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Do Teen Drug Tests Really Prevent Drug Use?

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Do teen drug tests really prevent drug use?

People who start drugs at an early age are more likely to become addicted because of the immaturity of the brain.  In turn, when they are adults and quit taking medications, they are more likely to have a relapse.  Abuse is caused by a combination of individual, family, genetic, and social factors.  Teens are addicted to the same drugs as adults, such as:

  • tobacco
  • cannaboids
  • medications
  • inhalants
  • depressants
  • stimulants
  • narcotics
  • hallucinogens
  • anesthetics
  • club drugs
  • steroids

The effects of these drugs range from a decrease inability to concentrate on masking emotional problems to becoming sexually active even with strangers.

How Can You Help Your Teen?

Drug testing is not a guaranteed way to make sure your teen will not take part in substance abuse, but it can be a very helpful deterrent.  Before administering a drug test, you will need to explain these three things first:

  • explain why drugs, alcohol, and tobacco are not allowed in your home (i.e., Life choices, good and bad)
  • discuss when a test could happen
  • make sure you and your child have an understanding that your home is substance-free and the consequences of what will happen if they decide to partake in these substances

Drug Testing

Now that you have agreed to perform random drug testing in your home, and you have a pact with your child explaining why this could occur, how do you determine when you should test?

If you do not suspect your teen is taking drugs, they are considered a low risk.  Therefore, you can probably check them every three months.  If the test is negative, reward them, but if it is positive, you need to implement the consequences you discussed.  You should then test them every seven days until they are clean, and then once a month for three months.

If you suspect your teen has taken drugs within the last 90 days, they are considered a medium risk.  Again if they test negative, reward them, but if they test positive, they need to face the consequences.  Then test every day until the results are negative three times.  You can then check them once a month for three months.

A high-risk teen has taken drugs within the past 90 days.  If they test negative, then definitely reward them.  But if they test positive, you need to check them every day for two months until you feel they have stopped.

Apply the consequences you discussed with them until they stop.  Once they have finished, check them once a month for four months, and when they have regained your trust, you can start testing every three months again.