Does Your Teen Need to be Drug Tested?

Nobody knows your child like you do. We all know teenagers can behave erratically, but there is a difference between normal adolescent behavior and behavior that’s influenced by drugs or alcohol. If you suspect your teen is using drugs or alcohol, follow your instinct. Denying a problem exists will only make it worse. Even if your teen is simply experimenting with drugs, the experimentation can quickly spiral into addiction. Testing your teen for drugs will let you know what you’re up against — and let your teen know that you’re serious about their life.

Types of Home Teen Drug Tests

Once upon a time drug tests could only be performed by a doctor, but drug-testing technology has come a long way. Many companies market affordable and accurate home drug testing kits that are easy for parents to give to their teens. All you need to do is take a sample from your teen and mail it to the lab for analysis. Most drug tests require some form of participation from your teen (such as a urine drug test or swabbing your teen’s cheek in a saliva drug test), but some drug tests allow you to test your teen without his or her knowledge (such as a hair follicle test).

Drug tests can analyze samples for a wide range of substances. The most common types of drugs parents test teens for are alcohol and marijuana, but you can test your teen for many other drugs, including cocaine, Ecstasy, opiates, barbiturates and steroids. Here’s a breakdown of the types of home drug tests you can give your teen:

Urine Drug Test — This is the most popular type of drug test and the cheapest. The only setback with testing your teen with a urine drug test is that it can only detect drugs that have been taken within the past week.
Hair Drug Test — A hair follicle drug test can detect any drugs your teen has taken as many as four months before the test. Hair drug tests, however, are more expensive than urine tests and can result in false positives. For example, if your teen was in a room where marijuana was smoked, it could result in a false positive in a hair follicle test.
Blood Drug Test — This is the most reliable drug test, but also the most expensive and invasive.
Saliva Drug Test — Saliva tests are becoming a more popular way to test for drugs because they’re easy to do. With a simple swab of the cheek, you find out what drugs your teen has taken. The problem with saliva drug tests, however, is that their reliability varies depending on the manufacturer.

Purchasing a Home Teen Drug Test

The price of home drug tests can range anywhere from $5 to over $100, depending on the type of test, the manufacturer, and the number of drugs you want to test for. Home drug tests can be purchased at pharmacies or through online retail stores. Before purchasing online, however, do your due diligence to make sure the manufacturer creates a reliable and accurate home drug-testing product.

What to Do When Your Teen Tests Positive for Drugs

So you followed your instinct and tested your teen for drugs — and the results came back positive. Now what? The first thing you should do is talk to your teen about the results. If they still deny taking drugs, don’t call them a liar. Depending on the manufacturer, some home drug-testing kits aren’t as reliable as professional drug tests, so tell your teen you’re willing to test them again at your physician’s office. If your teen confesses to taking drugs or the test results come back positive again, now you have decisions to make.

The most important decision you have to make is whether or not to send your teen to a substance abuse treatment program. Don’t let this scare you. Many drug and alcohol rehabs offer teen treatment programs that are specially designed to accommodate young people and their special needs.

Don’t be in denial — if your teen tests positive for drugs or alcohol, chances are they need help. Even if your teen isn’t addicted and is simply “experimenting,” there may be an underlying issue they’re trying to cope with. Teen drug abuse is often viewed as a way to rebel or to fit in with peers, but many times teens turn to drugs or alcohol in order to relieve symptoms of an undiagnosed emotional or behavioral problem. A teen drug and alcohol treatment program can identify the underlying issues that have lead to the substance use and offer help.

Teen Drug and Alcohol Treatment at Casa Palmera

At Casa Palmera, we understand the unique issues teens face in drug and alcohol treatment. We provide substance abuse treatment based on a holistic program that treats not only the physical addiction, but also the emotional and mental issues that have fueled the drug use in the first place. Your teen’s entire well-being will be treated — not just the addiction.

Don’t let drug or alcohol use destroy your teen’s life.

Call Casa Palmera today.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.