State’s attorney offers free drug testing kits to parents
KANKAKEE — Kankakee County State’s Attorney Jim Rowe announced Thursday parents of teens in the county can obtain free drug test kits if they suspect their child may be using drugs.
Using funds seized from area drug dealers during arrests, Rowe’s office purchased 1,000 kits.
“Providing these drug-test kits is part of an effort to help families address teenage drug use without the need for law enforcement intervention or criminal consequences,” Rowe said. “This approach empowers parents, but recognizes that there is no substitute for conversation and remaining active in your child’s life.
“It’s important to trust, but it is equally important to question. It could mean the difference between life and death.”
The five-panel at-home kit tests urine for a variety of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, opiates (heroin), methamphetamines and benzodiazepines (psychoactive drugs).
The kits will be provided anonymously along with clear instructions (in both English and Spanish), a list of symptoms to watch for and a list of resources to which the parent or teen can turn to for help. If the test is positive for the presence of drugs, the handout details some suggested next steps that the parent can take such as counseling and treatment.
“If the parents decide to seek law enforcement involvement by identifying the person who sold the drugs to their child, I am sure investigators and prosecutors will be happy to listen; but this is first and foremost about safety and intervention,” Rowe said.
They will also be distributed in limited supply at upcoming events. Up to two kits per parent are distributed anonymously and no information is collected when picking up a kit.
Depending on demand for the kits, more will be ordered if necessary. Kits will be available thru Dec. 31.
The public should note that in certain circumstances Illinois law enhances penalties — up to double the maximum prison term — for adults who sell drugs to minors.
For more information, contact the state’s attorney’s office at 815-936-5800.