Drug Testing For Teens

November 17, 2008 8:53:30 AM PST
The fight against teen drug use is getting tougher, leaving parents trying to find even stronger weapons. According to the national drug policy, the rate of prescription drug abuse among teens is skyrocketing because the drugs can be found in their family's own medicine cabinet.Alex came to Fresno from Sacramento to check out Fresno State. But for a few more months, college bound Alex is still under her parent's roof and mom says that means her rules...rule. Especially when it comes to making sure her kid is drug free.

"It's my parental duty to try to guide her down the right path and if she's doing drugs then while I have the authority to force help on her, I would do that," said Evelyn Sisler. Sot tape 2

Parents like Evelyn now have a new weapon in the fight against drugs. A home drug test, using hair is now sold over the counter at some drug stores like Walgreen's for about $89-dollars.

It promises 99-percent accuracy with cheat proof testing and being marketed to parents of teens and is aimed at detecting prescription drug abuse.

Vernon Frantzich is a Fresno-based, drug testing expert. He said easy access to prescription drugs like Oxycontin, Codeine and Morphine is contributing to the problem among teens.

Franzick said a hair drug test is effective because drug use metabolizes within the hair follicle making it difficult to mask or substitute unlike a urine drug test.

So Action News checked out the product's promises. To test the drug test, we used an ABC 30 staff member who's under a doctor's prescription for pain killers after a recent surgery.

The test requires a hair sample of about 90-120 strands of hair about the diameter of a straw or a pencil. Cut as close to the scalp as possible and put the hair in the "collection foil' provided by the kit. The hair sample is then placed in a hair specimen envelope. A security label is then placed over the specimen envelope, sealing it then the entire sample is placed in a mailing bag, ready to send off for test results.

In a few days our test results are available online at Hair Confirm's website. But the results came back negative.

The company provided a video of its lab testing and said our sample may not have met the lab's "cut off levels," meaning the amount of drugs in our subject's system just didn't register on the results.

Franzick said he's seen that happen with other drug tests. "I've had people come in and use an instant kit that I have and showed positive and take the same urine and send it out to a lab and it comes back negative and it's all due to the cut-off level."

Both Franzick and "Hair Confirm" said drug tests are simply a tool that can help families address a drug problem. But for young Alex Sisler, earning her family's trust is easy. "If you have nothing to hide...there's no reason to keep it from anyone...it's like, well I'm not doing drugs...here, take a piece of my hair."



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