08-22-2009: MidDay India
08-22-2009- MidDay India
Foolproof method that allows parents to detect drug abuse in their child from hair samples taken on the sly, now in India.
Your child is a recovering drug addict, but you have the sneaky and a rather bilious feeling he/she has been snorting on the sly.
There's nothing you could do about it, except keep the faith, because your child would never allow you to take blood or urine samples for testing.
Now, there's a way out, albeit surreptitious, but if rehab experts are right, the new product could damage parent-child relationships.
US pharmaceutical company, Confirm Biosciences Inc, has made available a testing kit in India, just last week, that allows parents to check whether their son/daughter has been doing drugs on the sly.
The way to do this, says the promo for the testing kit, is to lop off a lock of hair, whilst the 'suspect' is asleep and mail it to a laboratory in the US. The traditional blood or urine test requires the child's consent.
Results of the test can reveal whether the person has consumed drugs in the last 90 days and the drug taken.
The major substances that can be tested using this method include cocaine, marijuana, codeine, morphine, 6-monacteyl morphine, crystal meth, ecstasy and Phencyclidine (Angel Dust).
Interestingly, the test can also reveal whether the person is a heavy abuser or a recreational user (uses it on occasion).
Nearly 200 kits are now available through a Kanyakumari-based online retailer.
Officials from the San Diego pharmaceutical company, Confirm Biosciences, said, "We analyse the molecules that are embedded in the hair shaft, which is how we can give out a quantitative result.
We had instances where kids shaved their head as they did not want to be tested. In that case, you can also use body hair," said an official in an email response to our query.
If it's a lock of hair, a minimum of 90 strands are required and the hair should be cut as close to the roots as possible. For body hair, quantity is difficult, but necessary.
However doctors at city drug rehabilitation facilities feel that nothing could be worse for fostering a secure environment for a recovering addict.
"Trusting the caregiver is essential for a drug addict and vice versa. We get so many requests from parents or wives for something they can slip into the addict's tea or meals that will help them give up their addiction.
Until the addict is self motivated, nothing can spur him to get better," said Dr Shubhangi Parkar, head of psychiatry at KEM hospital.
Tanushree Narayanan, 41, mother of two schoolgirls, one 13, one 15 said, "I would never consider it unless I was convinced that my daughter was taking drugs and lying to me about it.
I share a good relationship with my daughters they tell me everything so I don't think I'd ever need to do this."
Dr Snehal Mehta, psychiatrits and project manager for Kripa Foundation in Bandra, which rehabilitates addicts adds, "Surreptitious methods of getting an addict to quit, never help. Better communication is the only way out."
Added psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty, "Through dialogue and examination of relationships the child shares with parents, peers and teachers, addiction habits can be spotted and subsequently confirmed with blood and urine tests.
Parents should not become cops, it will only delay care and treatment and increase hostility from the patient."
The product called HairConfirm is priced at Rs 2,990 contains a collection foil and a hair specimen envelopes with a special ID number that helps parents track the progress of the investigation.
The sample is mailed to a laboratory in the United States (the self-addressed envelope is in the kit), and the results are mailed within seven working days.
08-22-2009: MidDay India
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