Drug Testing your teen ?
Adolescence is one of the most challenging stages for kids growing up; facing pressure from peers to fit in on nearly every level, from the clothes they wear to how they spend their time. Unlike past generations the pressure is no longer contained to school and social gatherings. Thanks to social media and technology you can carry anywhere peer pressure can follow them everywhere they go—all day, every day. Parents of teens have the increased challenge of guiding and supporting their kids through this often turbulent time and one area that has become an even greater area of concern for parents is drug use. One short text and a teen can access a drug dealer without leaving their bedrooms.
Research shows that 75% of high school students have experimented with an addictive substance; whether it be drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. Drug use and abuse is a real problem and, as parents, it is imperative that you are aware and have a plan for addressing it with your teen. One step many parents’ take is having their teen’s drug tested.
Deciding whether or not to drug test can be a difficult decision and one that has to be made by each individual family. It is something to talk over with your child and, except in extreme situations, not to be done without their knowledge as this could damage the trust in your relationship. Drug tests are inexpensive or in some cases free and are a good way to start the conversation. Explain to them that just as you check their grades to assure they are on the right track academically, drug tests are a way to assure that they are on the right track physically. This is also a good opportunity to discuss peer pressure associated with drugs. Talk through responses that they can give if they are offered drugs and that they can use the drug test as an “out” when pressured to take drugs. “Hey my Mom drug tests me and since it’s so easy to do these days your parents may start testing you, so no thanks” can be a powerful message for your teen to deal with peer pressure.
Types of Tests
There are a few different types of drug tests that you can have done but the most convenient and private is the at home drug test. The test is completed with a urine sample and it indicates with 99% accuracy whether or not a particular type of drug is in the system. It is important that you are aware of any prescription medication they may be taking that could show up positive on the test; for instance ADHD medication. An at home test will pick up on most street drugs—marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and prescription drugs. Harder drugs like LSD won’t be picked up on this type of test. Most drugs will remain in your system for 2-3 days; the sooner you test the stronger the reading will be. Marijuana can stay in the system much longer.
For some teens the idea of being drug tested may feel like a violation of trust and privacy. For this reason it is vital that you maintain an open and honest conversation about drug use. Setting a time frame for when the drug test will happen, although not a specific day, can help them be more accepting of it. Setting up rewards for negative drug tests, use of the car for example, as well as consequences for positive tests, loss of privileges like the car or cellphone, can be effective while your teen is still living at home. But what do you do once they move out? If they go away to college or move out of town or state it can be much harder to enforce drug tests. If they have had consistently negative test results and you have no reason to suspect that they are using drugs, this is a good time to assess if the tests are still necessary. If you do suspect that they are using drugs you can use the car, money, and privileges that you still provide as leverage for continuing the drug tests.
Making the decision to drug test your child is a decision that no parent wants to make but studies have shown that many drug addicts start using in their early teens. Like any addiction, the sooner it is brought to light and addressed in a positive, healthy way the greater the chance of recovery and that they will go on to achieve their dreams.
So should you drug test your teen? As a mother of two teenagers I say yes. If you have any reason to suspect they may have exposure to or have used illegal drugs you may be taking steps to save your child’s life. My children already know at least one teenager personally who has died of an overdose. The current epidemic of opioid addiction is very serious and while you still have leverage over your child may be the best time to keep them from going down that path.
Not My Kid.org
At home drug tests can be purchased from your Pharmacy or online. In some areas you can also obtain free at home tests from an organization called “Not My Kid” for more on their program go to https://notmykid.org/?s=drug+test
There is also excellent information in this article from www.drugfree.org. Our check our or article on our blog https://www.drugrehabcomparison.com/2014/04/08/signs-teen-drugs/