Editor's note: This report is based on a press release from state Sen. Carlo Leone's office:
Drug abuse can place a great strain on any affected family, especially when a parent must confront their teenage child about suspected, yet unconfirmed drug use.
Stamford resident Jim Cruz attempted to secure a hair follicle drug test for his 17 year-old son Kyle when his rapidly and dramatically changed behavior raised family suspicions. Yet despite having a doctor’s authorization, they were repeatedly turned away from a testing facility, and Kyle committed suicide before he could find the help he needed.
On Monday State Sen. Carlo Leone (D-Stamford) joined Cruz to testify before the state legislature’s Judiciary Committee in favor of proposed legislation that would help such parents to secure drug tests for their struggling children.
“Having a child fall into drug abuse is a nightmare come true for any parent. When a family looks to get a drug test and help for their teen, they need the way to be cleared for them, without bureaucratic obstacles. That’s the opposite of what the Cruz family encountered, so we must act to prevent similar tragedies in the future,” Leone said. “I would like to thank Jim Cruz for sharing his difficult personal story with the public, so others may be spared the same tragic experience.”
Senate Bill 464 would provide that under the law, an order from a licensed physician, physician assistant or advanced practice registered nurse would be sufficient to authorize a hair follicle drug test.
Cruz sought such a test for his son Kyle Cruz when began exhibiting disturbing behavior at the age of 17. An accomplished athlete of multiple sports and a diligent student for his entire life, Kyle suddenly became highly argumentative and began acting irrationally over a period of just a few short months.
His family came to suspect drug use, first marijuana but eventually prescription pills, MDMA, ecstasy, and an ADHD drug called Vyvanse. The family decided to have Kyle drug tested to confirm their suspicions and get him help, and settled on a hair follicle drug test for its ability to detect drug use over a period of 30-90 days. Alternative urine tests may only detect drug use within a 12-72 hour period.
Yet multiple obstacles arose as the family sought out this test, and they were repeatedly turned away from a hair follicle test provider, despite having a doctor’s authorization for the test.
In written testimony offered to the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, Jim Cruz described his difficult struggle to secure a drug test for his son:
When we arrived we were told that the hair follicle drug test couldn’t be administered because we didn’t have the paper work from his doctor. So we went to the doctor’s office and they had filled out the form and faxed it to the testing office. We arrived back to the test facility and were denied again and told it was the wrong requisition form even though it was signed by the doctor. We were then informed that they couldn’t do this test because it wasn’t employment related.
Cruz continued, “Four days after our failed attempt I came home to find my son and he did not make it.”
Senate Bill 464 now awaits action before the Judiciary Committee.
Correction: The name of the medication called Vyvanse was misspelled in the original version of this article.