urine samples has arisen to provide urine for people who are at risk of failing urine drug tests. Some of the companies sell pretested human urine, while others sell a urine substitute that tests as clean urine.

    Other companies offer adulterants such as glutaraldehyde and pyridium, which can mask, denature, or render invalid urine analyses. Many of the companies selling urine do business over the internet. Urine samples typically range in price from $30 to $80.

    One of the urine sample websites ( boasts: “Pass a urine drug test regardless of chemical intake.” The site offers a “deluxe mini-kit” for $49.95. It features a metre long tube that can be discreetly worn on the body (presumably for dispensing urine during drug testing), two vacuum packed, pretested clean urine samples, and heating pads to warm the urine to room temperature. Consumers can order sex specific urine.

    The Arkansas bill, when initially presented, was met with derision but was ultimately passed by a vote of 99 to 1. The dissenting vote was from a lawmaker who contended that a ban on clean urine sales amounted to an invasion of privacy.

    A similar bill was passed in South Carolina, but enforcement has been difficult.

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