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Drug Test Kits for Parents


Is your teen on drugs?

So we’re torn with some news in “drug testing world.” We saw an article today about an Ohio high school sending free drug testing kits home so that parents can test their teens. The article quotes a principal stating that these kits in themselves might even act as a deterrent or excuse for teens who want to say no to drug use. On one hand, we were thrilled. And then seconds later, we were not so thrilled. What we think it ultimately boils down to is that drugs and drug testing – especially among teens – just isn’t all that simple.

Why we’re FOR drug testing kids for teens

So upon an initial read-through, we were all for this idea. A few thoughts were:

  • Parents now have a very real way to show kids they are involved and watching them.
  • Having a drug testing kit at home may deter a teen’s drug use.
  • Teens do have a convenient excuse now (as stated by the principal) to say no to drugs.
  • Parents who have a kit make a statement that drug use is NOT acceptable.
  • The school district partners with families to keep their homes and the school safe.

Now those seem like great reasons to send at-home drug testing kits to parents. Right? But as a professional drug-testing facility, we started to have concerns as we thought about it more.

Why we’re NOT FOR the at-home drug test kits

In the end, it’s not a matter of drug testing teens – we’re actually all for that. What bothers us the most is the dependence on the at-home kits. As a center that has performed hundreds of drug tests for both teens and adults, we’re not sold on these cheap at-home kits. Here’s why:

  • Cheating. Yes, there are ways to cheat a drug test. But, when they’re performed under surveillance of professionals (vs. inexperienced parents), the likelihood of a false test is greatly reduced. The at-home kits may encourage kids to find a way to cheat the test whereas if they knew they were going to a professional center where you can’t get away with cheating – they might take it more seriously.
  • Use of the test. So the basic use of the test – determining if the kids do drugs or not – can certainly be done. However if in any case this test needs used in court or for other legal reasons – you’ll have to get a professional test anyway. We always recommend having legally-admissible tests run so that you can use the results anytime – you never know what is going to come up when you need them.
  • Is it testing the right drugs? Typically, 5-panel drug tests only check for “traditional” drugs. So if your teen is using pot, it should catch that. But what if your teen is using fake pot or bath salts? These synthetic drugs are not detectable on the basic drug tests – you need a different test for that. Professional drug testing locations like ARCpoint Labs can test it for you. Your at-home kit most likely cannot.

Drug testing for teens

So, are we advocates of drug testing for teens? Absolutely. Letting your teens know that you’re willing to drug test as a parent IS a great way to build in accountability. It shows you’re serious and that your expectation is that they avoid drugs. However – our recommendation would be to depend on the pros if you’re serious about running a drug test and using the results for discipline or further action. We wouldn’t make any decisions based on what a free drug test kit determines. We’d go for a professional report to have accurate, reliable results.

Questions? Need to drug test your teen and near Worcester? Come on in.

ARCpoint Labs Worcester

  1. October 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I’m not sure how much an at home drug test will help. First, if the kids are bringing the test home they could easily throw them away. Second, if the school is mailing the kits – they are spending money that the districts may not have. Third, the parents may not care. This should be a decision that is made within a family. Not something that should be determined by an outside source.

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