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Mar 15, 2016 5:54 PM

Landrigan: NH mom hopes tragedy will force change to ban synthetic urine, used to beat drug tests

CONCORD - "In 18 days, I will mark the first anniversary of many, of the morning I walked into my son’s room and found him dead from fentanyl.’’

A mom’s worst nightmare, Judy Tilton discovered 21-year-old son Seth had overdosed. Searching his bedroom, she found a bottle of synthetic urine.

She thinks Seth was preparing to use it to beat a drug test for his next job.

"He had just gotten done at Gunstock Ski Area, and my guess is he was going to be in the work force," Tilton recalled.

The legal product is sold either as an additive to clean your urine or a complete substitute. New Jersey and 10 other states have banned the sale. It’s broadly available for up to $30 at smoke shops, some convenience stores and on the web.

"I can’t think of any legitimate use of this product over than to fake a drug screen," said Melisa Staples, assistant director of the Safety Department’s forensics lab.

Banning possession as well as the sale is tricky.

"As far as the observation of the testing that is very difficult. You would almost have to have the person almost naked from the waist to the knees to see there is nothing strapped to their bodies," Staples continues.

An advocate for treatment says addicts will go to great lengths.

"I’ve owned recovery houses and monitored drug screens for years and still they find a way," said Cheryle Pacapelli, director of recovery supporters for New Futures.

Judy Tilton admits her bill would not prevent every purchase.

"Will there always be some people who may be able to acquire it in another state over the Internet and bring it here?" she is asked.

Tilton answered, "Of course, of course, people are going to do that, but it just makes it one step tougher."

But she said it will do enough to make a difference.

"Our state got rid of 'spice' a few years ago. We can do this too. We can give law enforcement one more tool in the tool box to getting a toe hold on this epidemic," she added.

The bill has already passed the State Senate and the House committee is expected to make a recommendation on the measure next month.

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