The Truth About Home Drug Testing for Teens

  1. Should You Drug Test Your Child?
  2. Drug testing your child: the challenges
  3. Is testing an invasion of my kid’s privacy?
  4. What type of test is best?
  5. Are you willing to observe?
  6. What about other types of tests?
  7. Why it’s best to leave drug screening to the professionals
  8. Drug Testing at Home: Pros & Cons of a Home Drug Test for Teens
  9. Why Parents May Want to Drug Test Their Teens
  10. Home Drug Tests Can Be Harmful
  11. Tips for Parents Who Decide to Drug Test
  12. Know Your Test (Accuracy and How It Works)
  13. Consider Whether You Will Conduct an Observed Drug Test
  14. Prepare Yourself for False Results (False Negative or False Positive)
  15. Discuss Drug Testing with Your Teen’s Pediatrician
  16. The Pros and Cons of Home Drug Tests For Teenagers
  17. So, what are the pros and cons of home drug tests?
  18. What’s the Best Way to Give a Drug Test?
  19. If the drug test Is positive, what then?
  20. Drug testing your family | drug test for teens
  21. Testing your family can help deter temptation!
  22. Don’t be afraid to ask questions
  23. What are Drugs of Abuse?
  24. How does a urine drug test work?
  25. What are cut-off levels?
  26. What is a negative test result?
  27. What is a false positive?
  28. What factors can affect the result of a test?
  29. What is the accuracy of a urine test and how sensitive is it?
  30. If the result is negative, can I be sure they are not abusing drugs?
  31. Concerned about Marijuana abuse? Here is the test for you. Multi-Level Marijuana Test
  32. What is synthetic marijuana or K2 spice?
  33. Does a standard drug test detect Synthetic Marijuana?
  34. Can I test toilet water after use instead of urine?
  35. How should I store drug test kits?
  36. Did you know you are legally responsible for your family’s actions?
  37. Alarming statistics regarding drug abuse
  38. How to deter drug abuse at home
  39. How to Identify suspect powder and pills with a residue test
  40. In Conclusion
  41. Drug Testing at Home: Parent’s Guide to Drug Testing Teens
  42. Is Your Teen Using Drugs?
  43. When to Drug Test Your Teen
  44. Where to Get a Home Drug Test
  45. Administering a Home Drug Test for Teens
  46. What to Do If Your Teen’s Drug Test is Positive

Should You Drug Test Your Child?

The Truth About Home Drug Testing for Teens

As a parent searching for answers, you may be considering drug testing with the expectation that it will discourage your child from experimenting with drugs, hopefully preventing a world of hurt down the road.

If you suspect your child is already using substances, you may assume that testing will discourage experimental use before it escalates into serious use or addiction.

However, many experts recommend against drug testing our kids unless it is done by a medical professional, and only when it is truly warranted.

Drug testing your child: the challenges

Timing is tricky because various drugs react very differently. For example, marijuana leaves the system slowly and may result in positive tests for several days or even a month, depending on the amount and frequency of use. On the other hand, cocaine, heroin and meth generally clear the system very quickly, usually in one to three days.

With that in mind, should you test once a week or more often? On Monday mornings? The day after a party or social event? Random tests provide the element of surprise, but they also present the possibility that your timing will be off and your child will test negative, even if they have used during the past few days.

Is testing an invasion of my kid’s privacy?

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that testing can be an invasive breach of trust that may damage the relationship between parent and child. If not done correctly, you may be viewed as a police officer rather than a parent, which does little to promote a healthy, trusting relationship. Regaining lost trust with a son or daughter who feels betrayed is never easy.

In general, it’s risky to test your child without a really good reason. A kid who has no intention of experimenting with drugs or alcohol will understandably resent the lack of trust indicated by testing without clear justification.

What type of test is best?

There isn’t a single test that will detect all substances, and a kit from your neighborhood pharmacy might test negative for one drug while totally missing others. No test casts a wide enough net to catch every possible drug.

Most standard urine and saliva kits test for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines and PCP, while more sophisticated at-home tests will also detect barbiturates, benzodiazepines, methadone and certain prescription painkillers. Specialized, more expensive tests are necessary if you suspect your child is using LSD, mushrooms or inhalants.

Are you willing to observe?

