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How to Test Your Child for Drugs

Updated on May 13, 2013
6 Panel Drug Screen Test
6 Panel Drug Screen Test | Source

Is My Child Using Drugs?

This is a very sensitive subject that no parent ever wants to face but not dealing with it could have grave consequences.

As a parent or trusted adult of a child who may be using drugs, it is imperative that you find out exactly what is going on with your child so you may help them in any way possible.

As the adult, your comfort level needs to come secondary to the safety and welfare of the child.

No one wants to believe that their child is using drugs. There is no bigger heartache for a parent or family member. There are so many emotions and thoughts that run through your head and your heart just sinks.

You may ask yourself, How long has this been going on? Did I miss the signs? Where did I go wrong? Is my child’s whole future ruined? What do I do? Have I lost my child forever?

Trust your instincts and intuition. Early intervention is extremely important! If your child is experimenting with drugs it isn’t going to get better by itself. It would be an enormous mistake to waste precious time feeling guilty or being embarrassed.

Don’t Ignore the Signs

There are many signs that point to the possibility of drug use.

If you see these signs in your child it doesn’t mean that they are automatically using drugs.

These are indicators that something is going on that your child is having a really hard time dealing with and it’s time for a caring adult to intervene. Giving the drug test is an easy way to either discover a problem or eliminate drugs as the issue so you are able to explore the other possibilities of what is going on with your child.

Some very important signs that should never be ignored are:

· Drastic weight change. Either gaining or losing weight quickly is a huge red flag

· Uncharacteristically aggressive or violent behavior

· Super passive or depressed behavior

· Lying about who they are with or where they are going

· Skipping school

· New friends whom you haven’t met

· Isolation and lack of interest in things they have always enjoyed

· Changes in hygiene or personal appearance

· Change in appetite

· Changes in skin coloring

The bottom line is, you know your child and you know when something is wrong. If nothing is done to help the child one way or the other, they will get the message that they just aren’t important enough to bother.

Boy's Backpack
Boy's Backpack | Source
Girls Journal
Girls Journal | Source

What To Do If You Suspect Your Child is Using Drugs

  • Check their purse, backpack, or book bag randomly
  • Search in their car after they have been out with friends
  • Look through their room
  • Check with their counselor at school to find out about any recent changes in behavior or grades
  • Check their cell phone; text messages and voice mail
  • Check your child’s social network accounts
  • Read their Journal or Diary
  • Give random drug tests

Privacy and trust is an earned part of growing and maturing, not an automatic right given because of someones age.

If there is any chance that your child is in danger it is imperative that their parent or guardian does everything and anything they can to protect and help them. If it makes them angry but saves their life, it’s a very small price to pay.

Where To Find Drug Tests and What to Do

Drug tests can be purchased in a drug store or online and delivered right to your door for about $11 each for the 6 panel tests and about $17 each for the 12 panel tests. There are different options to consider.

The 6 panel test will indicate whether your child has any of the following drugs in their system:

  • THC (marijuana)
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Amphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines

There is also a 12 panel test that will show if your child has taken any of the following:

  • THC (marijuana)
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Amphetamines
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Methadone
  • Ecstasy
  • Oxycodone, Hydrocodone
  • Darvocet
  • Barbiturates
  • Angel Dust

The 12 panel test is the highly recommended because it identifies a larger spectrum of substances. Prescription medications and Ecstasy are among the easiest drugs for child to get right at their school. The 6 panel test won’t be able to detect some of those substances. 

These tests are best given the morning or day after you suspect your child could have had access to drugs. Sometimes the results take a few hours to show up and many won’t show up for approximately 12 hours.

Communicate With Your Child

Talk to your child and let him/her know that there isn’t anything you won’t do to keep them safe and help them. Explain why you feel the test is necessary and that if they aren’t using drugs it shouldn’t be a problem.

Make sure you are simply informing your child what is going to happen and why. Do not waste any time trying to convince them it’s a good idea or try to get their approval. It isn’t necessary and they will probably fuel off of your strength if you stay firm and calm.

This is a good opportunity to show your child how a mature adult handles a very serious and scary situation.

What They Can Use to Get a False Positive

It is very important that all parents and loved ones know about the available ways to cheat drug tests.

I guarantee your kids know about them, whether they are using drugs themselves or not.

The market is exploding with different brands of synthetic urine and creative devices to keep it concealed and at the right temperature.

One kit can provide your child with everything they need to pass two drug tests including: laboratory created urine, heating pad, temperature testing strips and an easily concealable pouch to disguise the device.

When used properly, the synthetic urine can be kept at the proper temperature for up to 10 hours and can be kept right in your child’s pant pocket.

It is crucial that you don’t let your child out of your sight after you request a urine sample for the test. If he/she says they can’t go right now and will try again in 30 min, make sure they stay in the same room with you until they do provide the sample.

Random is the key word in random drug test.

6 Panel Drug Test with Positive Results for THC
6 Panel Drug Test with Positive Results for THC | Source
6 Panel Drug Test with Positive Results for THC
6 Panel Drug Test with Positive Results for THC | Source

What If The Test Comes Out Positive?

