Anxious Parents Rush to Rent Drug-Sniffing Dogs

By McCarton Ackerman 02/09/12

Concerned parents hire pricey canines to find out if their kids are using.

Private drug searches unaffiliated with law
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A Californian company is aiming to capitalize on drug fears within American families by offering drug-sniffing dogs to parents who suspect their kids might be using. The Sacramento-based business, Drug Dog Services LLC, says its dogs can track down a variety of illegal substances—and even pick up the smell of prescription meds like Oxycontin. A film from a local news outlet shows one of the dogs-for-hire finding three training aids scattered throughout a home in under seven minutes: a heroin scent in a power outlet, an Oxycontin scent in a bathroom cabinet and a meth scent in a dresser drawer. But trainer Sue Watkins admits the dogs won't always find drugs in a home that fast. "It depends on how much scent is in the house," she says. "It could be that she spends a lot of time where there’s lots of scent, and then she has to find the golden egg." A dog search will cost customers around $100, and it's meant to be non-confrontational; the suspected addict can't be in the home when the dogs are present. According to,28% of male and 20% of female 12th graders reported using illicit substances within the last month in 2010.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.