There is, if news reports are to be believed, a new frontier in helicopter parenting. Suspicious moms and dads are hiring trained drug detection dogs to sniff out their kids' drug stash. The trend was first identified by the Today Show in December, which ran a story featuring a Houston mom who used a private K-9 service to discover that her teenage daughter was using marijuana.
CBS 11 was the latest outlet to sniff out the trend, reporting this weekend that North Texas parents, too, are afraid that their kids are using drugs, then hiding them in clever places a snooping parent might not even think to look.
"Air conditioning vents... Under the carpet, they'll peel back carpet and hide it under the carpet, under the linings of beds, behind bureaus in bedrooms," Richard Stannell, a private detective from Granbury's RK Agency Investigations, told the station.
Really, it's hard to tell how much of a trend home K-9 searches have become in North Texas. CBS 11 talks to no parents, experts, or other companies that provide the service, offering the RK Agency exclusive space to tout its $350 service, which is describes on its website:
When you need a confidential drug detection service for your home, our narcotic detecting dogs can discreetly perform a thorough inspection of your entire property. Our dogs are trained to locate the odor of drugs (e.g., marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine), so those with concerns about the presence of drugs can deal appropriately with the situation whatever the findings.
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Of course, raiding your kid's bedroom in a decidedly police-like search might be construed by some teenagers as a violation of privacy. This was hinted at by Jeffrey Gardere, a child psychologist quoted in the Today Show piece.
"Looking for the drugs with a dog, I think, is an overkill," he said. "What it comes down to is having a relationship, and I don't know if you can do that if you're bringing in drug-sniffing dogs."
Or you can take the advice of one commenter on the CBS 11 story. "A home drug testing kit which is easily purchased at most neighborhood pharmacies will give you definitive proof of their use," the commenter, clearly an expert in adolescent psychology, writes. "An honest kid usually won't mind the test but a drug using kid will have a problem. So if the kid says no then you have your answer."
You'll get some sort of answer, at least.