It’s almost certain that your teen will resent you watching closely as she fills the bottle, but, if so motivated, many kids know ways of getting around a urine test.

For example, bleach or other substances are often used to adulterate drug tests, and purchased or “borrowed” urine is frequently used to escape detection. Kids are aware that a variety of options are available online, at any neighborhood head shop, or even at many all-night convenience stores.

Also, claims of “I don’t need to pee right now” or “I can’t go with you watching,” are ly to result in heated arguments between parent and child.

What about other types of tests?

Hair testing sounds a viable, non-invasive alternative to urine testing, but hair samples won’t detect use in the last week to 10 days and may be skewed by rate of hair growth, hygiene or use of cosmetics, dyes or bleaches. Hair testing generally isn’t an option for occasional or recent drug use, but is generally used for heavy use that has occurred over an extended time. The long window of detection makes hair tests impractical for parents.

Similarly, saliva tests are easy and less invasive than urine tests, and many detect drugs before the substances are detectable in urine.

The problem is that a savvy young adult may find ways of generating more saliva to dilute the test, and smoking cigarettes may also skew the results.

In order for saliva tests to be effective, you’ll need to ensure your child is supervised for 30 minutes prior to sampling.

Why it’s best to leave drug screening to the professionals

Dr. Sharon Levy, Director, Adolescent Substance Use and Addiction Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, recommends against home drug testing. In Dr.

Levy’s words, “I am not at all convinced that drug testing is useful as a preventive tool; it is a terrible tool for identifying use (since most teen and young adult drug use is sporadic, which is very unly to be picked up by a random test), and it is certainly not a stand-alone treatment for a substance use disorder.”

Further, some kids will switch using one substance for another in an attempt to avoid a positive drug screen. For example, some teens who enjoy smoking marijuana will switch to a synthetic form K2 or Spice to beat a marijuana drug screen, often with disastrous outcomes.

“If you suspect your child has a substance use problem or disorder, my suggestion would be to drop the drug kit and to speak with a health professional,” recommends Dr. Levy.


Drug Testing at Home: Pros & Cons of a Home Drug Test for Teens

The Truth About Home Drug Testing for Teens

It is now possible to conduct a drug test for teens at home. One advantage of an at-home drug test is that it is conducted in the privacy of one’s own home and can be done so at a relatively affordable price.

Depending on the substance, prices range from under $10 for a marijuana testing kit to much higher prices for kits that test multiple drugs at once.

If there are concerns or even suspicions about a teenager using drugs, at-home drug tests offer a way to assess drug use and open the door for direct communication. However, drug testing at home is not so clear-cut and comes with several disadvantages.

Why Parents May Want to Drug Test Their Teens

The impulse to drug test teens is an understandable one. Youth drug testing can be the first step in identifying a problem. Parents may choose to drug test their teens for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To prevent early substance abuse: How can parents prevent drug use in teens? It might be tempting to begin drug-testing children while they are young and even before they may have experimented with drugs. While it is wise to think about prevention early and often, there is not any evidence to suggest that drug testing is an effective method for teen substance abuse prevention.
  • To discourage further drug use: If a teen currently uses drugs, parents may be tempted to use at-home drug testing to confirm their suspicions. They may also continue drug testing to confirm there is no longer teen drug use. Again, there is little evidence to suggest that home tests are effective at preventing future drug use. Additionally, drug tests can be manipulated in a variety of ways.
  • To determine whether drugs are being used: How can parents detect teen drug use? Unfortunately, there is not a single drug test that can detect every drug teens may be using. Drug tests may become outdated as new drugs surface constantly. In the absence of other evidence (declining scholastic performance, odd behavior, etc.), one drug test alone may not give accurate results. Importantly, energy drinks can give false positives on certain drug tests.

Home Drug Tests Can Be Harmful

While home drug tests for teens are safe for them physically, there are other serious risks that need to be considered. Communication between parents and teens is extremely important and vital to a functioning relationship. There are healthy ways to talk to teens about this difficult subject.

Asking for or demanding a home drug test is sending the message that there is no trust.

Even worse, deciding to drug test your teenager without them knowing is sure to be taken as highly invasive and a violation of their privacy.

Whatever information is gleaned from a drug test, however flawed, could severely damage relationships between parents and their teens and can often encourage teens to be less communicative and increase their drug use.

