Did you know that it's possible to drug test a teen or loved one suspected of abusing drugs at home? If you have reason to believe or have just discovered your child is using drugs, don't panic.
According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, one in eight teenagers, abused an illicit substance in 2021. This shows that drug abuse among teenagers is a serious problem. It also proves that you are not alone in the fight against drug use.
As a guardian or parent, you need to know the signs of drug use and learn how to administer tests to find out if your teenager or loved one is using drugs or not. Here is a brief preparation to lay a foundation for positive outcomes ahead.
Warning Signs That Your Teen or Loved One Is Using Drugs
Many parents often wonder whether their teen or loved one is abusing substances. Regardless of your status or background, your teen may be influenced by peers who use drugs, and you may fail to notice it completely. Here are signs that could lead you to suspect that they are using drugs:
1. Changes in Behavior
Your teen or loved one may be introverted and withdrawn by nature, which is normal. But if they are an extrovert and suddenly get quiet or an introvert who gets further withdrawn, it's a cause for concern. Watch out for these behaviors:
- Locking doors
- Missing class, work, or extra-curricular activities
- Avoiding eye contact
- Disappearing for extended periods
2. Changes in Regular Habits
A change in regular habits is usually the first thing parents and guardians notice. But these changes can look like isolated events. You may sense something is not right if you see some of these changes together.
- Poorer grades
- An increased appetite and new cravings
- Sudden lack of appetite
- Change in friends
- Reports of misbehavior in class
3. Unusual Changes at Home
Some things are obvious signs that your teenager or loved one is using drugs, such as finding a stash of drugs hidden when cleaning. Watch out for unusual changes like:
- Missing alcohol, over-the-counter medications, or prescription drugs
- Drug paraphernalia like butane lighters, eye drops, syringes, and smoking devices
- Wrappers or containers that you can't recognize
- Unexplainable dents in the car
4. Changes in Physical Appearance
Physical changes vary depending on the substance the person uses and can be challenging to spot. Watch out for:
- Tremors or shaking
- Bloodshot eyes
- Flushed cheeks
- Soot on lips or fingers
- Unexplained wounds or bruises on arms
- Unusual breath or smell on clothing
- Disheveled appearance
- A runny nose without a cold
What to Do if You Suspect Your Teen or Loved One Is Using Drugs
Teenagers lie about using drugs even when they know they will get caught. Studies show that parental involvement plays an integral role in preventing adolescent drug use. Here are things you can do to contain potential damage.
1. Be Ready to Be Called a Hypocrite
Your child or your loved one may want to know whether you have ever used drugs. When talking to them, put a lot of emphasis on them and not you. For example, you could tell them that you drank and tried drugs to fit in among your peers but later discovered that it was not a good reason.
Focus on explaining that substances affect people differently, and just because it didn't harm you does not mean it may not harm them. The response you give should not be a justification for substance use. Ultimately, you want to keep your child safe and healthy.
If you use tobacco or vape and your teenager happens to call you out, tell them that it's legal and that you are an adult, but you understand that is not healthy. Let them know how challenging it is to stop, and you want them to avoid making the same mistakes.
2. Be On the Same Page
It is normal for teenagers to turn to one parent when the other is against them. It's best for parents or any person you share parenting responsibilities with to be on the same page before talking about substance use with your child.
Remember that no one is to blame and reach an agreement on the decision you'll make. Present a united front even if you disagree and avoid undermining or talking bad to each other. When talking to your teenager or loved one, do so from a place of love.
3. Gather Evidence
It's understandable not to want to go through your child's room or their belongings. But it's your responsibility to ensure they are safe and healthy.
Keep in mind that they may deny responsibility and claim that they are holding the drugs for someone else. Be ready for the conversation ahead, even if you don't have concrete evidence. The most common hiding places are:
- Under the bed
- Inside or between books
- Inside prescription medication containers
- Purses or backpacks
- Dresser drawers or between clothes
4. Expect Anger but Be Calm
Be prepared for your teenager or loved ones to utter things that will shock you, deny any evidence, and accuse you of distrust. But as their guardian, you need to handle any resentful reaction by having a conversation and not a confrontation.
Don't be tempted to respond with anger regardless of what they say. If the conversation gets out of hand, you can pause and discuss it later. Let your teen know that you love them, and that is why you are concerned.
4. Set Practical Goals
Keep expectations low of getting the desired outcome from your conversation with your teenager or loved one. You don't expect them to accept that they use drugs and promise to stop.
Letting them know that you don't want them using drugs could be a win. Set a realistic goal and take one step at a time towards achieving it.
When to Do a Rapid Drug Test on Your Teenager or Loved One
Some experts say that drug testing can potentially ruin your relationship with your loved one or teenager. Even though it may be a good decision, you need to weigh the benefits and negative consequences. If you have high suspicions that your teenager is using drugs and decide to do an at-home drug test, the test should be unexpected and random.
Otherwise, they may suspect and have enough time to attempt to clear the drugs from the system or find a way to avoid the test. The best time to test is when they show symptoms of drug use because that's when the test will be likely detectable.
Administering a Home Drug Test for Teens and Loved Ones
Ensure you get an accurate sample when testing your teen or loved one suspected of using drugs at home. Teenagers are very cunning and may supply you with urine that is not fresh or not their own. They may hide another person's urine in their pants in a tiny bag and pretend they are urinating, but in reality, they are emptying the bag into a cup.
Different manufacturers make different saliva and urine drug tests. But the components are usually consistent. Once you get the urine sample, apply it to a collection site provided in the test and wait for the stated length of time for one or two lines to appear for the substance being tested. The control line shows that the test is valid and working.
The second line is the test line, and if it appears even faintly, it shows that the result is negative. But if there is no second line, the test is positive. Each test is different, so it's essential to read the instructions to know how to do the test and interpret the results before using it.
What to Do if Your Teen or Loved One Tests Positive
If you perform a home drug test on your teenager or loved one and the results turn positive, they're using a potentially addictive and dangerous substance. Let your healthcare provider repeat the test to confirm the results.
Continued use may lead them to try something stronger, which increases the risk of a drug overdose. If they don't overdose, they are highly likely to suffer from addiction for the rest of their lives.
Seek immediate intervention by taking your teenager or loved one to an addiction specialist. They will let you know whether treatment or rehabilitation is necessary. Getting help will ensure your teenager has the best chance of recovery.
Choose the Best Drug Testing Supplies
When looking for drug testing supplies, your top priority should be accuracy. It determines whether the kit will give you a negative or positive result.
Make sure you check the expiration date of the test kit before making your purchase. Since most are bought online, it may take time before they arrive. Therefore, purchasing a kit with a longer shelf life makes sense for accurate results.
DrugTestingSupplies.com offers same-day shipping on 100's of in-stock products. We have various tests available, including saliva drug tests, urine tests, COVID 19 tests, SAMHSA, DOT, or non-regulated instant tests. We make it easy to order drug tests with no minimum order necessary.
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