Riverside joins forces with provider of drug tests

Worried that your teenage children may be using drugs? Just ask them for a urine sample.

The Riverside Police Department has entered an alliance with an online supplier of drug test kits, TestMyTeen.com.

The company will ship up to $5,000 worth of the kits to parents across the country for free, the company says, although parents would have to pay up to $6 for shipping and handling.

A 10-drug test kit normally costs $18.99, according to the company’s website.

“The main goal is to give parents a tool to deal with the issue privately and without the involvement of the police,” said Sgt. Brent Holland of the Riverside Police Department.

He said that drug experimentation often leads to addiction and that addicts eventually get involved in crime.

The kits also give teens a valid excuse when they face peer pressure to try drugs. They only have to say, “My parents test me.”

Parents who want a free kit can sign up through a link at www.riversidemo.com.

A survey by the University of Michigan found that the use of marijuana increased among 8th-, 10th- and 12th-graders from 2009 to 2010. The survey was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Prescription and over-the-counter medications are also among the top drugs abused by teenagers.

Mason Duchatschek, one of TestMyTeen’s founders, said the idea is to “encourage parents to trust their kids but verify” by having them prove they are clean by taking the drug test. After parents get a urine sample, they can see results in three minutes or less, the company says.

“Take it like a pregnancy test, only this is for drugs,” said Duchatschek.

He said the kits are commercial grade and can detect adulteration of samples, meaning those who try to dilute a sample should be caught.

Forty to 50 law enforcement agencies have joined the alliance since the Missouri Police Chiefs Association endorsed TestMyTeen.

Ron Weeks, the chief of police of Pevely, south of St. Louis, said his department hasn’t received any complaints since it signed on in February.