TRACKING THE BILL: The House passed the bill 61-8 on Friday, February 15th. It’s now off to the Senate.
[BACKGROUND ON THE BILL]
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Purchasing fake urine or using someone’s else’s urine to pass a drug test could soon be illegal in Utah.
“It’d be a misdemeanor,” Representative Steve Eliason told ABC4 News.
Eliason, who represents House District 45, is the sponsor of HB 16, or Fraudulent Drug Testing Amendments. The bill takes aim at those defrauding an alcohol or drug test.
If HB 16 passes the Legislative Session, it would “…make it a criminal offense to distribute, possess, or sell an adulterant or synthetic urine; make it a criminal offense to defraud an alcohol or drug test using an adulterant, bodily fluid of another person, or bodily fluid expelled or withdrawn before collection for the test,” according to the bill’s draft, which is posted on the Utah State Legislature’s website.
Rather than punish offenders with jail time, Eliason says people would just have to pay a fine if they violate the amendment. He told ABC4’s Brittany Johnson the bill is more of an attempt to help people struggling with a substance abuse disorder.
“We’re not so much interested in the penalty. We’re just trying to dissuade people from faking a drug test,” he explained.
“We don’t want to facilitate them staying in the depths of their addiction, which is what a product like this is intended to do,” Eliason said, while referring to a box of synthetic urine.
“We have drug tests for a reason. We don’t want people in certain occupations being under the influence. We don’t want this to be a device that can help them fake their way out of that and help them stay in the midst of their substance abuse disorder.”
“Would somebody want their child’s bus driver who has faked a drug test driving their child to school?” Eliason asked rhetorically.
“Do you have kids?” Johnson asked.
“Six,” Eliason replied.
“Does this hit home for you?”
“I think it hits home for everybody,” responded Eliason. “Even if you don’t have children, you could be innocently driving down the road and can be in an accident involving an impaired driver and they may be behind the wheel because they faked a drug test.”
Eliason’s bill has already passed an interim committee unanimously. It now heads to the legislative session where lawmakers will vote whether or not to pass it.
ABC4 News would like to give a special thanks to Khymm Flanders for sharing her story with addiction for this report. Flanders has been clean for 14 years and is committed to living a life of sobriety. She now works at the Odyssey House and helps people overcome addiction.