Your Neighbor’s Secret

Many people think of drug and alcohol in socioeconomic terms. The TV version is depicted as poor minorities on the South or West Sides of Chicago either using or distributing drugs. Consider two stories in the Local Tribune recently. The Local Tribune edition of which I’m speaking is published and distributed on Chicago’s trendy North Shore.

North ShoreFor those who don’t know, places like Highland Park and Wilmette hug the lake along Northern Cook and Lake Counties. Property values typically are $1 million or more and the vast majority of children who live there go on to college. These areas are famous for the teen “coming of age” movie locations like “Home Alone,” “Ferris Bueller,” “Risky Business” and the like.

One would not be surprised to find drugs prevalent in these communities among teens, but you may be surprised to hear of adults making headlines for drug and alcohol usage.

I will not use the names of the people.

Tales of Abuse

In one story, a former Highland Park High School Principal pleaded guilty to a DUI. His attorney stated, “this could happen to anyone.”

This statement is both true and false. It points out how a great and caring person can easily fall victim to this disease. Many people in the school community supported him through his problems. However, the statement is false, in my opinion, in that the stress of a high level education job in communities where expectations are high, do not support the fact that most educators do not endanger the lives of others. Drunk driving is a multi-step process, you must get drunk and you then must get behind the wheel and drive.

The second story is less sympathetic. It’s about a Wilmette woman who had methamphetamine paraphernalia present with her and her minor children. She was charged with possession and child endangerment. This drug, once thought to be used only by the most prolific of drug users, is now showing up in the mini van on a trip to soccer practice. No community is immune to this problem.

Drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin and maybe even more importantly prescription drugs are endangering families and children. More can be done and should.

What To Do, What To DO

If you suspect drug use by a friend or relative that has or cares for children you should know there is a test to help protect them. We call ours the Child Guard Test. In a typical hair test we wash the hair in the lab before testing. When we test the hair we are not looking for drugs but rather the metabolite that the body converts the drugs into and ultimately get placed in the hair. The Child Guard Test works a little differently. We would take a small amount of the child’s hair (nothing that would be cosmetically noticeable) as we usually do. But because we do not suspect the child of consuming drugs but merely exposed to them, when the lab receives the sample the hair is NOT washed. And this time we ARE looking for the specific drug that may have settled on their hair. These tests are extremely sensitive and can detect drug usage inside the home even if the children were not present during usage but occupied the same car or home as the drug user.

ARCpoint Labs of Chicago and ARCpoint Labs of Elk Grove Village can and do conduct legal testing that can monitor situations like this. The goals are clear, to keep families together and people in jobs while they wrestle with issues of drug and alcohol abuse.

Please visit our Facebook page or go to our website to learn more. Or you can call us at 847.258.3966.

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