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Do you think this is a great idea or a horrible idea? Drug tests for teens


Quill
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Do you/would you routinely drug test your children?  

99 members have voted

  1. 1. Drug testing?

    • Not routinely with unsuspicious kids
      38
    • Yes routinely, suspicious or not
      0
    • I would do it once or twice if suspect
      24
    • I would never do it under any circumstance
      25
    • Other
      12


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A friend announced that she now does surprise, but regular, drug testing with her teens. This is not because of suspicions or past behavior. This is just a routine decision she has made. Her husband seemed a little dubious about it but he goes along. Two other women, hearing this, thought it was a great idea and one wrote down the name of the company. These are all people who do not have reason to believe there is drug use; they view it as proactive. 

I would not do this unless I had reason to suspect. But who knows; maybe I’m the fool. Hive opinion wanted. 

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I find this ridiculous.  It's policing behavior.  It violates trust.  How in the world is this a good idea?  Aren't there better ways to proactively build up teens to become positive citizens?  I would have to be very very suspicious before I did something like this.  This is not what a loving relationship should look like.  

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No. It undermines a relationship. We choose to start with the basis of trust. If one of our kids violates or abuses that, then we take appropriate steps from there. But if you start with the basis of mistrust, it seems to me that the kid (or anyone) begins to feel that it doesn't matter what they do, they won't be trusted--so they might as well rebel.

If, as a parent, you have a child who is putting themselves in danger and the reins need to be tightened for their safety, that is different. But you don't start out with that assumption without just cause to suspect it.

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I would like to change my vote.  The only way I could really see doing this is if a kid already has a problem, went through a program and program recommended.  

Furthermore, I really question the efficacy of doing this too.  As far as I know, the only drug you can test sort of surropteusly is marijuana by collecting hair of the child (maybe off a brush or pillow).  One of my kids was having medical issues and in the course of all the work-ups, they tested for drugs.  Well, this child was on ADHD medicine which should have shown up.  It didn't.  Then they thought is she not taking it, which I definitely knew she was not only because I was seeing her taking it but because she has severe ADHD and her behavior showed it if she hadn't.  She had a sleep study done and they saw her take the meds the next morning, tested again, and again she was clean.  I am sure she isn't the only person whose drug tests don't come out the way that is expected.

Much better than invasive testings and suspicions is actually having relationships with your teens. Knowing who their friends are, where they go, etc, is much more effective and having conversations with your kids can help you figure out any issues in their lives- not just drugs.

 

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I feel like question 1 and question 3 overlap?  I wouldn't do it on a kid I had no suspicion about but if I thought I had a drug problem on my hand then I would do it just to see what I was dealing with and to seek help.  I had a very sneaky, lying, and manipulative brother who could hide it well and by the time they were 100% sure it was because he had been arrested.  I would want to know before that and to help him get help.

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8 minutes ago, Attolia said:

I feel like question 1 and question 3 overlap?  I wouldn't do it on a kid I had no suspicion about but if I thought I had a drug problem on my hand then I would do it just to see what I was dealing with and to seek help.  I had a very sneaky, lying, and manipulative brother who could hide it well and by the time they were 100% sure it was because he had been arrested.  I would want to know before that and to help him get help.

Yeah, I realized this in retrospect. Because I myself could pick either one. 

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18 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

I would like to change my vote.  The only way I could really see doing this is if a kid already has a problem, went through a program and program recommended.  

Furthermore, I really question the efficacy of doing this too.  As far as I know, the only drug you can test sort of surropteusly is marijuana by collecting hair of the child (maybe off a brush or pillow).  One of my kids was having medical issues and in the course of all the work-ups, they tested for drugs.  Well, this child was on ADHD medicine which should have shown up.  It didn't.  Then they thought is she not taking it, which I definitely knew she was not only because I was seeing her taking it but because she has severe ADHD and her behavior showed it if she hadn't.  She had a sleep study done and they saw her take the meds the next morning, tested again, and again she was clean.  I am sure she isn't the only person whose drug tests don't come out the way that is expected.

Much better than invasive testings and suspicions is actually having relationships with your teens. Knowing who their friends are, where they go, etc, is much more effective and having conversations with your kids can help you figure out any issues in their lives- not just drugs.

 

This test is by urine and Mom announces it like a Drill Sergeant, “Ok, kids. Get your cups and bring pee.” 

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I would only do it if I had valid suspicion and with my teen’s knowledge.

Beside drug use side effects, I discuss with my teens that initial drug testing is common and surprise drug testing may be a part of employment. But I wouldn’t do it to my kids on a regular basis.

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In this recent case quoted below, I would get my kids drug tested if they attended that school and I am worried they unknowingly touch the cocaine. My kids would probably be worried and want to know too.

Authorities detained a 13-year-old boy who allegedly brought balloons stuffed with cocaine to his middle school in a small Central Valley town on Friday, resulting in the hospitalization of multiple students.

...

