Kids are always a worry to parents and as they get older, those worries only seem to increase. A big worry for parents is the concern that their child might be experimenting with drugs. This is a big subject and we need to point out straight away – most young people don’t take drugs. In fact, over three-quarters of 11-15 year old children have never used drugs.
Despite drugs being a problem with only small numbers of young people, one trend worth noting is that the chances of them having ever used drugs does increase with age. At 11 years of age, 11% will have experimented with illegal substances. By the age of 15, 37% of youngsters will have tried drugs.
Anxious parents often get in touch with us when they suspect that their teenage son or daughter has been experimenting with drugs. Common questions include, “What is the best drugs test for parents to use?”, “What is the best way to drug test my teenager” or “What drug test kits are best to use at home?”
Drug testing teenagers is a controversial and difficult subject with no clear and correct course of action. Only the family themselves can decide the best and most appropriate way forward. When challenged, most teenagers will deny drug use, making it often difficult to get to the truth. This can make it very difficult for parents to decide on how they should check to find out if their child really has been using drugs.
Drug Testing Kits for Parents of Teenagers
One way of checking for drug use is by asking your teenager to agree to take a drug test. This sounds quite challenging but it need not be so. When home drug testing is carried out in an appropriate way, a schedule of regular drug testing can help the teenager to avoid peer pressure that might push them into trying drugs. It can also help them to focus on their parents’ concerns and take appropriate action.
Before You Buy A Drug Test Kit
We really believe that testing your teenager for drugs, should be a last resort. If you are worried that your child may be taking drugs or drinking, we suggest the following before you decide to start testing:
- Talk to them …. at an appropriate time. Don’t try and tackle this difficult subject when they might be high, or when they are in a dash to get to school.
- Get to know their friends. The biggest factor influencing alcohol use amongst young people is peer pressure. Children who have mates that drink alcohol are five times more likely to also drink than those who do not have mates that drink.
- Set a good example. Parents and carers are role models that children look up to. That may be hard to believe at times but you should never undervalue your influence on their behaviour.
- Get them to talk honestly to you. By encouraging your child to speak freely, you can hear the truth, rather than them just telling you what they think you want to hear.
- Keep calm. If your child has been experimenting with drugs, don’t panic. Discuss it with them and try to show your concern and love rather than anger.
What Drugs Should Parents Screen for?
If you do decide to go down the drug testing route, here’s some practical advice.
Teenagers might experiment with a number of recreational drugs, most of which can be screened for using a urine or saliva drug test. Alcohol is often the drug most abused by teenagers.The most used illegal drug is cannabis, with an estimated 8% of senior school pupils admitting to have tried the drug in the last 12 months. This figure rises to 14% for 16 to 19 year old people. Heroin and cocaine usage amongst the young is very uncommon.
In recent years, “legal highs” such as synthetic cannabis (K2/ Spice) have proven easy for teenagers to get hold of and experiment with. A wide range of illicit drugs, such as cannabis and cocaine, are also used by teenagers in the UK. More recently in the UK, use of the drug Xanax has become a problem. This belongs to a group of drugs known as Benzodiazepines, has become another drug that is causing parental concern.
For an initial screening, we always recommend a multi drug test kit. This type of drugs screen will detect a range of commonly used drugs. This type of drug test can be complemented by a drug screen for spice (which is not normally screened for in a multi drug test kit. Alcohol can also be screened for separately using a urine or saliva test. (Although alcohol is screened for in our 12 parameter drug test kit.)
What is The Best Drug Test Kit for Parents?
We always suggest that parents choose a urine screen to drug test teenagers. This is because a urine sample will allow drugs to be detected over a longer period (normally 3-5 days) when compared to a saliva drug test, that typically has a detection window of 12-36 hours.
If you put a drug testing agreement in place with your teenager, then urine drug testing is the best choice as it is the cheapest method of drug screening. Also, because of the long window of detection this type of drug testing offers, you won’t need to test as often. These two factors make regular, random drug testing an affordable option for parents.
Our Recommended Drug Test Kit for Parents
Saliva Drug Testing Can Also Be an Option
Saliva drug testing has it’s advantages too. These types of tests are easier to use and offer less opportunity to adulterate the sample. Also, these types of tests are ideal for immediate testing after events when drug taking may have taken place. They can detect current or recent drug impairment when teenagers return from a night out with their friends or other “at risk” occasions.
Where Can I Buy a Drug Test Kit ?
Zoom Testing can supply drug testing kits online with same day shipping. Alternatively, some local chemists & pharmacies may stock drug testing kits, although they will probably be less extensive and more expensive than those tests offered here.
Photo Credit: denebola2025 on flickr
Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.
This post was originally published in 2015 and has been updated since.