Drug-Free Urine at $69 a Pee 

Drug-Free Urine at $69 a Pee 
Posted by FoM on September 03, 2001 at 07:54:01 PT
By  Julia Scheeres 
Source: Wired Magazine
Kenneth Curtis makes good money pissing his days away. Curtis sells his urine over the Internet to people who are skittish about using their own for workplace drug tests. Privacy Protection Services guarantees that his pee will pass even the strictest urinalysis exams. For $69 plus shipping costs, customers get 5.5 ounces of urine in a small, self-heating pouch that can be strapped onto the test-taker's body for easy concealment. 
And in an era where employees routinely pee into paper cups, Curtis says he has struck liquid gold. Over the past six years, he has sold over 100,000 of his "urine test substitution kits" and spawned many online competitors. The former pipefitter from South Carolina started his business after being forced to take a drug test at each new construction site he was sent to, a practice he found "humiliating and degrading." In the beginning, he donated his urine to nervous buddies as a form of protest. "But pretty soon people were calling me up in the middle of the night," said Curtis, 42. "I found it was a viable business venture." By chugging fruit juice, tea and coffee, Curtis says he produces enough urine to make 50 kits a day; he keeps another 500 gallons of his liquid waste stored in industrial freezers. "I don't waste a drop of my assets," he said. But peeing for a living isn't easy, he insisted. Each sample must be analyzed at a private laboratory to ensure it's clear of substances that could trigger a false-positive result, then sealed and packaged. He also labors in a hostile work environment; his product was outlawed in his home state after it pissed off a local lawmaker. In 1999, South Carolina changed its laws to make it illegal for a person to "sell, give away, distribute or market urine ... with intent to defraud a drug or alcohol screening test" or to adulterate a urine sample in any other way to foil a drug test. The maximum penalty for a first-time offender is a $5,000 fine and three years in prison. "This is real important from a safety perspective," said Republican State Sen. David Thomas, who sponsored the bill. "Business owners think everything is safe when, in fact, they aren't making their products in a drug-free environment." Curtis was arrested in April after he sold urine to an undercover cop at a South Carolina gas station and a SWAT team raided his home, finding 20 gallons of urine in milk jugs and sealed containers. He was charged with two counts of violating the 1999 law and will face a hefty fine and prison sentence if convicted. Curtis has fought the law in court, and while his attempts to reverse the legislation have failed, the South Carolina Supreme Court did rule that a portion of the legal code is unconstitutional because it presumes the guilt of people who sell urine along with information on cheating drug tests. South Carolina isn't the only state that has laws against hoodwinking urinalysis tests; a handful of others, including Nebraska, have similar regulations. To avoid problems, urine sellers insist their business is about privacy, not narcotics. "It's nobody's business what you do on your own time, as long as you perform your job," said Stephanie Bell, a co-founder of Mississippi-based Bell's company got started after a failed drug test. Her fiancÚ erroneously failed a drug test at a construction gig and was escorted off the site by security guards. A second analysis of the sample showed it was clean; but Bell, her fiancÚ and another couple forged ahead with the business. Today, they sell an average of 500 urine kits -- which are similar to Curtis' in look and price -- a month, she said. Some of her clients buy urine in order to hide health conditions -- such as diabetes or pregnancy -- in order to get insurance or jobs. "No employers want to hire a woman who's going to be taking four months off for maternity leave," she said. One of her customers is a diabetic smoker who would get kicked off a kidney donation list if nicotine was found in his urine, she added. Privacy advocates such as the American Civil Liberties Union argue that workplace drug screening is an unproven method for stopping substance abuse and that it treads on a fundamental right: the right to be left alone. "We are opposed to drug testing unless there's some job-related need for it, such as for police officers who are supposed to enforce laws that criminalize drug possession," said Donna Lieberman, the Interim Executive Director of the NYCLU. "We oppose testing of private-sector employees because it's a violation of privacy." But businesses are panicked by government estimates that drug and alcohol addiction costs the U.S. economy hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Worksite screening has jumped 277 percent since 1987, despite evidence suggesting that 30 percent of urinalysis exams give false positive results, an ACLU report states. But while requests for workers and job applicants to pee on demand have increased, so have attempts to foil the system. Many websites sell "herbal cleansers," synthetic urine or additives designed to foil screening, but most are gimmicks, said Steve Ferris, vice president of Advanced Workplace Strategies Incorporated, a California-based company that administers drug and alcohol tests. "People do all kinds of things to avoid getting tested," Ferris said. Some borrow urine from friends and microwave it in a convenience store on their way to work. Others dilute their samples with water or Gatorade, or spike the sample with commercial products that claim to destroy unwanted toxins. In one case, a job applicant had another person's pee injected directly into his bladder. Urinalysis labs have managed to stay ahead of the game by developing sophisticated tests to catch cheats, he said. "If adulterants are detected, it's categorized as a 'refusal to test,' which is the same as a positive according to federal guidelines," he said. "Meaning that you run the risk losing your job if you tamper with the test." But devices such as Curtis' strap-on piss pouch that meet strict sample temperature requirements (between 90 and 100 degrees) may successfully trump the system, he acknowledged. "Unless you force people to strip, they can't be detected," he said. But one thing is clear: Get caught with a urine pouch, and you're in deep trouble. Source: Wired Magazine (CA)Author: Julia Scheeres Published: September 3, 2001Copyright: 2001 Wired Digital Inc.Website: newsfeedback wired.comPrivacy Protection To Drug Testing In Workplace Drug Testing Archives
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Comment #2 posted by Diqwhole on September 03, 2001 at 15:06:23 PT
This confuses me...
I admit I got a chuckle out of this story, but why do they need a f**king SWAT team to apprehend him? Yeah, he's breaking a (stupid) law, but is it really necessary for a group of guys with machine guns to get one man with just a bunch of piss?
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Comment #1 posted by mr.greengenes on September 03, 2001 at 08:55:38 PT
I have found my new carreer
Laughing my a   off! I wonder how much they charge for a specimen.  I can just see the SWAT goons throwing in concunsion grenades, then busting down the doors, knocking this guy on the ground, putting a gun to his head and screaming at the top of their lungs " alright a  hole, where's the sh*t!?!! er I mean piss. Make it easy on yourself, don't make me beat it out of you!!! Let's get the pee sniffing dogs in here and find that stash."Headline in the paper next day:Nervous SWAT team member attacked in crotch by urine sniffing dog. Happy couple to wed in November.
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