• 07-28-2007: KSDK 5 NBC


     

    Drug Testing Kit Offered Online for Parents
     
    Monday, July 28, 2008

    By Leisa Zigman, I-Team Reporter

    KSDK — Some teens face all sorts of peer pressure to experiment with marijuana, pills and cocaine.

    “From the time I was little, parents have told us to just say no to drugs. The problem is no one tells us what to say after that. I’m convinced it’s worse when kids say no. That is when friends pile on, and the pressure gets worse,” said Mason Duchatschek, founder of TestMyTeen.com.

    TestMyTeen is an internet site, based in Fenton, Missouri, that offers parents home drug testing kits. It’s a tool that also helps teens deal with peer pressure.

    “We found the words ‘my parents test me,’ stops pushy peers in their tracks. It’s a socially acceptable excuse that allows kids to remove themselves from an uncomfortable position without feeling like a chump in front of their friends,” Duchatschek said.

    Several products are offered on the site. Hair Confirm tests hair follicles and can detect drug use in a teen over the past 90 days. It costs about $60 dollars, which includes the lab fee. Hair Confirm tests for marijuana, amphetamines, methamphetamines, as well as opiates like codeine, morphine and heroin. It also tests for ecstasy, cocaine, phencyclidine and prescription drugs, too.

    NewsChannel 5 asked Duchatschek to provide a urine sample to show us how his $20 urinalysis kit works. Results appeared within minutes.

    “It tests for the most common drugs kids get off the street as well as the medicine cabinets,” he said.

    In the sample, you can see lines forming across the kit. This means no drugs are present. If horizontal lines are absent, the test is positive.

    “If the kids know you have (drug testing kits), and you may test them when you get home, they may be less inclined to participate when all their friends are doing it. Because, you know, good kids do this, too. All the kids experiment,” said Ilene Joseph, a mother of three.

    Joseph added she has friends who use breathalyzers on their teens to make sure they haven’t been drinking.

    “The bigger issue is a trust issue, that your child thinks you don’t trust them,” she said. “At the same time, this could be a way to prove you are trustworthy and deserve the privilege of staying out a little later.”

    To reach the parents of an ‘A’ student before he or she becomes a ‘D’ student, TestMyTeen started to offer free test kits to school districts and police departments. In the past 18 months, Duchatschek donated nearly $750,000 worth of free test kits to schools and police departments across the nation.

    But not one school district St. Louis metro region has accepted the free offer, Duchatschek said. He did not say which districts rejected his offer.

    “In some cases we heard superintendents tell us, ‘Thanks, but we don’t have drugs in our schools. It’s just not an issue for us,” Duchatschek said.

    Critics said the tests could provide false positives and permanently damage the parent-child bond.

    Dr. Jeffrey Rothweiler, a clinical psychologist at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, said the drug tests were a potentially useful resource, but encouraged parents to use caution.

    “Do a reality check every once in a while. ‘I’m going to let you go to the party, but don’t be surprised if I have a few questions for you somewhere down the line, or don’t be surprised if I want to touch base with your friends. And don’t be surprised if I ask you to test,'” Rothweiler suggested.

    Joseph was unsure if she’ll ever use one of the kits, but said she’s glad it’s an option.

    “Any tool a parent has access too is a good thing,” Joseph said.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics issued the following statement on drug testing kits in March, 2007:

    Recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions have resulted in recommendations for adolescent drug testing in schools, and products made available for parents to test their children at home.

    A addendum to the 1996 AAP Policy Statement, “Testing for Drugs of Abuse in Children and Adolescents,” opposes involuntary drug testing of adolescents at school or at home and believes more research is needed on both the safety and effectiveness before testing programs are implemented.

    Laboratory testing for drugs is a scientifically complex procedure, which may be prone to both false-positive and false-negative tests. Testing should only be carried out by professionals with special training in the procedure; most pediatricians have not been adequately prepared to do this. The majority of physicians surveyed in the 2006 Journal of Adolescent Health (83 percent) disagreed with drug testing in public schools, which can be perceived by adolescents as an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

    The AAP encourages parents who are concerned their child may be using drugs or alcohol to consult their child’s pediatrician rather than rely on school or home-based drug testing products. The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. To learn more about TestMyTeen, visit www.testmyteen.com.To learn more about hair testing, visit http://www.hairconfirm.com/

    If you have a tip for the I-Team, email I-team@ksdk.com or lzigman@ksdk.com, or leave a confidential message on our tip line at 314-444-5104.

    KSDK

    For more drug slang language, click here.

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