Test, Don't Guess

Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco has purchased drug test kits to distribute to parents free of charge.

The program aims to offer free drug test kits that can be used in privacy to assist parents and guardians with monitoring the behavior of their children who are under the age of 18.

The test kits give parents a tool to engage in the critical conversations about drug use; and offers a method for parents who suspect their child may be using illegal substances to be reassured of their judgment and seek professional help if needed.

Please contact: (631) 852-2663


List of Drug Treatment Resources
 

All too often we in law enforcement hear incarcerated men and women say, “I wish someone had done something to stop my drug use when I was a kid.” We all know that drug use among teens is the single most prevalent precursor to future criminal behavior, which can lead to jail time. It is also a serious and growing public safety and health issue in our society.

Families living with teens can – and sometimes do – see the signs of potential drug use long before problems arise with the criminal justice system or serious accidents happen. THIS IS THE TIME FOR PARENTS TO TAKE ACTION.

And the sooner the better. A drug use intervention plan is much easier to implement on a 13 or 14 year old child who may be experimenting with marijuana or prescription drugs than on an older teen engaging in heroin and cocaine use. However, parents can, and should, engage in active intervention with their children under the age of 18 if they suspect a drug use problem.

Drug testing in the privacy of your home may help confirm or alleviate your suspicions , and could be the first step towards emotional and physical healing for a drug-using teen.

How do I approach the subject of drug testing with my child?
Drug testing can be an excellent tool to start a conversation with your child about drug use in the community, and your fears that peer pressure may lead them to experiment with drugs.

This conversation should aim to accomplish two goals: Establishing open communication with your child about drug use and assuring your child that you have his or her best interests at heart.

You should never threaten your child with drug testing, but instead speak calmly about why you want to test your child and that it will give you some needed reassurance they are safe.

Also explain that if the test reveals that he or she is using drugs, that you are willing to talk about it and work it out as a family; and possibly seek professional help. It is important that your teen understand that drug-testing is not a punishment.

Explain to them that your interest in testing them for drugs is not to “out” them, but to deter them from using drugs and get them some help if they need it.

Most importantly, if they test negative, tell them you know how difficult it is for teens not to succumb to the peer pressures of drug use and that you are very proud of them.

Drug testing may be a tool to assure you that your child is mature enough to handle the responsibility of driving. You may consider making periodic testing a prerequisite for using the family car or their personal car.

Rewarding your child’s positive behavior is a great way to show them that there are benefits to remaining drug free. For example, good behavior can be tied to driving privileges, curfews and allowances.

What do I do if my child refuses to be tested?
If you have suspicions that there is an issue that needs to be addressed, such as experimentation with drugs or alcohol or perhaps more serious usage, seek professional help or reach out to a local community agency for advice and assistance. Click here for a list of resources.

How does the program work?
Test kits have been purchased by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office and are made available to residents in Suffolk County. The kits were not paid for by taxpayers but funded with money seized from drug dealers. The program aims to offer free drug test kits that can be used in privacy to assist parents and guardians with monitoring the behavior of their children who are under the age of 18.

The test kits give parents a tool to engage in the critical conversations about drug use; and offer a method for parents who suspect their child may be using illegal substances to be reassured of their judgment and seek professional help if needed.


What if I suspect or confirm that my child has a heroin or serious addiction problem?

Seek help and talk with someone about your concerns and suspicions.

Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco expanded the YOUTH ENLIGHTENMENT SEMINAR (YES) Program to allow parents to accompany their children into the Riverhead County Correctional Facility to experience first-hand what life may be like if their drug or alcohol abuse leads them into incarceration. This program is offered by appointment only and is designed to provide a realistic lesson to young people about how their current path may affect their future. Call (631) 853-2732 for more information or to schedule an appointment.

Please be advised that this program is designed to educate young people and encourage recovery; and is not ever used by law enforcement to obtain information pertaining to illegal drug use.

Where can I get additional guidance and obtain treatment for my child or family member?
Depending on the nature of your child’s suspected or confirmed drug use, there are various options for parents to begin the process of getting help.

Ask questions. Talk to your child about their drug use and get as much information as possible.

Seek advice from local community agencies, youth agencies, hotlines or established treatment centers.

Obtain Treatment from a specialty-trained drug/alcohol counselor, medical facility, publically-run clinic or a privately-run drug or alcohol treatment center.

If your child requires immediate medical care, has expressed suicidal thoughts or is in any danger whatsoever, go to your nearest emergency room or call 911. Never be fearful about seeking treatment for any drug abuse related emergency. The goal of both law enforcement and medical professionals is to help your child get well.

If you just need to talk with someone by phone, try a local response hotline: (631) 751-7500