• 07-12-2009: News of the World UK


    07-12-2009-News of the World UK


    Snort 'n' curlie

    Parents test their kids' hair for drug use

    By Sophy Ridge, 12/07/2009

    PARENTS worried their kids are on drugs can now cut to the chase – by sending a lock of their HAIR for testing.

    The results, available on the internet in 24 to 48 hours, show if the child has taken marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy or heroin in the last 90 days.

    They also pinpoint if the youngster is a heavy or recreational drug-user.

    Fans of the Hairconfirm kit laud it as a weapon in the war against drugs. But critics warn it could destroy trust in families.


    The packs, on sale at 1,000 UK pharmacies, cost £56.99 – which includes the collection kit, prepaid return envelope, lab fee, report and counselling hotline.

    Parents simply snip off a bit of their child's hair, post it to drug firm Confirm BioSciences then sign up to a confidential website to view the results. Company boss Zeynep Ilgaz said: "It puts the control back in parents' hands.

    "Talking with your child about drugs and taking preventative measures like hair drug testing can be a huge factor in stopping them from using illegal substances." But Martin Barnes of the charity Drugscope, warned it could wreck parents' relationships with their kids by "destroying trust and ultimately doing more harm than good".

    The kit is already available in the US, and has proved a big hit with some parents. Mum Cinde Aguilar, 46, of Oregon, uses it on her two children every WEEK.

    She said: "I keep the box right on the table and let them know weekly testing will be done. There's zero tolerance in my house.

    "It's good that British mums and dads can finally get the facts in their hands without the lies and the doubts."

    Last year more than 11,000 under-16s were treated in the UK for cannabis, heroin and alcohol addictions.

    Are kits a good idea?

    YES, says Jane Butterworth, News of the World agony aunt

    HELPING empower parents in the fight against drugs can't be a bad thing.

    If a parent finds out their child has been smoking cannabis, it's probably best to just have a chat with them.

    But if they have been taking heroin, parents should take them to the doctor or to rehab.

    I don't think testing will erode trust in families. Parents wouldn't use this test unless they had an inkling their child was on drugs.

    And the tests will have a preventative effect too. Kids won't take drugs if they know they are going to get caught.

    NO, says Martin Barnes, Drugscope chief executive

    TESTING could create more problems than it solves – we don't recommend it.

    It is best to try and create a relationship of openness and trust, so a child can talk about any concerns they have about drugs, whether or not they are using them.

    Drug testing a child, particularly without their knowledge, risks a breakdown in communication at a time when they need support the most.

    It is crucial that young people who need help are supported to get in touch with treatment services, which can help address their drug use and any other issues. Drug testing does not provide solutions or support.

    Categories: HairConfirm In the News

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