Reader E-Mail: Urine Test for Popular Traveler Sleep RX?

A urine test for a popular sleep RX?

A urine test for a popular sleep RX?

Reader E-Mail: Kentucky Law to Urine Test for Popular Sleep Medication among Travelers?

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I’ll have to admit, but I was a bit surprised to receive this email. If you’re an international traveler who uses RX sleep medication and resides in the State of Kentucky, it appears a big surprise might be in store for you.

One of our readers, who I’ll only identify as Jim from Covington, Kentucky, due to the nature of the question, sent in the following:

I travel internationally and use a sleep aid called Ambien on long international flights and to adjust to new time zones. I recently went to my doctor and was shocked when she required a urine test to obtain a re-fill. My doctor said it was a result of Kentucky House Bill 1 and even made me sign a contract.

I felt like a criminal. I saw that FlyersPulse is based in Kentucky from your about page. Do you know if a new Kentucky law actually requires this?

Do any other states require this?


The State of Kentucky indeed passed a law, commonly called the “Pill Mill Bill” but also known as House Bill 1 (HB1). After placing calls to state politicians, I was told the bill was meant to eliminate the problem with pain medication abuse in the state, including Eastern Kentucky where the term “Hillbilly Heroin” was coined.

Unfortunately, it appears House Bill 1 is somewhat ambiguous and the scope was increased to cover nearly all controlled substances. As a result, doctors in Kentucky are practicing defensive medicine.

There are a number of medications travelers take which are included in this bill besides Ambien. As the medication and others similar are popular among international travelers, I suspect there will be an outcry among many in the State of Kentucky.

The bill includes a provision for state mandated urine tests, amongst other things.

The Kentucky legislature is supposed to meet this January in an attempt to iron out the bill. The bill has produced a number of unexpected consequences, namely $600 urine tests which some insurance companies are not covering because they’re “medically unnecessary” — however, politicians and regulators in the State of Kentucky are now going after insurance companies to make sure they pay for these tests.

A question concerning the constitutionality of House Bill One even came up with one politician I spoke with off the record.

I’m not aware of any other states with such a requirement on the books, but here I our encourage readers to chime in.

As the Kentucky State Legislature is meeting this month, I would highly suggest you contact your State Legislators.

All the Best,

Steve Richardson
Managing Editor,

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