Teenagers are often at least a little reclusive and protective of their privacy but how do you know if that’s because they are only being a teenager or if there’s something more going on? Many of the same behaviors we associate with teens are also associated with those who are abusing drugs. Parents often become concerned that there may be a problem and don’t know how to go about getting an honest answer. The truth is that of all the ways you could get that answer the clearest is probably by having your teen complete a drug test.
Two Forms of Testing
There are two different types of drug testing to evaluate before you begin the process of deciding which test to use. These are lab testing and instant home testing. Each has its advantages and weaknesses but overall which option you decide on has more to do with time and preference.
Instant Drug Testing: These tests are cheaper and easy to do on your own. This form means having results in your home in a short period of time (usually 5-30 minutes) which saves on time and offers you complete privacy. It also means that you may have a limited list of drugs that these tests can pick up as well as a less definitive result. There are false positives and false negatives on occasion but you can have these results confirmed by sending the test on to a lab for verification.
Laboratory Drug Testing: A lab test is more consistent and errors are far less likely to occur. The entire cost of the drug test kit, testing and shipping are generally included in the total cost which is convenient. There is usually a far broader range of drug that can be tested for as well. It will mean mailing the sample to the laboratory and waiting for about a week for results however.
Methods of Drug Testing
So where do you begin? There are several different types of drug testing and they all have their strengths and weaknesses, below are these drug tests and some information about each.
- Saliva: This test is best for if you feel the use has occurred very recently. Drug metabolites and traces of the drugs themselves don’t stay long in saliva, making the test most appropriate for recent use. It is quick and easily done by swabbing the inner cheeks of the subject and can be conducted anywhere.
- Urine: A urine screen isn’t as messy as you might be thinking. You will likely have to monitor your teen as they give the sample but the process is quick, efficient and involved only inserting a test swab or using a dropper to transfer enough to a testing tablet to get your results. This form allows you to test for ten different drugs and you can choose a lab test if you don’t feel comfortable with doing an instant test at home.
- Hair: Hair drug testing has by far the longest detection window among all drug testing methods. Using hair for testing for teenage drug abuse is also cheating proof since all the drug test cheating methods that can be used in urinalysis will not be applicable with hair testing. However detection starts later (a few days after use) and usually it takes a little more to be detected. Another disadvantage of hair testing is its slightly higher price. Also there is no instant hair drug test available so you need to wait a few more days to get the result from the laboratory.
There is no bad or good drug testing method when it comes to drug testing your teenager. They all serve a different purpose in terms of what drugs they detect with how much use, how fast they detect, how convenient and cheating proof they are and so on. It is usually best to utilize more than one drug testing method to cover most of the questions you have in your mind and to make the point to your teenager that you are serious.
Regardless of what method drug testing you are going to use for your teenager, one thing you should always keep in your mind: “Communication”. Talk to your teenager, tell him or her the why’s, what’s and how’s.