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All You Need to Know About Drug Screening and Testing for Your Teen

  • Post category:Preventions

Teen addiction to drugs has become a widespread problem over the decades. Many teens are using drugs and alcohol, suffering from addiction as well as the effects of dependence. When speaking about universal screenings for drug and alcohol use, it does not mean every child will get tested for drugs.

Universal screenings for drugs simply helps the individual figure out the risk of drug abuse by asking questions. Some tools can be used to screen the likelihood of drug or alcohol abuse in adolescents. The drug screening test asks teens about drinking, smoking marijuana, or using other drugs to get high.

Once the answer is given and the teen has answered yes to one, or several, of the first three questions, they will be asked further questions. Using the CRAFFT drug screening test developed by the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research, you can determine a lot.

  • C: Have you been in a moving car while you or another person was ‘high’ or had been using drugs or alcohol?
  • R: Do you use drugs or alcohol in order to relax, fit in, or feel more confident?
  • A: Do you use drugs or alcohol when you are alone?
  • F: Have you forgotten things while under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
  • F: Have your friends or family ever told you to cut down on your drug use or drinking?
  • T: Have you ever gotten into trouble when using alcohol or drugs?

Each yes to a question on the CRAFFT test gets the point, and 2 or more points means children may be at risk of substance abuse disorder. Even just a score of one can indicate the need for intervention before substance abuse gets more substantial.

With screenings, teens will be encouraged to stop using drugs or alcohol and may be referred to treatment. It also allows doctors and pediatricians to give children positive reinforcement if they have not partaken in drugs or alcohol, increasing the likelihood that they will continue to make healthy choices in life.

Drug Testing

You may not suspect that your teen is using drugs, but there are signs to look for when this occurs. To confirm the use of drugs or alcohol, parents will often get a home drug test kit. However, testing for drugs is much more complicated than a simple test. There are several things to consider, including:

  • Testing of teens may be involuntary, which is not highly favored
  • Tests may show as negative even if the teen has been using drugs if it has passed the window of detection
  • Drug test kits may not test for commonly abused drugs like alcohol, inhalants, or ecstasy.
  • Your teen could render the test ineffective by diluting urine, using someone else’s urine, or tampering with it.
  • It may be seen as an invasion of privacy, warranting distrust, resentment, and even suspicion in teens and their parents.

The possibility of a false positive is also a factor, as positives can be caused by medication or certain foods, like poppy seeds. Instead of testing children, it is more effective to refer them to treatment from a professional.

The use of drugs with teens may be concerning, but it is important to make sure that you understand what steps to take in the event of suspected drug or alcohol abuse. Speak with a professional and get treatment for your child as soon as you notice signs of abuse and negative symptoms. The help adolescents can be found at a qualified treatment center or counselor.