Pubdate: Thu, 18 Aug 2005
Source: Register, The (MA)
Copyright: 2005, Tri-Town Transcript
Author: Joe  Burns
Bookmark: (Youth)
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


MCAS may not be the only test that some Cape adolescents will need to be 
concerned about passing. New England Drug Test Consulting, an Eastham-based 
business, is marketing a home drug-testing kit for concerned parents. "I 
thought  I could do well by doing good," says owner Nancy Zarchan, an 
accountant, who  purchased the franchise from The Drug Test Consultant 
Inc., a nationwide company  based in Los Angeles.

The company  provides kits that test for marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, 
methamphetamine and  opiates. The package, which can be purchased on-line 
for $52.95, includes one  saliva test kit and one urine test kit. The tests 
do not have to be sent out for  analysis and the results are available 
within two to five minutes, depending on  the type of test.

Ray Tamasi,  president of Gosnold on Cape Cod, a Cape Cod addiction 
treatment center, says  that while he understands why parents would want to 
know for certain if their  child was using drugs, "I'm not sure what 
springing drug tests on your kids does  to establish an open relationship." 
Tamasi  cautions parents that testing alone is not the solution. "We 
use  drug testing in our programs, but not very much. We use it randomly, 
but it's  always in concert with more substantial treatment," he says "No 
single thing by  itself is a magic bullet to resolve all the problems or to 
resolving the stress  that families may have."

Zarchan  says her company provides more than a means of testing. "What 
we  offer is a 60-page detailed program manual on how to deal with this 
problem, how  to talk to your kids." A list of local agencies, 
rehabilitation centers and  other professionals is also provided along with 
program counseling service.

"We give  them two free counseling sessions via e-mail through the home 
office," Zarchan  adds.

While  Zarchan and others are providing parents with the means to test 
their children,  other companies are marketing products on-line that will 
make drug use  undetectable in these type of tests. These blockers are 
advertised as being  effective for up to four hours.

"That's why  random drug testing is an antidote," Zarchan says. "He or she 
doesn't have time  to mask."

Tamasi  warns that drug tests can also result in a false positive and that 
it sometimes  takes more than the testing done at home or at a lab to be 
certain. "If a test  comes back positive, we usually then send it out to a 
professional lab to  substantiate it," Tamasi says.

Negative  tests are also sent to a lab for more sophisticated testing if 
it's suspected  that the result was due to the use of a blocker. "They 
can  pick those up," Tamasi says. "They can tell what kind of adulterant 
they  used."

While drug  testing may be effective when combined with a comprehensive 
treatment program,  Tamasi advises that the best drug plan is the one 
that's in place before the  problem begins.

"The issue  is probably best addressed by connecting and communicating with 
kids at a very  early age and having open discussions about it," Tamasi  says.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom