Topic:
CRIME; DRUGS;
Location:
DRUGS- TESTING;

OLR Research Report


December 28, 2006

 

2007-R-0021

DRUG TEST BLOCKERS

By: Saul Spigel, Chief Analyst

You asked how blockers for drug tests using hair work and what legislation other states have enacted concerning test blockers.

SUMMARY

Substances that purport to block positive tests basically wash the hair to remove or dilute traces of drug and the metabolites they form. Dr. Robert Powers, director of the Department of Public Safety's Controlled Substance and Toxicology Laboratory, is generally skeptical about blockers' effectiveness. Shampoo, he says, is equally effective.

At least 13 states outlaw various forms of interference in drug testing, although several apply only to testing urine or other bodily fluids. These laws generally make it a crime to manufacture, sell, advertise, market, distribute, or possess blocking agents or devices with intent to defraud a test.

TEST BLOCKING AGENTS

Drug tests using hair isolate specific drugs and the metabolites they form when the drug is ingested or comes in contact with hair. If a sample tests positive, the lab typically performs a gas chromatography mass spectrometry test to confirm. Substances that purport to block positive tests basically wash the hair to remove or dilute drug and metabolite traces.

Dr. Robert Powers, director of the Department of Public Safety's Contolled Substance and Toxicology Laboratory, is generally skeptical about blockers' effectiveness. Powers previously ran the urine testing program for Psychomedics, a major national drug testing laboratory. He stated that shampooing hair is as effective as products that can be purchased over the Internet. Shampoo and blockers work best on thin, blond hair; people with dark, curly hair are most susceptible to drug tests using hair. Similarly, Powers said, drinking water or common diuretics like orange juice is as effective a way to skew drug urine tests as commercially available dilutants.

Hair testing, according to Powers, reveals if a subject has used drugs within the past three months, but it cannot spot whether the subject used drugs within the past few days. And, because hair absorbs drugs from the environment, testing it cannot tell investigators whether a subject smoked marijuana or was merely in the presence of someone who did. Powers believes drug tests using hair work best in pre-employment screening. He rarely uses them in forensic work.

OTHER STATES' DRUG TEST INTERFERENCE LAWS

At least 13 states outlaw various forms of interference in drug testing, although several limit their laws to testing urine or bodily fluids. Florida, Kentucky, and New Jersey outlaw the sale of any product designed to defraud or falsify a drug test. Louisiana and Texas make it illegal for an individual knowingly or intentionally to deliver or manufacture substances designed to falsify or alter drug test results. Maryland and New Jersey prohibit possession of an adulterant. Table 1 summarizes these states' laws. A 2005 Government Accountability Office report provides additional information. It is available at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/useftp.cgi?IPaddress=162.140.64.21&filename=d05653t.pdf&directory=/diskb/wais/data/gao.

Table 1: State Drug Test-Blocking Laws

State

Prohibited Acts

Applies To

Penalties

Cite

FL

Willfully defraud or attempt to defraud any lawfully administered urine test

Willfully manufacture, advertise, sell, or distribute any substance or device intended to defraud or attempt to defraud test

Urine only

1st degree misdemeanor;

Up to 1 yr. in prison or fine up to $1,000

Fl. Stat., 817.565

IL

Manufacture, sell, give away, distribute, or market synthetic or human substances or other products in state with intent to defraud drug or alcohol test

Attempt to foil a test by substituting or spiking a sample or advertising a device or sample to do this

Adulterate synthetic or human substance to defraud test

Manufacture, sell, or possess adulterants intended for use in defrauding test

Any sample

Class 4 felony;

$1,000 minimum fine

720 ILCS 5/17-28

KY

Knowingly manufacture, market, or distribute any product intended to defraud alcohol or drug test

Any sample

Class D felony; 1 to 5 years in prison and $1,000 to $10,000 fine

KSA 516.108

LA

Intentionally falsify or alter a drug test or attempting to do so by substituting urine or other samples

Use any device to obscure the presence of a substance

Knowingly & intentionally deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture a substance or device designed or intended solely to falsify or alter drug test results

Any sample

Up to 6 month in prison, up to $500 fine, or both

La RS 14:133.3

MD

With intent to defraud or alter a test outcome:

Alter a sample

Substitute a sample

Possess or use an adulterant

Sell or distribute an adulterant or false bodily fluid or offer to do so

Transport an adulterant or false sample into the state

Bodily fluids only

1st violation: up to 1 year in prison, fine up to $1,000, or both

subsequent violations: up to 3 years in prison, fine up $5,000, or both

Md Code, 10-111

NE

Provide, acquire, or use body fluids to alter test results

Bodily fluids only; employment tests only

Class 1 misdemeanor; up to 1 year in prison, fine up to $1,000, or both

NE R.Stat. 48-1908

NJ

Offer for sale or rent, or manufacture, sell, transfer, or give any instrument, tool, device, or substance designed or commonly used to defraud drug test

Knowingly defraud administration of an employment drug test for specified occupations

Knowingly defraud administration of a test for monitoring a person on bail, probation, parole or pretrial intervention

Knowingly defraud administration of an employment drug test for any other occupation

Knowingly possess any instrument, tool, device, or substance designed or commonly used to defraud drug test

Any sample

Crime of 3rd degree (1st 3 bullets); 3 to 5 years in prison, fine up $15,000

Crime of 4th degree (last 2 bullets); up to 18 months in prison, fine up to $10,000

NJ Rev. Stat., 2C:36-10

NC

Sell, give away, distribute, or market urine in the state or transport it into state with intent to defraud drug or alcohol test

Attempt to foil drug or alcohol test by substituting or spiking sample or advertising substitutions or spiking device

Adulterate urine or bodily fluid sample with intent to defraud test

Possess adulterants

Sell aldulterants

Urine and bodily fluids

1st offense: Class 1 misdemeanor;

Subsequent offense: Class 1 felony;

NC Gen. Stat., 14-401.20

OK

Sell, give away, distribute, or market human or synthetic urine in state or transport into state with intent to defraud or cause deceitful results in drug or alcohol test

Attempt to foil drug or alcohol test by substituting or spiking sample

Advertise any product designed to foil test

Adulterate urine or other bodily fluids with intent to defraud test

Possess adulterants intended to adulterate urine or other bodily fluid test

Sell or market an adulterant with intent that it be used to defraud test

Urine and bodily fluids

Misdemeanor; up to 1 year in prison, fine up to $1,000, or both

 

SC

Sell, give away, distribute, or market urine in state or transport it into state with intent to defraud drug or alcohol test

Attempt to foil drug or alcohol test by substituting or spiking sample or advertising to do so

Adulterate urine or other bodily fluids with intent to defraud test

Possess adulterants intended to adulterate urine or other bodily fluid test

Sell adulterant intended for use to defraud test

Urine and bodily fluids

1st offense: misdemeanor; up to 3 years in prison, fine up to $5,000, or both

Subsequent offense: felony; up to 5 years in prison, fine up to $10,000, or both

S.C. Code,16-13-470

TX

Knowingly or intentionally use or possess with intent to use a substance or device designed to falsify a drug test

Knowingly or intentionally deliver, possess with intent to deliver, or manufacture with intent to deliver a substance or device designed to falsify a drug test

Any sample

Use or possession is class B misdemeanor; up to 180 days in jail, fine up to $2,000, or both

Delivery or manufacture is class A misdemeanor; up to 1 year in jail, fine up to $4,000 or both

 

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