Do you suspect that your child is using or abusing?
It’s the dread faced by many dads and moms, unfortunately. And deciding what to do about it isn’t easy.
There are a number of companies that help parents get to the truth.
SNIF, an acronym for Special Narcotic Investigative Force, is based in Boca Raton, Fla. and works for people who want to make sure family members aren’t using drugs, but who don’t want to involve police.
Though his bread-and-butter clients are sober houses, strip clubs and private high schools, SNIF now serves suspicious parents who want to know if their teens are hiding a stash.
“Parents call us when they suspect their kids may be doing something,” says Andy Novotak, a former police officer for the Florida East Coast Railway, who started the company. “The dog sniffs the rooms and finds their hiding places. It’s a confidential thing. They don’t have to involve the police.”
Near Boston, Tom Robichaud, a dog trainer for 25 years, recently started a business that helps parents get to the truth.
It’s a confidential canine drug-detection business in Wrentham, Mass. called Discreet Intervention.
“If you suspect illegal drug use may be impacting your child or other member of your family, it’s never too soon to call Discreet Intervention,” says Robichaud. “Our confidential K9 service will help you know for sure what you need to do next.”
His dog, Ben, a 3-year-old Belgian Malinois shepherd, looks for drugs that may be hidden: marijuana, ecstacy, heroin, cocaine or crack.
National Public Radio (NPR) recently tagged along on a run and watched as a dad handed an agreement plus $300 over to Robichaud, before the trio headed down to an unfinished basement.
The dad suspects his 21-year-old daughter is using and abusing.
His suspicions are quickly confirmed when Ben finds a baggie containing a powdery white substance.
“She’s — she’s done,” the dads says. “She’s out of here. We had enough of this. I don’t want to see her go to jail, really, but if she has to, she has to.”
As reality sets in, he calms down.
“You know, I don’t want to get police involved … just yet.”
When they go to houses, if Robichaud and Ben uncover a meth lab or a huge amount of cocaine, he says he’s obliged to call the police. But otherwise he lets parents deal with the discovery and fallout.
He says he understands what these parents may going through because his brother died of an overdose after using drugs over many years.
“Every time I go into a house, I see those parents like my parents, [and] what they went through,” Robichaud told NPR. “It just destroyed my family.”
Robichaud hopes his service is the first step in the parents’ journey to get help for their child and family.