Tips for Parents Who Decide to Drug Test

If a home drug test for teens is deemed absolutely necessary by parents or guardians, there are several considerations about the type of test, its accuracy, who will conduct the test and the expected results. Parents should never conduct a drug test on a whim without understanding all the potential outcomes.

Know Your Test (Accuracy and How It Works)

Parents may wonder, “How do I test my teenager for drugs?” If considering a specific test, parents must be familiar with how to test their teens for drugs. This involves reading the instructions on the packaging carefully, in full, and before administering the test.

The test should be conducted and interpreted properly. There are a number of home drug testing kits available, each with its own set of guidelines. Some tests use saliva and others need a urine sample.

Some tests look for evidence of the use of just one substance while more expensive kits attempt to assess the sample for a number of drugs.

Finally, pay close attention to how long the test takes to detect drug use. Evidence for different substances remains in different sample types for different amounts of time. For example, marijuana may be present in the urine for far longer than it is present in saliva, effecting a positive or negative on a drug test.

Consider Whether You Will Conduct an Observed Drug Test

Parents must decide if they will be physically present for every step of sample collection. Since many tests require urine samples, this can be a fairly delicate matter and certainly one that you must consider very carefully.

One way that drug tests can be falsified is by providing “borrowed” samples or those that teenagers have taken from a friend whom they know is not using drugs. Watching the sample collection process can be very tense. Having a parent insist on an observed drug test where the collection process is so personal could potentially cause deep humiliation that leads to resentment.

Prepare Yourself for False Results (False Negative or False Positive)

Even if everything is done right in the collection and analysis of a home drug test, it is still possible that the results could be either false negatives (wrongly called as negative; the teen was actually using the drug) or false positives (wrongly called as positive; the teen was not actually using the drug).

The internet is rife with rumors about what might cause false positives, such as energy drinks. However, not every source of such errors has been determined.

Alternatively, false-negative drug tests can fail to show evidence of a substance that has been consumed.

In the case of a urine test, this can be intentionally caused by diluting the sample by drinking large amounts of water before the test.

Discuss Drug Testing with Your Teen’s Pediatrician

If trying to determine the best way to drug test teenagers or even determine if teens should be drug tested, it may be wise to consult their pediatrician. They will be able to advise you on an appropriate and effective drug test for teens and even help to preserve the relationships between parents and teens.

If your teen is struggling with addiction and any co-occurring mental health conditions, contact the Next Generation Village today. A representative can discuss recovery programs offered and can provide tips about at-home drug tests.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes.

We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.


The Pros and Cons of Home Drug Tests For Teenagers

The Truth About Home Drug Testing for Teens

Teenagers. Even ones who don’t get into trouble can raise their parents’ blood pressure to the level of an ER visit. But what about the ones who are skirting the line, maybe taking illegal drugs, in danger of getting in trouble with the law? What's a parent to do?

For those who think their children are abusing drugs, there is the option of readily available in-home drug screens. They have become much less expensive in recent years. A marijuana screen may cost as little as $1.

There is a lot of controversy over resorting to drug screening. But having worked for nearly 11 years in Multisystemic Therapy (MST), I see drug tests as a huge parenting “win.” Knowledge is power.

If you believe there is a problem, you can act.

 First, let's address some questions.

  • What are the benefits of in-home drug screens? The negatives?
  • If you become concerned about potential drug use and decide to give your child a test, what’s the best way to do it?
  • How should you respond to a positive drug screen?
  • Once you confirm your child has been using drugs, what are your next steps?  

So, what are the pros and cons of home drug tests?

The issue of parents giving drug tests has become a polarizing one with mental-health providers on both sides of the fence.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released this statement in 2007: “Drug testing poses substantial risks—in particular, the risk of harming the parent-child relationship by creating an environment of resentment, distrust, and suspicion.” Many other providers disagree, including most MST clinicians.

Parenting consultant Karen Alonge blogged in 2008, “Random drug testing can be a fantastic deterrent to peer pressure. ‘No way, my parents could test me anytime’ is a pretty strong reason to ‘Just Say No’ that other kids easily understand.”

There are merits in both statements. Yes, drug testing at home poses risks. It might lead to a heated argument. Your child could get angry and feel you don’t trust him. He could become skilled at “fooling” the test or start using something for which you don’t test.

