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ETG Testing in Johnson County

If a person gets put on diversion or probation for a DUI in Johnson County District Court, or several of the city courts in Johnson County, they will likely be required to submit to urine testing for all of the common “drugs of abuse”, like alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, opiates, and amphetamines, but also for an enzyme called ethyl glucurinide – commonly called EtG. EtG is an enzyme created by your liver when it metabolizes alcohol. Proponents of the EtG test claim that if EtG is present in your urine, that means that you drank alcohol. Since drinking alcohol while on probation or diversion for a DUI is prohibited, the test can be used as a basis to revoke a diversion or probation and put someone in jail. It is claimed that EtG will be present in the urine for about 3 days after drinking alcohol. The problem is that the EtG test is still new and in the experimental phase, and is not sufficiently reliable to serve as a sole basis for depriving citizens of their freedom. Studies have shown that contamination in the lab, hand sanitizer and certain household or industrial chemicals can produce EtG in the body.

Fox 4 Problem Solvers recently took on the EtG test in an interesting story. A follow up from Fox 4 reports that the powers that be in Johnson County allegedly have determined that, while they will still use the EtG test, that it should not be the sole reason to send someone to jail. Jay Norton is quoted in both pieces concerning EtG testing in DUI cases. It remains to be seen whether this policy will actually be followed. Thousands of people have already been jailed, sanctioned and otherwise punished as a result of these tests in the past few years and it is not likely that the government will give up on these tests very easily.

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