Home Drug Testing Your Teenager
If you suspect that your teenager may be using drugs and or alcohol, investigating it can be a touchy situation. If lines of communication have been kept open throughout adolescence, then asking him may be the only step necessary. Unfortunately, this is not the case for most teens and their parents. When not given an answer or not feeling able to ask at all, some parents resort to drug testing, either covertly or by coercion.
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A home drug test can be a good option because it gives both you and your teenager privacy and confidentiality. It can save both of you embarrassment, and optimally, can ease your mind. Studies have shown that home testing can prevent drug and alcohol abuse if done correctly.
Types of Drugs Tests You Can Do at Home
Urine – this is inexpensive, easy and can give immediate results. However, many teens are capable of altering the result. If a parent doesn’t demand to watch the sample being taken, they can’t be certain that the urine actually their child’s or that the child hasn’t diluted it in some way.
Blood – this is the most accurate of tests, but it is invasive and expensive.
Saliva – the test can be done virtually anywhere, it’s difficult to alter the results if watched testing, and the results can be immediate.
Hair – this is very expensive but can detect drug use over a period of time and is very accurate.
Some tests offer on-site reading (meaning you get the results right away at home) and others will require you to send specimens to a lab to be read.
The Down Side to Home Drug Testing
As with other home tests, there is the possibility of false negatives and positives. Some doctors don’t recommend home testing, but if you opt for it, be sure to do a couple tests the first time and then every few weeks.
In a perfect world, parents would have the key to preventing their teens from using drugs in the first place, and if asked, would be given an honest answer. Sadly, this isn’t the norm in our country. Open lines of communication are a good first step, but also know what signs to look for if your teen stops talking: loss of interest in activities, dropped grades, either fatigued or overly hyper, weight gain or loss, change of peer group, depression, loss of interest in family, mood swings, over reaction when accused of something, smells of alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana.