11-25-2008: NBC-KXAN: Austin
Parents can check for drug use in kids
Tuesday, Nov 25, 2008 – 10:56 PMBy Chris WillisEvery parents’ nightmare: their kids
AUSTIN (KXAN) – In Texas, 53 percent of seventh to 12th graders admit to using alcohol. 28 percent admit to experimenting with drugs before their 13th birthday. Laurie DeLong is the director of the Phoenix House in Austin, a drug treatment facility. She said the problem is bad. “You see parents that are at the very end of what they can do.”
DeLong said prescription drug use, like Vicodin, Xanax and Valium is also on the rise. “It’s accessible, it’s legal, it’s prescribed,” said DeLong. “So, when kids get their hands on it, they feel it is safer to use.” DeLong said the problem of teen drug use in Texas is so big, there are not enough resources to handle the problem.
Now, there is a new product on the market promising help for parents. It is called Hairconfirm . It is a hair follicle, at-home drug testing kit that promises 99.9 percent accuracy. It tests for prescription drugs and other illicit dugs. It is billed as cheat-proof. Shampoos, hair dyes, bleach and other external factors cannot affect the test’s outcome. So, the question is, if you thought your kids were on drugs, would you use the hairconfirm test without your child knowing it? Experts say, be careful.
Doctor Michael Bishop is the co-founder of the Austin Family Institute . He said parents must not use the test in a secretive way. Bishop recommends open communication with your kids at an early age, so if and when it comes time to do an at-home drug test, your kids do not feel like you have tricked them “Asking them, exactly what’s going on, then you can also bring up and say, ‘for me to feel better, I want to recommend that we have you drug tested,'” said Bishop.
Bishop has practiced family therapy in Austin for 20 years. He specializes in counseling children ranging in children from elementary age to high school. He said a back and forth dialogue with your kids will set up the situation of drug testing. If guidelines are established early on, then an at-home drug test will not come as a surprise to your child and will not make them feel betrayed.
“If you present an idea and say ‘I want to have you drug tested’ and a kid says ‘I’m not on drugs,'” said Bishop. “‘Then prove it to me, have this test and it’ll all go away.'” Bishop agrees knowledge is power for parents when they suspect their kids are using drugs. He said he believes at-home tetst, like the Hariconfirm follicle test, can be a positive tool for parents and kids, if use correctly. DeLong agrees. “If a parent feels like there’s something going on, then they need to take action,” said DeLong.
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11-25-2008: NBC-KXAN: Austin
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