If the test comes out positive for drugs it can be a very emotional and scary thing.

Speak to a trusted friend or family member who only has your child’s best interest at heart. There are many resources available to help you decide what the best way to proceed for you and your child. Explore the different drug hotlines and treatment centers in your area.

There are many different types and levels of treatment from counseling, to outpatient treatment, to residential treatment. Most treatment facilities have a drug and alcohol counselor who can help you figure out what the most appropriate action would be for your particular situation. These counselors have extensive experience with adolescents and pre-teens that use drugs. Use their experience to your advantage and allow them to assist in guiding you to help.

Another option may be Alcoholics Anonymous and/or Narcotics Anonymous. The meeting locations are generally spread out and are scheduled at various times to accommodate most schedules.

The only wrong thing you can do in a situation like this is nothing.

Would you search your child's room and personal belongings if they had behavior changes?

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    • roxanne459 profile imageAUTHOR

      Roxanne Lewis 

      6 years ago from Washington

      Beth100, peer pressure is definitely a powerful thing! That's one of the reasons it's so hard to be a teen. As adults, all we can do is try to keep them safe until they are ready to do it for themselves.

    • roxanne459 profile imageAUTHOR

      Roxanne Lewis 

      6 years ago from Washington

      Thank you jpcmc! You are so right about carefully approaching kids with this issue. Unfortunately, if they are trying drugs they may put up a pretty strong resistance anyway. It's ok to stand up to them, in the long run you may be saving their life.

    • Beth100 profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      Being proactive is still the best way, though our influences are not always as strong as peer pressure.

      Your information is spot on. I did not know about the "tricks" that can be used to provide a false positive.

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 

      6 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      This is a great read. PArents should addresss this issue in a non-threatening way. Otherwise, their children may simply shut them out even more. Voted up and I will definitely share this with others.

    • roxanne459 profile imageAUTHOR

      Roxanne Lewis 

      6 years ago from Washington

      Thank you! My hope is that no one actually ever needs it but, I know that isn't realistic. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      roxanne459, what a valuable hub....thanks.

    • roxanne459 profile imageAUTHOR

      Roxanne Lewis 

      6 years ago from Washington

      Thank you Mmargie1966! I know most parents don't want to think about it or read about it but I thought it was important to put it out there anyway.

    • roxanne459 profile imageAUTHOR

      Roxanne Lewis 

      6 years ago from Washington

      Thank you so much Cre8tor!

    • roxanne459 profile imageAUTHOR

      Roxanne Lewis 

      6 years ago from Washington

      Parenting a teenager is an amazing and terrifying experience all at the same time. When they feel unconditionally loved and accepted by you, half the battle is already won. Thank you alliemacb

    • roxanne459 profile imageAUTHOR

      Roxanne Lewis 

      6 years ago from Washington

      I have seen many parents turn a blind eye to much of their teenagers behavior in an attempt to make their own lives easier and it's so hard to watch! As a retired teacher, I can imagine you have seen it all. I commend and respect you! Thank you

    • roxanne459 profile imageAUTHOR

      Roxanne Lewis 

      6 years ago from Washington

      Sometimes it's necessary to cross boundaries we wouldn't normally cross in order to do what is best for our kids. They try to tell us things in different ways when they don't have the vocabulary or insight to tell us what they need verbally. Thank you so much veggie-mom!

    • roxanne459 profile imageAUTHOR

      Roxanne Lewis 

      6 years ago from Washington

      Thank you teaches12345, teenage drug use is far too common. If this can help just one person recognize the signs early and help their child, nothing else matters.

    • Mmargie1966 profile image


      6 years ago from Gainesville, GA

      Excellent and much needed hub! I voted up and awesome!

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Dan Robbins 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      What an excellent hub written from an excellent perspective! Voted way up!

    • alliemacb profile image


      6 years ago from Scotland

      Excellent hub on a very useful topic. As the parent of a teenager I shudder to think about some of the influences around her and knowing the signs of drug abuse and how to deal with the issue is vital info. Voted up and useful.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Much-needed information! As a retired high school teacher, I can tell you that way too many parents are in total denial. Voted up!

    • veggie-mom profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Roxanne,

      Great tips for a difficult topic. I appreciate how you mentioned that privacy and trust must be earned and are not a right based on age. Definitely open communication would be my first choice and I hope my children continue to feel comfortable talking to me as they get older. Thanks for sharing!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      This is a valuable hub to parents of children. Your tips and advice just may save a child's life. I think many parents do not know the signs of drug abuse and this will help to know, and to help them overcome the usage of drugs. Voted up!

    • christianajohan profile image


      6 years ago

      hi Rosann,

      Thanks. More power to your hubs.

    • roxanne459 profile imageAUTHOR

      Roxanne Lewis 

      6 years ago from Washington

      Thank you christianajohan. Your brother is very lucky to have someone who cares enough to pay such close attention to the signs! Good luck to you both :)

    • christianajohan profile image


      6 years ago

      My little brother is acting so strange these days. Thanks for these tips. This hub really helps.

      I want to test my brother on your hubs.



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