Should parents be testing kids for drugs in the home?
An American company has announced that it will now make available in Australia kits that will let parents test their children for drug use.
The drug testing kits use samples of hair to test what drugs and how often kids could be using them.
The company, Confirm Biosciences, has circulated a statement claiming that the new kits will put “control back in parents’’ hands
“With the HairConfirm product, the at home package allows parents to cut a hair sample from their kids and find out within 24-48 hours whether or not their kids are drug-free . It can detect drug use as well as usage frequency for up to 90 days.
“It is also the first offering of its kind to provide a detailed report the amount of each chemical detected as well as results indicating the ranges typically found in recreational, daily/weekend and constant users,” the press release claims.
Parents send away a sample of their child’s hair and the testing itself takes place in the HairConfirm labs with an online report sent back to parents 48 hours later informing them what drugs their children may be on.
Whilst this conjures pretty humorous images of parents stalking their children with scissors in corridors or passed out on the couches to get a lock of hair, it also raises some pretty interesting questions about the extent to which families begin to allow technology monitor each others behavior.
You don’t need to have grown up in anywhere particularly tough in the last 30 years or so to have seen at least one person you know – if not several - have their lives ruined or ended by drugs.
Often this drug use begins in early teens and there is pretty good evidence to point to early use of any drugs can lead to serious problems - like being dead by 20.
So parents’ desire to know whether their child is using drugs is not some kind of overprotective form of “helicopter parenting.”
But the idea of children waiting for drug test results like so many Brisbane Broncos is worrying because it doesn’t take place within a football team or professional environment where testing of this kind could be justified; it takes place within a home.
The effect of such testing could well fracture an already brittle relationship between parents and their children. As CEO of the Australian Drug Foundation Geoff Munro told The Punch:
“This level of surveillance is to outrage the children who are being tested. So if the relationship is not good it is not going to be improved by this.”
Munro went on to point out that there a great deal of experimentation with drugs among teenagers that does not turn into chronic use but if proven by parent could cause more problems in the home.
“The other issue is that if the parents find that the children is using drugs what do they do then? Who do they contact?”
“We expect parents to be talking to their children if they suspect they have a drug problem”, he said.
So would you ever submit your children to a drug test? Would you ever let your parents test you for drugs?
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