On the other hand, you might learn of a problem before it grows into something bigger and more dangerous. You could prevent future legal charges.

Most importantly, this has the potential of creating an opportunity to insert yourself more fully into the life of your teenager, learn about her struggles, get to know her friends and offer a higher level of accountability.

What’s the Best Way to Give a Drug Test?

First, develop a game plan. How will you explain what your child might see as a gross invasion of privacy and lack of trust? It’s not going to be easy. Find some support, have your partner practice the conversation with you, and do it together.

Or, if you’re a single parent, have a friend come over whom your child will trust. Do it in a non-confrontational way by explaining your concerns and discussing what will happen if the test comes back positive or negative.

Decide on incentives for clean drug screens and consequences if the test comes back positive.

Next, find a way to increase your chances of getting accurate results. Teenagers are sometimes smart and creative in “playing” a drug test. Some caregivers choose to have the same-sex parent or relative observe as the youth takes the test. Others have turned off the water or put tape across the sink, making it easier to see if the water has been turned on.

Be prepared for refusal. If your child will not take the test, decide what you will do next. Many parents have been successful by treating refusal as a positive screen and giving the same consequences until the teenager complies with submitting to the test.

If you have concerns that you might not be able to handle conflicts that arise, speak to a mental-healthcare provider before you screen or consider having the test performed by your primary-care physician. Lastly, offer contingencies.

Take away a privilege that is important to your child, allowing him or her to earn it back when the drug screen comes back negative.

If the drug test Is positive, what then?

If your fears are confirmed and your child has been using drugs, there are some important questions to ask yourself as a parent. First, do you need outside help? If your child is already in treatment, speak with his or her mental-healthcare provider. If not, turn to your primary-care physician.

He or she can give a follow-up test to ensure that your child is not using substances that you did not test for and make referrals for more support, as needed. Second, learn as much as you can about when and where your child is using drugs.

Who are his friends? Where does he spend time when he is not at home? Consider having a friend or neighbor help you keep tabs on your child or enroll him in a positive activity to take up any unstructured time, reducing the opportunity for drug use.

You might want to sweep your home for drugs, as suggested by the Partnership for a Drug Free America. “Search for drugs and drug paraphernalia.

If you want to collect concrete evidence of your child’s drug use before your intervention, here are some good places to look: dresser drawers, desk drawers, backpacks, the glove compartment of the car, the back of closets, corners of bed sheets, under the mattress or bed, small boxes, books/book cases, make up cases, over-the-counter medicine bottles, and empty candy wrappers.”

If you do locate drugs, decide how you want to dispose of them. Some parents flush them down the toilet or throw them away. Others have found that you can anonymously surrender them to law enforcement, but it will be important to check to see how this is handled in your community.

Teenage substance use is a complex problem. But, it is a problem that parents should be empowered to help solve. Be encouraged that you can influence your teenagers to make positive changes.

Our children need us to stay informed and involved—and identify the problem.

Inexpensive and easily accessible drug screens will in some small measure, put parents back in the driver’s seat and allow us to take action to protect our children.

If you are looking for an effective treatment for teen drug misuse, download this whitepaper: MST is a Proven Treatment for Substance-abusing Teens. 


Drug testing your family | drug test for teens

The Truth About Home Drug Testing for Teens

At-home drug tests are used by parents as often as is necessary and can be the single most significant deterrent in preventing family drug abuse. Never, ever give advanced warning before testing. We understand that this can be an anxious time, but you are doing this to deter or control drug abuse and ultimately protect your family.

Note: Teens will often add compounds (adulterants) to their urine samples to hide or mask drug use and they may even use fake urine to pass the test. If you use a Specimen Validity Test, you can check their urine whenever you are suspicious.

Always use a Specimen container to collect the urine sample.

And always check the temperature of their urine sample before testing. Finally, make sure the urine has an ‘odor.’

Try our starter surface test to detect up to forty different drugs by merely wiping a surface you suspect. Or take a look at our full range of Drug Residue Tests. These products can not only detect unknown substances but identify them too. Use on any surface, unidentified pills and liquids.

Testing your family can help deter temptation!