The K-9 also alerted deputies to a 13-year-old boy’s shorts, which wound up testing positive for drugs, investigators said.

That student was detained and is being questioned on suspicion of being the one who brought the narcotics to campus.

Amid the ensuing investigation, detectives turned up the source of the drugs at the boy’s home, authorities said.

The department’s narcotics enforcement team also performed additional testing on the substance, and it again returned positive results for cocaine, officials said.” https://ktla.com/2018/09/14/13-year-old-in-custody-after-bringing-cocaine-filled-balloons-to-school-in-central-valley/

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I seriously doubt I would need a drug test to tell if my kids were using drugs.  

One of the “perks” of growing up around users I guess.  I know the signs and I am very rarely incorrect about if someone is either high or using.  

If it was part of a staying sober plan/trust but verify thing, sure but only for a kid who I knew has a problem with drugs.  I see literally no reason to make my kids feel under suspicion for no reason.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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I don't know that I would do it even if I did suspect.  There are other ways.

I do know that if my mom had done this to me, it would have been pretty bad for our relationship.  I was a snotty teen, but I was not a lawbreaker and I didn't appreciate any innuendo that I might be doing something wrong up in my room.  ?

Here's a question.  Suppose you are 98% sure your kid is breaking the law (but otherwise not hurting anyone) in your home.  Do you really want physical proof?  What if the cops or school found out and used that against your kid?  There goes any chance to try an intervention that might leave his future relatively intact.

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15 minutes ago, SKL said:

I don't know that I would do it even if I did suspect.  There are other ways.

I do know that if my mom had done this to me, it would have been pretty bad for our relationship.  I was a snotty teen, but I was not a lawbreaker and I didn't appreciate any innuendo that I might be doing something wrong up in my room.  ?

Here's a question.  Suppose you are 98% sure your kid is breaking the law (but otherwise not hurting anyone) in your home.  Do you really want physical proof?  What if the cops or school found out and used that against your kid?  There goes any chance to try an intervention that might leave his future relatively intact.

That crossed my mind as well as what a PP asked - what is she going to do if she gets a positive? 

 

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27 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

I seriously doubt I would need a drug test to tell if my kids were using drugs.  

One of the “perks” of growing up around users I guess.  I know the signs and I am very rarely incorrect about if someone is either high or using.  

If it was part of a staying sober plan/trust but verify thing, sure but only for a kid who I knew has a problem with drugs.  I see literally no reason to make my kids feeeoni suspected them for no reason.  

I rely on DH for this. I’m the one with the squeeky-clean past, but he has been around some things. 

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I would not in the prevailing zeitgeist around me; it would be weird to test a kid where there didn’t seem to be a particular reason for concern. And I would not do it because of potential for harm to relationship. 

However, when I read the title I found myself thinking if it were the common practice to do routine sporadic drug tests,  then it might prevent a lot of tragedy.  So I guess I *wish* it were a standard thing for parents to do, thus just one piece of preventive health maintenance. And if that were standard to do,  I would do it. 

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Overall bad idea and I’ve never had to contemplate it.

But I would probably do pretty much anything if I felt my kid was in trouble and it would help. Not saying it would be the right course of action but my personality is one to err on the side of action. Not always for the best but I can see myself throwing anything at the wall I could if my kid needed help.

But just as a general policy? Heck no.

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8 minutes ago, Pen said:

I would not in the prevailing zeitgeist around me; it would be weird to test a kid where there didn’t seem to be a particular reason for concern. And I would not do it because of potential for harm to relationship. 

However, when I read the title I found myself thinking if it were the common practice to do routine sporadic drug tests,  then it might prevent a lot of tragedy.  So I guess I *wish* it were a standard thing for parents to do, thus just one piece of preventive health maintenance. And if that were standard to do,  I would do it. 

Interesting thought...I think the mom who said she was doing this tends to think she can control against bad outcomes if she is just proactive enough. 

So, you’re wishing that it were normal, like dental check-ups and checking for scoliosis? Interesting to think about. 

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I voted other because I feel my answer is too nuanced. We've agreed to do this if/when we take in teen foster kids. And I would have no problem with it if I had any reason to suspect our kids or their friends. Trust is a privilege, not a right. That said, my philosophy about it is decidedly more authoritarian than I actually typically parent. I've never felt the need for it, just like I've never felt the need for boarding school.  But I wonder how much of that is self-fulfilling- IE: give me a reason to not trust you and as your parent I WILL inform you that trust is a privilege not a right, and if you keep this up you will get increasing restrictions including drug testing and even boarding school.

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7 minutes ago, Quill said:

o, you’re wishing that it were normal, like dental check-ups and checking for scoliosis? I

Yes.  

drugs are a common problem for the teen ages— So normalization of checking to see if there is a problem allowing more proactive dealing with it if there is.  I would not like it to be mandatory, but easy to have happen and not considered a big deal which would lead to dc feeling mistrusted any more than dental check should make a teen feel the adult is accusing them of oral care wrongdoing. 

