So Should You Be Testing?
Family by family, and teen by teen, parents need to make individual and family appropriate decisions about whether drug testing is justified, and whether it in fact does more good than harm. The advantages of early detection and prevention do offer two compelling reasons to perform regular testing on your at risk teens, but the adversarial nature of the tests complicates an already difficult period of the parent child relationship, and may make children less likely to confide in you on other important manners.
Whether or not drug testing is used, it can never be considered the most important family strategy in the battle against drugs, and family preventative and educating techniques are the best ways parents can help their teen's stay drug and alcohol free. Parents need to talk with their kids about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, stay involved and alert in the lives of their kids, and most importantly, spend quality time with kids…at any stage in development.
Many parents do not use drug testing as a preventative measure, but do implement testing policies after evidence of drug use occurs; and some addictions professionals do recommend that drug testing be performed on kids who have already developed and been treated for problems with drugs or alcohol. With the dangers of relapse after treatment being so high and with the importance of early intervention in this situation, parents can almost always justify the use of drug testing.
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