In the two months that local law enforcement agencies began offering free drug testing kits in Phelps County, a total of 120 kits have been distributed to parents.Both the Rolla Police Department and Phelps County Sheriff’s Department began offering the kits Aug. 13.“If 120 test kits go out and 120 kids are protected, it would be a success, but because of the confidentiality of the program, we don’t know what happened,” said Sgt. Andy Davis, of the sheriff’s office.
“It gives a reason for a child to say no (to drugs) if they know, “I will possibly be drug tested by my parents,’ ” said Rolla Police Chief Mark Kearse.
Both Davis and Kearse said they did not know how many kits they expected to give away through the program.
The program was started as an effort to curb drug abuse among youth and is being supported by the sheriff’s office, Rolla police department and the county prosecutor’s office.
The program is strictly voluntary. To qualify for the Teensavers kits, people simply need to be a resident anywhere in Phelps County and have at least one child who is 17 years old or younger.
The kits were purchased with drug seizure funds. No taxpayer funds were used.
Each kit comes with a urine test container, instructions, parental support guide, self-addressed mailing container and confidential identification number.
The confidential number, guide and test container come sealed in a tamper proof pouch so only the parent who opens it has access to those items, guaranteeing the child and test results are only accessible to the parent. The parent is in full control.
The kits test for 12 substances — THC (marijuana), cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, opiates, PCP, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone, oxycodone, MDMA and tricyclic antidepressants.
These drugs can be detected with a urine test when they have been in the body for two or three days or up to two weeks depending on the type of drug.
The kits are easy to use and easy to read, offer confidential results and 24/7 support and have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
The kits come with a small shipping box to mail the sample off to a laboratory, which can confirm the preliminary results. The lab only has the identification number and has no idea who the sample belongs to. Parents can check the results of the lab’s test online or by phone.
Law enforcement do not know the results and no tests take place at the sheriff’s office or police department.
For questions about the kits, people may contact Cpl. Mike Kirn at 573-426-3860 or Lt. James Macormic at 573-308-1213.