Testing junior for drugs

Testing kits could help discourage children from taking the drugs in the first place

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A municipal council in the Netherlands wants to help parents find out whether their children are using drugs. So Edam-Volendam (where the famous Edam cheese is made) will supply 1,500 home testing kits for parents with children aged 15 to 19. The kits can find traces of cannabis, cocaine, amphetamines, opiates and PCP, among other illicit drugs, in saliva. The aim is to address the town’s drug problem, which is the fourth highest in the province of North Holland.

Councillor Gina Kroon-Sombroek told Radio Netherlands that the kits could help discourage children from taking the drugs in the first place. “Parents can say, ‘I’ve got that test, so bear in mind you can be tested.’ Our hope is that it’ll stop young people experimenting with drugs,” said Kroon-Sombroek. Interestingly, despite a liberal drug policy, young people in the Netherlands consume far less drugs than other teens. A 2008 study by the World Health Organization found that only 35 per cent of Netherlanders had used cannabis by the age of 21, compared to 54 per cent of Americans. As for the test, Edam-Volendam’s council said it will be easy for parents to use. That may be true, assuming they can convince their teenagers to provide a saliva sample on demand.

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