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It may become a crime in Iowa to use fake urine in workplace drug tests

DES MOINES — The Iowa House and Senate have approved a bill to make it a crime to use fake urine for workplace drug and alcohol tests.

Representative Brian Lohse, a Republican from Bondurant, said it’s become “a pervasive problem.”

“As a small business owner myself, I can personally attest to this as it has become such a problem in our own business that we simply ended our pre-employment drug testing program,” Lohse said. “It was basically useless.”

Under the bill, an Iowan found to have used fake urine for a drug test would be guilty of a simple misdemeanor on the first offense and a judge could require substance abuse screening and treatment, at the offender’s expense.

Synthetic urine is being sold under brand names like UPass, Clean Stream and Quick Fix. Democrats in the legislature argued it would be better to outlaw the sale of these products. Senator Liz Mathis, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, says it’s being sold online and at truck stops.

“We need to go after the source of the problem on synthetic urine,” Mathis said.

Federal data indicates more than half of American businesses randomly test employees or require prospective employees to undergo drug screening. Businesses typically test for amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, opiates and PCP. The Iowa Motor Truck Association, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry and groups representing general contractors lobbied for the bill.

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