POLITICS
03/27/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

House Reps Want To Ban Products That Beat Drug Tests

Hoping to ride on the tattered coattails of Alex Rodriguez, three members of Congress plan to introduce legislation to ban products intended to help a person beat a drug test. Republican Reps. Jean Schmidt (Ohio), Lee Terry (Nebraska) and Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.) make the argument, in a letter to colleagues, that if Rodriguez couldn't get away with using drugs, then neither should ordinary Americans.

"The Drug Testing Integrity Act, H.R. 858, would make it unlawful to knowingly manufacture market, sell, ship or otherwise provide an individual with any product designed for the purpose of assisting in defeating a drug test," reads the letter.

"What if A-Rod and others had been able to cheat that test and prevent detection of their drug use forever? Baseball history would be different, but that isn't a life threatening situation. On the other hand, the fact that a school bus driver can cheat a drug test IS potentially life threatening and constitutes a problem that should compete with A-Rod for the headlines."

Outlawing a product "intended" to get around drug tests may just result in a growth industry for products with euphemistic names, making enforcement difficult. (How about PClear?)

But more importantly, says Tony Ryan, a Denver police officer for 36 years now with the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, drug tests are not time-specific enough to determine if the person was high while at work.

"Of course we want to prevent people from being under the influence of drugs while operating heavy machinery or while other people's lives are at risk. But these widely-used drug tests usually can't determine if drugs were used on the job or over the weekend, and thus have nothing at all to do with preventing workplace drug use," he says. "We should be using job performance as the sole criteria for employment eligibility and get move beyond all this 'drug war' madness already. This seems more like a law for the sake of lawmaking rather than public safety."

The full letter, as forwarded to the Huffington Post by an office that opposes the bill, is below:

A-Rod Can't Get Away With It, Why Should A School Bus Driver Be Able To?

Dear Colleague,

The big news recently is that baseball superstar Alex Rodriquez [sic], "A-Rod," admitted to using illegal performance enhancing drugs. A drug test which A-Rod took in 2003 was positive, but the results remained hidden from public view until now. It was reported that over 100 other players also tested positive. What if A-Rod and others had been able to cheat that test and prevent detection of their drug use forever? Baseball history would be different, but that isn't a life threatening situation. On the other hand, the fact that a school bus driver can cheat a drug test IS potentially life threatening and constitutes a problem that should compete with A-Rod for the headlines.

Any cursory search of the Internet and even in some health food stores will yield innumerable "companies" promoting and marketing different methods and products to beat a drug test. With clear instructions explaining how to hide specific drugs from detection in urine, hair, saliva and blood, any professional athlete or private citizen can easily defeat a variety of drug tests.

The NBA, MLB, the NHL, and the NCAA each have drug testing policies for their athletes in place. Federal law requires mandatory drug testing for certain professions, such as truck drivers, airline pilots and railroad engineers and over the years many private employers also now require drug testing of their employees. But there is no federal law that regulates the production and sale of drug test subversion products, allowing employees to easily purchase these products to cheat and pass their drug test. The time has come for that to change.

The Drug Testing Integrity Act, H.R. 858, would make it unlawful to knowingly manufacture market, sell, ship or otherwise provide an individual with any product designed for the purpose of assisting in defeating a drug test. This law, to be implemented and enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), would prevent the growing traffic in these deceptive and fraudulent drug test subversion products, and would subject violators to stiff civil penalties and fines.

By explicitly banning these subversive products from commerce and getting them off the market, we can restore integrity to drug testing. If you are interested in co-sponsoring the bipartisan Drug Testing Integrity Act, please contact Rachelle Wood with Congressman Engel at 5-2464, or Justin Louchheim with Congresswoman Schmidt at 5-3164, or Brad Schweer with Congressman Terry at 5-4155.

Sincerely,

Eliot Engel
Jean Schmidt
Lee Terry

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