Pubdate: Wed, 22 Jan 2003
Source: Charlotte Creative Loafing (NC)
Copyright: 2003 Creative Loafing Charlotte, Inc.
Author: Debra Mccorkle
Note: Debra McCorkle is a shopowner living in the mountains of North Carolina.
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


Shopowner Bemoans Loss Of Rights

For almost a decade, my stores sold an assortment of cleansing teas, 
detoxification drinks and urine additives. Customers sought to clean out 
their systems for four to six hours and I did not ask them why. They could 
buy similar products from some health food stores, pharmacies and even 
convenience stores. The products had names as vague as Detoxify, Black 
Magic and Ready-Clean. My guess is that the ingredients include some 
creatine and a lot of powdered fruit pectin. Everyone says they taste 
awful. A new law was passed in North Carolina, effective December 1, 2002 
making it a first offense misdemeanor and a second offense felony to sell 
these products. No one informed me of this until Clear Choice, a brand I 
haven't carried in years, sent me a copy of the law and stated that they 
would no longer ship product to North Carolina.

The official words state that "It is unlawful. . .to adulterate a urine or 
other bodily fluid sample with the intent to defraud a drug or alcohol 
screening test. . .to possess adulterants that are intended to be used to 
adulterate a sample ... sell adulterants with the intent that they be used 
to adulterate a sample."

Needless to say, my inventory was swept into a box and put in the storage room.

Although I never stated such a purpose for these products, I admit that all 
of us business folks have the sneaking suspicion that they might be used to 
foul up drug testing. However, it's been a decade of don't ask, don't tell 
for me. I consider all drug screens for school and work to be a violation 
of one's civil rights, and feel that the public has a constitutional right 
to interfere with any search without reasonable cause.

My business will survive without selling detox products. However, I worry 
about the many customers who came in, some monthly, in order to purchase 
them. Some will resort to internet sales although many express reluctance 
to have such items shipped through the mail to their home addresses. Most 
will likely head to their nearest border town in neighboring South 
Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

I worry about the shrinking rights of Americans to do basically whatever 
the hell they want as long as no one is hurt in the process. Nothing 
written on the labels of detox products stated any illicit purpose. Even 
the product touted by Tommy Chong's stony smile, Urine Luck, had its 
alternative stated use: Add to your aquarium to commit euthanasia in the 
case of sick and dying fish.

Hey, why not? Doesn't a legal use usually create a legal intent for the 
item? However, few of us can risk a felony conviction in order to 
stubbornly cling to our freedom to sell fruit pectin, assorted additives 
and little vials of yellow-dyed fluid.

I know that I live in the Bible Belt and should understand that community 
standards are a wee bit more conservative than in, say, Northern 
California. Still, we have the same Constitution here as everywhere else in 
America. But until most drug testing is declared unconstitutional by the 
Supreme Court, we'll have to expect continued restrictions on related 
products and issues.

Debra McCorkle is a shopowner living in the mountains of North Carolina.
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