DEARBORN COUNTY, Ind. - With a growing heroin epidemic, several organizations are working together by
launching “Protect Your Family” — a program that distributes free drug test kits to parents.
The kits were handed out at Sunman Dearborn Intermediate School. Organizers said they hope to make an impression on fifth and sixth grade students because they start experimenting with drugs around age 13.
“It’s a chance to give your children an out under pressure,” said Linda Hutchinson, family life director at Bright Christian Church.
Hutchinson said that social media adds to the temptation and exposure of drug use and so far the community response has been mostly positive. On May 1, Hutchinson said 600 people attended a presentation at the church where they distributed kits and showed videos targeted for parents and children, WCPO reported.
Each kit contains a vial for a urine sample and instructions on how to read the results. The kits test for a presence of marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine, painkillers, among other substances.
“The idea behind preventative drug testing is premised that you start talking to your child on a regular basis about substance abuse issues,” said Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard.
Negangard spearheaded the program and received grant money to fund the kits. He tracked the success of “Not my Child” initiatives nationwide. He created a Facebook page supporting the cause and created an online guide with talking points.
Negangard said the kits are more than a police mechanism; it’s a way to hold both children and parents accountable. He admitted to testing his own children.
Hutchinson said some parents have pushed back on drug testing because they say it violates children’s rights. U.S. News Health reported false positives, confusing results and cheating are several reasons why tests should be left up to the professionals.
A mother of two, Hutchinson, responded to some of the criticisms. “We do it already in the school systems. Student athletes already have to test,” she said.
Follow Derrik Thomas on Twitter: @derrikthomas