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Should Parents Hire Drug-Sniffing Dogs for Private Use?

Thousands of parents are struggling at this very moment, worried their kids are using drugs and maybe even hiding a stash in the family home… right under their noses. Monitoring Facebook accounts or searching through dresser drawers is no longer enough. Confrontations are pointless; without proof, the kids deny any wrongdoing.

How far would you go to uncover the truth about your child’s drug use? Would you hire a drug-sniffing dog to track down illegal substances in the home? More and more parents are doing just that, ultimately singing the praises of a fine-tuned canine nose.

Drug-Sniffing Dogs in Private Practice

Drug and alcohol abuse is rising among adolescents and teenagers, causing home life to be turned upside down. For parents at the end of their rope, hiring private businesses to bring in highly trained drug dogs is a fast and unique way to get the truth. When dogs search the home or a vehicle for illegal substances, what they find will either put the parents’ minds at ease or confirm their fears. If drugs are discovered, at least it gives parents an opportunity to formulate a plan and ensure their child receives proper treatment.

How the Business Works

Generally speaking, most businesses charge between $200 and $500 for a certified narcotics dog to do a sweep of the property.

Before a search begins, the parent(s) must sign a contract that details the procedure, expectations, and confidentiality. The dog, its handler, and one parent will conduct the sweep from room to room. Only one parent is allowed to accompany the dog and its handler, as it minimizes distractions for everyone involved and help the dog focus on illicit drug smells. They also suggest the suspected drug user not be present during the search, as this reduces family friction.

Once the search begins, the dog is taken from room to room. If they pick up a scent, the dog will passively alert his or her handler to the spot. The handler will then mark the spot for further testing/searching.

Trained dogs can detect the following substances:

  • Popular street drugs (heroin, cocaine, MDMA, methamphetamine)
  • Synthetic drugs (K2 or Spice, Bath Salts)
  • Popular prescription drugs (OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet)
  • Alcohol

Related: Teen Addiction Treatment Programs that Measure Up

What Happens if Drugs are Found?

If drugs are detected, the handlers will inform the accompanying parent and help them locate any illegal substances. When drugs are found, it is up to the parent to dispose of them. Handlers are not allowed to take the drugs with them under any circumstances.

Most handlers carry drug testing kits. If requested, they can test a suspected substance and help parents identify exactly what was found. They will also provide parents with contact information for local and national rehab facilities, 12-step organizations and anti-drug groups. These resources will help parents determine what to do next and how to properly help their child.

Parents can rest assured that the searches, finds, and test results are held in strict confidence. Most dogs/handlers even arrive in unmarked vehicles, especially in metropolitan areas and neighborhoods.

Does it Really Work?

To show just how good these highly trained dogs are, Sacramento’s Drug Dog Services LLC and a local TV station (CBS13) hid three training aids throughout a home. They placed a heroin-scent in a power outlet, an opiate-scent in a bathroom cabinet, and a methamphetamine-scent in a dresser drawer. Narcotics-certified dog Julia was then asked to sweep the house. Amazingly, she found all of the objects in six minutes and 36 seconds.

Drug-Sniffing Dogs for Hire in the U.S.

The business of hiring drug-sniffing dogs is not a new one. The first establishments opened back in 2010, offering up the services of police-trained drug dogs for private use. Today, you can find drug-sniffing canines across most of the United States. A few successful businesses include:

  • Dogs Finding Drugs: Opened in 2010, a Maryland non-profit
  • K-9 Force Security: Opened 2013, Ft. Collins, Colorado
  • Drug Dog Services: Opened 2013, Sacramento, California
  • K9 University Detection Services: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  • Special Solutions International, LLC: Chicago, Illinois

Related: Harm Reduction Principles for Effective Parenting

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