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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Drug testing the kids

Drug-test kit for use on kids draws flak
A $225 one-use kit requires parents to cut between 90 and 120 strands of hair – about the thickness of a pencil – at scalp level from their children. The sample must be between 4 centimetres and 4.5cm long so there is enough to determine the frequency of drug use in the past 90 days. It is packaged at home by parents and sent to a lab, where it is tested for seven illegal drugs: marijuana, cocaine, opiates such as codeine and morphine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, ecstasy and PCP (Phencyclidine). A drug history report of the child is available to parents via a secure website within two days of the lab receiving the sample. Health Ministry statistics from 2007 show that one in five 13 to 17-year-olds had used cannabis in the previous 12 months. Children's Commissioner John Angus said it was right that parents were concerned about possible drug use by their children. "However, if they are going to help them with drug issues, then they need to do that in the context of having an honest relationship with them. I don't think this would be helped by surreptitiously doing a drug test."

I just don’t think that drug testing your kid is the best way to keep your kid off drugs. If your relationship with your teenager has broken down so badly to the point of random drug testing in the house, I’m not sure what ‘solution’ this $225 test kit is supposed to provide. I mean, okay, Johnnies smoking weed and he’s lied to you about it, what are you going to do, throw him out onto the street, is that really what you want to do?

I suspect these testing kits are sold to frightened parents who see a solution in it that doesn’t actually exist.


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