Dogs Sniff Scent of Drugs on Teens
Parents Invent New Ways to Discreetly Detect Their Children's Drug Use
By GIGI STONE - ABC News
Ali is a highly trained German shepherd that spent eight years on narcotics patrol with the New Jersey police force, hunting down drug smugglers at airports and drug dealers on inner-city streets. Post-retirement, he's working in the private sector, sniffing teenagers' bedrooms.
Police drug dogs are trained to hunt the smell of drugs. Now, parents are turning to the dogs as a discreet method of drug-testing their kids.(Gettty Images)
Ali and his handler are now working for a new company in New Jersey called Sniff Dogs.
The company, which also conducts business in Ohio, rents drug-sniffing canines to parents for $200 an hour. It was started this year by Debra Stone, who says her five trained dogs can detect heroin, cocaine, crystal meth and ecstasy.
One of the selling points of this service? Avoiding the kind of confrontation that comes with a drug test.
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"Most kids will deny it and then where do you turn?" said Winterstein, who has three children, the youngest of whom is 14. "Not knowing is worrisome. It's nice to know you can have something you can turn to."
Though critics say this approach runs the risk of breaking down the trust between parents and children, Winterstein says it offers her solace.
"As a parent you worry," she said. "My kids are great. I trust my kids, but you only can trust them so far."
"There are major repercussions for this type of intervention," said Dr. Neil Bernstein, a Washington, D.C.-based clinical psychologist and author of the book "How to Keep Your Teen Out of Trouble."
"When parents do this it erodes trust and goodwill."