For many reasons testing your loved ones is a quick and economical way to determine possible drug abuse. For a parent, the decision to start a testing program using at-home tests may be too challenging to contemplate.

But when you find evidence of drug paraphernalia around the home or see sudden behavioral changes, you must consider the next step. The use of at-home drug test kits is the solution and will identify drugs of abuse in their system.

This will help with the road to recovery and also understanding the problem. Here is a link to our products—at-home drug tests.

The fact that you are reading this page probably means you need testing for your loved ones. They may object at first, saying that “you don’t trust me or I don’t take drugs.

” Tell them that you do trust them, but you want to be sure they are safe. Explain the dangers and the ultimate long-term effects on their health. Tell them not to be persuaded by their friends who take drugs for fun.

Explain the avoidance of peer pressure and how they should be proud of being clean.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Don’t be afraid to ask them questions. If you doubt their answers, search their room, check their bags, or use one of our tried and trusted drug residue test kits.

These products are designed to detect and identify drug residue on work surfaces, a computer keyboard, mouse, clothing, and paraphernalia.

These tests will confirm your suspicions one way or the other, and no one will know you used them because the product leaves no trace after use.

What are Drugs of Abuse?

  • Drug of abuse (DOA) are drugs that are either illegal prescription or street drugs that a user consumes in amounts or with methods that are harmful to themselves.

How does a urine drug test work?

  • The urine drug test detects Drugs of Abuse from human urine, the analysis takes between three to five minutes to develop as urine is absorbed into the testing device called the immunoassay. The urine test panel is a competitive binding, lateral flow immunochromatographic assay with a qualitative and simultaneous detection of many drugs.

What are cut-off levels?

  • The cut-off level is the threshold at which the result goes from negative to positive. It’s the point when the device is designed to react and indicate the analysis is positive. If the result is positive, it’s above the cut-off level. If it’s below, it is deemed to be negative. Cut-off levels are set by The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the government agency responsible for these settings. The cut-off level is the specified concentration of a drug in a sample. Above that concentration, the test is presumed positive, and below that concentration, it is negative. Note: The cut-off level varies depending on which drug is analyzed.

What is a negative test result?

  • A negative result means that the test device was not able to detect the presence of a drug. But the method used may only be designed to identify specific substances, so a negative is only negative for that substance. There can be many reasons why the result was negative. Examples include testing for the wrong drug, adulterating a dirty sample by the donor, or the drug of concern that has already been excreted by the body.

What is a false positive?

  • A false positive can happen when some food items or over-the-counter medications cross-react with a drug test to produce an erroneous result. Cough medicines and bagels with poppy seeds are examples that may also cause false positives. While this can happen, we have only seen it on rare occasions.

What factors can affect the result of a test?

  • Many factors can compromise the correct result. Examples are a diluted sample, a sample that has been adulterated, substituted, or compromised by the donor. Fake urine, testing for a drug that is not on the test, or the time from when the drug was consumed to when the test took place. Many drugs of abuse are not detectable after 72 hours.

What is the accuracy of a urine test and how sensitive is it?

  • A rapid urine test is very accurate, typically over 90%, determined by its cut-off level, are set in stone by NIDA. The sensitivity depends on the brand and the drug that is being analyzed. There is no doubt that some brands are better than others. If a drug is present in the body system in sufficient quantity, the test would be positive. A presumptive positive sample should be sent to a laboratory for confirmatory quantitative analysis.

If the result is negative, can I be sure they are not abusing drugs?

  • No, several factors can make the test negative, substitute urine, sample dilution, overhydration, and adulteration; If you suspect a person might be taking drugs, test again for other types of drugs, or talk to your doctor for advice.

Concerned about Marijuana abuse? Here is the test for you. Multi-Level Marijuana Test

Multi-Level Marijuana drug test kit

This test is great for telling you if a loved one uses Marijuana (THC). The best part is that it tells you how much is in their system and whether they are an occasional or habitual user.

How does it do that? There are four different tests on each card. From left to right–you can see 20, 50, 100, and 200 ng; Each window has a different sensitivity level, and each one will tell you how much THC is in their system.

Click the Multi-Level Marijuana drug test kit for more information.

What is synthetic marijuana or K2 spice?

  • K2/K3 spice drugs are psychoactive chemicals known as synthetic cannabinoids. These chemicals mimic the effect of Marijuana and are sold legally in the US under the guise of herbal incense.

