Drug-Test Kit Sales Boom Despite Skepticism


Mason Duchatschek of Washington, Mo., wants America to embrace a new anti-drug axiom, says the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “I want, ‘No thanks, my parents test me,’ to replace, ‘Just say no,'” said Duchatschek, 38. “I want that to take place in bus stops and playgrounds and locker rooms, because when kids say, ‘Just say no,’ I’m convinced the pressure gets worse.” Duchatschek’s TestMyTeen.com sells home drug-testing kits. Since 1999, sales of home test kits have more than doubled, to $6 billion last year, contends an industry group. Prices range from around $15 for kits that test urine for 10 different drugs, to $90 for kits that test hair clippings and claim to detect drugs consumed months earlier.

The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages such testing, saying kits fail to advise parents of the limitations of the tests, including the chances for false-positive readings. And experts say there’s no evidence that such tests, even if accurate, curb drug abuse. Duchatschek sent e-mails to every Missouri school district with more than 200 students, offering $5,000 in vouchers, good for one free kit per family. Three districts have accepted his offer. A press release from one district repeated, almost verbatim, the sales pitch from TestMyTeen.com. Dr. Sharon Levy of Harvard Medical School said, “We really haven’t seen any research to support any claims that drug testing at schools or at home has positive benefits. Just nothing but anecdotes. And I do really think in some families, it’s going to have a negative effect on the parent-child relationship.”

Link: http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/education/story/879A7282E6CF3721862571EE0019F7E3?O

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