Cheating a drug test is now a crime in Iowa

Mar 9, 2021

Due to new legislature in Iowa, specifically House File 283, cheating on a drug or alcohol test could result in fines and imprisonment. This includes attempts to circumvent the testing process for both private and public sector testing procedures.

The new House File 283, passed by the Senate in February, creates new new criminal offences in Chapter 715A of the Iowa Code relating to urine-based drug tests administered by both public and private sector employers in Iowa.

House File 283 makes it illegal to “manufacture, market, sell, distribute, use, or possess synthetic urine or a urine additive for the purpose of defrauding a drug or alcohol test” in the state of Iowa. However, it creates an exception with regard to educational and law enforcement use of such products. The bill defines “urine additives” as “any substance that is designed to be added to human urine for the purpose of defrauding a drug or alcohol test.” In addition, “Synthetic urine” is defined as “any substance that is designed to simulate the composition, chemical properties, physical appearance, or physical properties of human urine for the purpose of defrauding a drug or alcohol test.”

Furthermore, the bill also creates two other crimes associated with attempted manipulation of employee-related drug testing. It prohibits the “knowing” use of the “urine of another person for the purpose of defrauding a drug or alcohol test”, and the “knowing” use of “the person’s own urine expelled or withdrawn prior to the collection of a urine sample from the person for a drug or alcohol test for the purpose of defrauding a drug or alcohol test”.

House File 283 also addresses privacy and confidentiality concerns related to employee and job applicant testing, noting: “this section shall not be construed to encourage, conflict with, or otherwise interfere with the preemption of any federal, state, or local laws or regulations related to drug and alcohol testing procedures and confidentiality.”

The offences outlined by House File 283 are punishable as a simple misdemeanour for the first offence, and a serious misdemeanour for the second and subsequent offences. Courts may also order substance abuse evaluation and treatment in addition to, or in lieu of, other statutory penalties.

Notably, House File 283 does not explicitly apply to testing procedures which do not involve urine testing, including breath, saliva and blood testing. However, this new legislature may be the first step to additional changes to Iowa’s drug and alcohol testing regime that may impact more types of drug and alcohol testing procedures.