Urine Trouble Down in Carolina

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 that they taste awful.

A new law was passed in North Carolina, effective Dec. 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 has 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. Anyway, studies suggest that random and pre-job drug testing policies are associated with lower levels of productivity, not higher (Working USA '98).

My business will survive without selling detox products. However, I worry about the many customers who came in, some monthly, in order to purchase these products. 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 down 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.

#story_page_ below_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.