Does a standard drug test detect Synthetic Marijuana?

  • No, a standard drug test does not detect Synthetic Marijuana. All drug tests look for a specific metabolite of a drug. Synthetic Marijuana produces a different metabolite to Marijuana, so a regular THC / Marijuana test will not pick it up. The test has to be specific for K2/K3 Spice. Many devices include a check for synthetic marijuana as well as other drugs in one assay.

Can I test toilet water after use instead of urine?

  • Drug testing devices are designed for testing human urine only. They are chemiluminescent immunoassay and only provide accurate results on human urine samples. Do not test toilet water; it will serve no conclusive result.

How should I store drug test kits?

  • Store testing products between 35° and 85°F in a dry place. Do not use the test kit beyond its expiry date, and do not use it if the pouch is punctured or not well sealed. Make sure to keep them away from children.

Did you know you are legally responsible for your family’s actions?

  • The costs to you with legal fees and rehabilitation can amount to thousands of dollars, especially if they’re involved in a drug-related accident. Drug testing your family can help safeguard you against this possibility because you are legally responsible for them until they reach twenty-one as a parent or guardian. Testing your family on-the-other-hand costs only a few dollars.

Alarming statistics regarding drug abuse

A comprehensive study on teens who admitted to taking drugs.

  • 12% have used inhalants.
  • 21% used marijuana in the past 30 days.
  • 25% used illegal drugs in the past 30 days.
  • 36% used pot in the past year.
  • 41% of teens used illicit drugs in the past year.
  • 48% of the teen population has tried marijuana.
  • 53 % of the teen population has tried illegal drugs.
  • 57% have smoked cigarettes.
  • 78% have used alcohol.

Statistics provided by NIDA.

How to deter drug abuse at home

Drug testing your family is a way to deter your loved ones from using drugs. Regular testing will help discourage them and remove the temptation of abuse.

Most teens understand that being regularly tested means their parents have a policy of ‘NO DRUG USE IN THE FAMILY‘ and to prevent the attraction of peer pressure from friends.

 Hopefully, they will realize that all you are doing is to guide them to a safer future.

When confronted, your loved ones will almost certainly deny having ever tried or experimented with drugs. Explain the dangers of drug abuse and where it can lead.

 Ill health, addiction, crime are all consequences; the long-term outcome is often death.  Explain the dangers of mixing drugs with alcohol.

Substance abuse alone can be dangerous, but it can have a catastrophic result when combined with alcohol.

Explain that prescription drugs are not safe and are prescribed for a reason, and abusing them can lead to addiction. Lock your medicine cabinet and check the contents of prescription drugs regularly.

Smoking marijuana is also a severe threat.  The smoke, when inhaled, is carcinogenic and can potentially cause cancer and brain damage.

 Tell them how much you care and want them to lead a long and healthy life.

Turn on the news, every day, we hear about drug-related deaths. In the USA, over twelve thousand people die each year due to drug-related accidents, and nearly one million a year are arrested on related charges.

How to Identify suspect powder and pills with a residue test

This product is beneficial if you have found a bag with powder in it or pills, including prescription pills. Or you may have found some paraphernalia-a pipe, silver paper with burn marks on it, or even a syringe. With the above tests, it’s possible to detect and identify many illicit and prescription drugs within seconds.

In Conclusion

All in all, communicate with your family, socialize with them, show them they are loved, understand their problems, and discuss solutions. Here is a great place to start with guidance on drugs and drug abuse


Drug Testing at Home: Parent’s Guide to Drug Testing Teens

The Truth About Home Drug Testing for Teens

You may find that drug testing is necessary when you suspect someone close to you is using drugs.

Many times those who find it necessary to drug test someone close to them are parents who have a teenager they suspect may be using drugs.

There are several types of home drug tests that can be used to find out if your teenager is using drugs, and learning how to administer these tests can be the difference between finding out if your teenager is using drugs or not.

Is Your Teen Using Drugs?

Many parents wonder if their teen may be using substances. Regardless of your background or status, your teen may be exposed to peers who use drugs, and you could be completely unaware of it. There are warning signs that should trigger you to suspect that your teenager is using drugs and examine this possibility more closely.

