07-30-2009: Geelong Advertiser
07-30-2009 – Geelong Advertiser – Hair drug test available for worried Geelong parents
PARENTS worried their children may be using drugs will now be able to confirm or deny their worst suspicions by testing their children's hair.
The CEO of Californian-based company, Confirm Biosciences, announced yesterday the HairConfirm hair drug test kit was now available in Australia.
"HairConfirm is designed to help parents take a proactive role in preventing their children's illegal drug use," Zeynep Ilgaz said. "Talking with your child about drugs and taking preventive measures like hair drug testing can be a significant factor in preventing substance abuse."
By collecting a hair sample from their children and sending it off to the lab for analysis, parents can find out if their children are using drugs, the type of drugs and the frequency of use over the previous three months. The test overcomes the limitations of two or three-day saliva or urine screenings that enable users to escape detection by avoiding drug use for a short time.
The company said HairConfirm was cost effective since one test could take the place of up to 18 urine-sample tests for a 90-day profile, and was up to 10 times more sensitive that urine analysis. The test identifies the presence of marijuana, amphetamines, methamphetamines, ecstasy, cocaine, opiates and phencyclidine (known as PCP or angel dust). Hair growth is fed by the blood stream so molecules of these drugs remain in the hair shaft for up to 90 days after being ingested.
Confirm Biosciences said research in the US indicated parents were the number one deterrent to a teen's decision to use drugs. By providing them with the opportunity to random test their children, the company expected this to be a deterrent for young people abusing substances.
Geelong psychologist Chris Mackey said the drug-testing kit had the potential to lessen trust levels between parents and adolescents and could be damaging to their relationships.
"That's what the police do test for drugs," he said. "I think (testing) is a very extreme measure and carries a risk of damaging the trust between parent and child to a great degree.
"The parents would need to feel there were very many indications their child was at risk before they would consider this. "
If there were so concerned it would be worth involving a third party, perhaps a youth counselling service. If parents get locked into a policing role, a lot of trust has been lost."
Mr Mackey suggested if parents were concerned about their children using drugs the first step would be to build further trust by having discussions.
"If it came to an impasse, someone at arm's length would be best to administer the test. A child might want to win the parent's trust and offer some evidence to the parent and say, 'I will undergo testing'. This will give the adolescent the opportunity to prove to the parent their fears are ungrounded."
The test is available through www.testcountry.com.
07-30-2009: Geelong Advertiser
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