Get a free drug test kit, save your child's life

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MESA and SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Every day, more than 15,000 kids try drugs for the first time. A Scottsdale-based organization has teamed up with Rural/Metro to help you make sure your kid isn't one of them.

"Tomorrow [4/20, which has long been a code for drug use] is the biggest day of the year for your kids to get high," explained Debbie Moak, founder of notMYkid.

Moak and her husband launched notMYkid in 1999 after they learned first-hand about kids and drugs. They wanted to spare other families the heartache they experienced when they learned their teenage son had become addicted to drugs.

As part of that effort, notMYkid, along with Rural/Metro and First Check, is handing out free drug test kits in 10 cities across the county, including Scottsdale and Mesa.

"Prevention is what we're all about in this message," Rural/Metro CEO Michael DiMino said. "We'd rather not come and pick up your sons or daughters that have had an issue or problem. There are some very sad stories of what happens on a 911 call when that occurs. So, prevention is the word."

Rural/Metro paramedic Amy Evans has been on those tragic calls and says parents are often unaware of the problem.

"They become aware at the worst possible time, when their child is in an altered level of behavior or has attempted to hurt themselves or has been in a motor-vehicle accident or worse," she said. "There have been times when a child has been unresponsive and a parent has no idea what's wrong and it's been drug related. That's a horrible way to find out [your child has a problem with drugs]."

Moak said it's critical for parents to be on the same page and open up a dialogue with their kids to prevent first drug use. The notMYkid team has put together a comprehensive Family Drug Prevention Plan to help you do that.

While the conversation can be difficult, experts agree that it's essential. The notMYkid Family Drug Prevention Plan offers dozens of tips and conversation starters. It's important to make sure that the conversation goes both ways and to listen to what your child is telling you.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 13 is the average age at which kids start experimenting with drugs. That's why notKYkids suggests to you start talking to your kids early. The more they know, the better they'll be at dealing with the issue when it inevitably comes up.

"The intention of our 420 campaign is to highlight the dangers of exposing our youth to any and all drugs," Moak wrote on the notMYkid website. "notMYkid is not singling out any one substance, but all substances that may derail the life of our most precious asset, our kids."

There are 1,000 First Check drug test kits, which test for 12 different substances, available at both the Southwest Ambulance headquarters and the notMYkid office.

The kits test for seven illicit drugs and five prescription drugs.

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates (Heroin)
  • Methamphetamine
  • Ecstacy
  • Amphetamines
  • Phencycidine (PCP)
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone

"[The test] will tell you within minutes whether or not there are drugs in your child's system," Moak said.

According to First Check, most of its products are more than 99 percent accurate.

"It's a deterrent," Moak said. "It's a great way for kids to say no to their peers."

Southwest Ambulance Headquarters (7 a.m.-5 p.m.)
708 W. Baseline Rd., Mesa

notMYkid.org HQ (9 a.m.-5 p.m.)
5230 E. Shea Blvd., Suite 100, Scottsdale