Some warning signs of teen substance abuse include:

  • Poor performance at school
  • Deceptive behavior
  • Acting strange or differently
  • Being more tired or sleepy than normal
  • Being more hyper than normal
  • Smelling alcohol or drugs
  • Increased forgetfulness
  • Decreases in personal hygiene
  • Frequently being late or forgetting obligations

If your teen is exhibiting any of these warning signs, then you may consider using a home drug test to find out if your teenager is using drugs.

When to Drug Test Your Teen

If you are considering testing your teen for drugs, know that some experts view doing so as potentially damaging to your relationship with your teenager. Drug testing your teen may be the right decision, but you should carefully weigh the negative consequences with the benefits.

If you do notice signs of drug use in your teen and decide to perform an at-home drug test, then the timing for this test should be random and unexpected. Doing a home drug test right after you have indicated you are suspicious may give your teen time to prepare.

Teens that use drugs and are expecting a drug test may try to clear a drug from their system or try to find a way to get around the test.

If your teen is showing symptoms of drug use, it may also be a good time to test them, as it will still ly be detectable if it is causing symptoms.

Where to Get a Home Drug Test

You can get a home drug test kit from a variety of sources. The type of kit needed will also determine its availability. If marijuana is all you need to test for, you can typically get a marijuana test kit at most convenience stores.

However, parents will typically want to test for a broader range of drugs. Most pharmacies sell drug test kits that will test for substances that are commonly abused, and you can also purchase home drug test kits online.

Just keep in mind that you should only purchase these tests from a reputable online source. Testing for alcohol may require a separate test.

Administering a Home Drug Test for Teens

When using an at-home drug test, it is vital to ensure that you have an accurate sample. Teens who have used drugs may try to supply you with something besides urine, or urine that is not their own or not fresh.

Teens may do this by hiding someone else’s urine in a bag in their pants and then pretend to urinate while emptying the bag into a cup.

There are multiple ways to fake giving a true sample while not actually providing the sample yourself.

Each urine drug test is different, depending on the manufacturer, but there are certain components that are typically consistent. Once you have the sample, you will typically apply the sample to a collection site in the test.

The test will have to develop for a certain length of time that depends on the test purchased. Most tests will have two lines for each substance being tested. One line is a control line that should always be present and which tests that the test is actually working and valid.

The second line is the test line, and if the test line is present, even faintly, it means the test for that drug is negative. If there is no line, it means the test is positive.

Each test may vary, and you should carefully read the instructions on how to administer the test and interpret its results before you use it.

  • Understanding the Detection Window: When you drug test your teen, you should carefully read the instructions to determine how long the drugs can be detected. Often, drugs can only be detected for 1–10 days in the urine, depending on the drug and test.
  • Overlooking Frequently Abused Substances: Your home drug test may be accurate, but will only test for common drugs used by teens. Some substances may not show up on a drug test. Often alcohol will be used, but it is not tested for in a normal home drug test. Related: Does alcohol show up on a drug test
  • False Negatives: A false negative while using a home urine drug test is uncommon, but can occur if your teen has diluted the sample. You should read the instructions of the test you purchase to find the exact false-negative rates for your particular drug test.
  • False Positives: False positive drug tests are rare, but can occur. You should read the instruction manual that comes with your drug test to find substances or conditions that can lead to false positives. For example, energy drinks may cause false positives in some drug test kits.

What to Do If Your Teen’s Drug Test is Positive

If you are using a home drug test for your teen and you get a positive result, then it is very ly that your teen is using a dangerous, potentially addictive substance.

Continued substance use can lead your teen to try stronger, more dangerous drugs and raise the risk that they will join the tens of thousands of people who die each year from a drug overdose.

Even if your teen does not overdose, they will be more ly to suffer from addiction throughout life if they use substances in their youth, as well as from the negative health and social effects that substance abuse can cause.

Immediate intervention is necessary, and you should take your teen to see an addiction specialist to find out if treatments or teen drug rehab may be necessary. By intervening quickly, you will be able to help your teen have the best chance of recovery that they can.

If you have a teen that suffers from addiction, professional help will provide them with their best chance of recovery. The Recovery Village has a strong record of helping teens who are starting to or have already developed addictions. Reach out to one of our understanding team members to learn about options to help your teen start on their path to recovery today. 

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