State Senate Debating Bill Making It Illegal To Defraud Drug Tests
Posted July 15, 2002 12:38 p.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — American businesses spend more than $1 billion a year to test employees for drugs, but if you log onto the Internet, you can find a number of businesses willing to help you beat those tests. Now, the state Senate is debating a bill that would make it illegal for anyone to defraud a drug test. The legislation targets one man who moved his company to North Carolina after he was convicted in South Carolina.
Kenneth Curtis helps people beat drug tests in the name of privacy. For years, the former pipe fitter has sold his own urine over the Internet.
Along with his own drug-free bodily fluids, Curtis sells a specially designed kit. For $69, the kit includes an intravenous bag and tubes, plus warmers to ensure that the substitute urine reaches the right temperature for testers. But Curtis, a self-proclaimed patriot, says his business is not about profit, it is about protecting privacy.
"We don't need to go around looking into everybody's bladder functions in order to find out whether they're in danger," Curtis said.
State Attorney General Roy Cooper is now pushing legislation to make Curtis' company illegal and to prosecute anyone who uses the product.
"I don't want to get into whether it's appropriate or not to have a test. It's legal," Cooper said.
Curtis moved his business to Hendersonville, N.C., after he was convicted in South Carolina of violating the law.
"They chose to direct it at me because I'm standing up there in a confrontational manner I admit, because it's important for me to speak up and be recognized for what I'm saying," Curtis said.
Curtis contends that drug tests cross the line. Besides illegal drugs, a urine sample can reveal very private information, such as whether a person is pregnant, HIV-positive or taking prescription antidepressants.
"Insurance companies, marketing companies, drug companies want that information so they cannot only discriminate against you in the workplace, but they can also market products to you," Curtis said.
The North Carolina Trucking Association, on the other hand, believes safety far outweighs privacy. Association spokesman Charlie Diehl points out the federal government requires truckers take drug tests. He strongly supports the bill that would ban Curtis' company and many others like it on the Internet.
"The fraudulent deception of drug screens can create dangerous situations," he said. "He should have a concern, I believe, for the negative impact that he's having on highway safety and workplace safety, at least potentially."
Curtis argues the only way to truly know if workers are a safety risk is to give them some sort of field sobriety test daily. Until that happens, he will continue selling his product and speaking out about privacy rights.
"He's not the issue. He may be trying to make himself the issue, but he's not the issue. Public safety is the issue," Cooper said.
Curtis claims he does not advocate drug use, but he admits his customers may buy his product to cover their own illegal actions. He compares himself to a gun dealer by saying he should not be held responsible for someone else using his product to break the law.
So far, Curtis claims he has sold himself more than 100,000 times. Because he is on probation in South Carolina, Curtis recently suspended his urine sales. He continues to sell kits to help beat drug tests. Right now, Curtis claims he is negotiating book and movie deals.