In certain situations, schools may do random testing for drugs. Drug testing might create conflict between parents and teens; teens may resent being tested, whether in school or by parents. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, testing for drugs should be voluntary, and the best and most reliable way to test your teen for drugs is to involve your doctor and do lab tests. If you are concerned that your teen is exhibiting signs of drug use, there are several ways to test for drugs at home.
Home drug testing kits are readily available at pharmacies or online. These over-the-counter kits test for drugs in several ways. The most common test is a urine test, which gives instant, accurate and reliable results. The problem is that results can be easily falsified by your teen, and a urinalysis can only detect drugs within several days. An oral drug test using saliva is also available for home use, but the results are not always accurate. If your teen smokes or produces a lot of saliva, the results may be inconclusive. Saliva tests can only be used for immediate drug testing. Hair follicle test kits can detect drugs even months after use. These are accurate, but require lab testing so they take longer for results, and they may not detect very recent drug use because the hair has to have some time to grow.
The kind of drug test you choose depends on several factors. Parents can do random tests at any time to detect drug use; they can test their teen when they come home from a party or whenever they see behavior patterns that may indicate drug use. For a drug test to be accurate, parents need cooperation from their teen so the results won't be falsified or manipulated.