Knox County parents receive free at-home drug tests for teens

Knox County parents receive free at-home drug tests for teens

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ral/Metro is distributing 300 at-home drug tests to parents in and around Knox County. ral/Metro is distributing 300 at-home drug tests to parents in and around Knox County.
Knox County District Attorney Randy Nichols talked to parents Tuesday night at Hardin Valley Academy. Knox County District Attorney Randy Nichols talked to parents Tuesday night at Hardin Valley Academy.
"It checks for 12 drugs, seven illicit drugs such as cocaine and opiates, and then five prescription drugs," explained Darlene Kitts, the customer relations manager for Rural/Metro. "It checks for 12 drugs, seven illicit drugs such as cocaine and opiates, and then five prescription drugs," explained Darlene Kitts, the customer relations manager for Rural/Metro.
"I think it's important for every parent to have that, just with a possible suspicion," said Lisa Hendrickson. "I think it's important for every parent to have that, just with a possible suspicion," said Lisa Hendrickson.

By ALEXIS ZOTOS
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Local parents are receiving free home drug test for their children through a partnership between Rural/Metro and Knox County PTA.

Experts say conversation is the best preventative measure when it comes to keeping your children off drugs. The at-home drug tests are intended to start the conversation.

"It checks for 12 drugs, seven illicit drugs such as cocaine and opiates, and then five prescription drugs," explained Darlene Kitts, the customer relations manager for Rural/Metro.

Rural/Metro is distributing 300 at-home drug tests to parents in and around Knox County.

It's a tool Lisa Hendrickson uses at home with her 15-year-old son.

"I think it's important for every parent to have that, just with a possible suspicion. If the child's peers, friends, that kind of thing, there's a great possibility that your child could be involved with that," Hendrickson said.

She says there's an open communication between her and her son, something Knox County District Attorney Randy Nichols stressed to an auditorium of parents Tuesday night at Hardin Valley Academy.

"Talk to your children. The literature is very clear, if you talk to your children and set limits, then there's a much higher percentage that they will obey you," Nichols said.

An intervention specialist at Cornerstone Recovery Center says the tests should be used mainly as a motivation tool.

"I generally tell parents to look at this as a safety issue as opposed to a trust issue. It's not that I don't trust you, it's I'm concerned with your safety," said Bill Lee, an intervention specialist.

Lee adds if parents use the tool they need to follow through and not just threaten to use it.

"The other part of that is parents have to actually do it. You can't just hold the box up and threaten to do it. You have to actually do it at some point," Lee said.

DA Nichols says if a parent does use the test and it comes back positive they should seek professional help immediately for the teen. That's when the test moves from a preventative stage to an intervention stage.

Kitts says the tests are 99 percent effective and they recommend starting the tests as early as age 12. Experts say teens start experimenting at 13, so the earlier the better.

Lisa Hendrickson says she's never used it on her son, but he knows it's there in case she needs to.

"I think having it in the home and knowing that it is there and knowing I would utilize it would be a big deterrent," she said.

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