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So, my brother has had a lifelong history of addiction.  He started with alcohol at 11... moved to pot at 12/13....and harder drugs like meth and heroin when older.  He's 53 now.  Still an addict.  Been in jail off and on for drug related offenses.  

My kids know that there are a few deal breakers for me because of this and drugs are one of them.

If I ever had any reason to suspect, I would drug test them in an instant.  Why? Because my brother denied everything, and even though my parents were 99% sure he was using, they couldn't prove it back then.  

If there were any sort of instances, I would keep up random drug testing--with well known consequences for a positive.

But I don't think I'd drug test without suspicion.  I want to say I'm more aware than the average Muslim (at least) of signs and such.  

 

When we looked at military schools at one time, they said that they routinely drug tested every student after breaks (such as Christmas break) and if suspicious.  They said that knowing they would be tested kept a lot of kids from experimenting.  Probably makes sense as a lot of kids going there were coming from situations where perhaps their friends weren't the best influence.  

Edited by umsami
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Routine testing of non suspicious kids could well backfire.  When her kids are adults,  they'll remember how little trust and respect she had for them. 

I say that as someone whose brother had a small grow operation in our basement and dealt.  Yeah, my mom knew,  she was very out of her league in what to do about it. 

I deeply resented the guilt by association. 

Edited by gardenmom5
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2 hours ago, Quill said:

This test is by urine and Mom announces it like a Drill Sergeant, “Ok, kids. Get your cups and bring pee.” 

 

That is so incredibly creepy.

And some day, she will be the little old lady in the nursing home who is always wondering why her kids never come to visit her. ?

I hope her kids never get themselves into any kind of trouble, because they certainly won’t trust their mother enough to tell her about it. How could kids not be resentful of a mother who is so distrustful of them that she randomly drug tests them???

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If I strongly suspected a drug problem (drug use causing changes in behavior), I would test to be sure then if a positive result, would take the teen to the doctor for further testing and help. I would never test if I didn't have a strong suspicion of drug use.

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2 hours ago, umsami said:

So, my brother has had a lifelong history of addiction.  He started with alcohol at 11... moved to pot at 12/13....and harder drugs like meth and heroin when older.  He's 53 now.  Still an addict.  Been in jail off and on for drug related offenses.  

 

Pretty much the same timeline with my brother. Except, he didn't end up in jail, or make it to age 19.

My parents drug tested him every once in a while... for pot... but I think he only ever had one positive drug test, and my parents didn't actually do anything about it (other than get upset and yell at him.) He died of a heroin overdose.

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I don't see me testing my kids randomly for drug use. Unless there was some reason for my to suspect them. Whether it's my own child's behavior or if I catch one of their friends acting suspicious.

I can see maybe making it a regular policy to periodically test if they decide to hang with a crowd of known or suspected drug users.

But my main strategy when it comes to preventing drug use (and preventing premarital sex as well as pregnancy and STDs) is to build and maintain a relationship where my kids wont be freaked out to tell me if something accidentally (or otherwise) happens. Not so likely if they think of me as a drill sergeant!

 

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2 hours ago, Pen said:

 

Yes.  

drugs are a common problem for the teen ages— So normalization of checking to see if there is a problem allowing more proactive dealing with it if there is.  I would not like it to be mandatory, but easy to have happen and not considered a big deal which would lead to dc feeling mistrusted any more than dental check should make a teen feel the adult is accusing them of oral care wrongdoing. 

 

A dental check is for deep cleaning of the teeth and for prevention of cavities (and other problems) and is conducted by a dental professional. It is an important part of maintaining dental health throughout life. The main purpose of a check-up is something other than to check for oral care wrongdoing. 

Someone (especially your mother, in your home) demanding that you urinate into a cup and hand it over - on demand - has no positive intent. The only reason it is done is because the tester does not trust the testee to tell the truth, so the tester must demand bodily fluids to search out wrongdoing.  (This is the message the mother is sending.) 

And no offense, but the two situations are not remotely similar. 

And I'd really like to see data, especially when the test is demanded by a parent, that shows that such tests are successful in deterring drug use. My understanding is that urine tests are not that hard to fake (tester saves clean urine, pays friend or sibling for some, uses animal urine, etc). 

Edited by Happy2BaMom
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10 minutes ago, Happy2BaMom said:

A dental check is for deep cleaning of the teeth and for prevention of cavities (and other problems) and is conducted by a dental professional. It is an important part of maintaining dental health throughout life. The main purpose of a check-up is something other than to check for oral care wrongdoing. 

 

I know that.

Obviously my intended tone, meaning, and intent did not get properly conveyed.  

 

 

 

 

Edited by Pen
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25 minutes ago, Pen said:

 

I know that.

Obviously my intended tone, meaning, and intent did not get properly conveyed.  

 

 

 

 

I get what you were saying.

I've been in a job with mandatory drug testing that could happen at any time. Being tested didn't feel like someone saying they didn't trust you because it was just part of the expectations. 

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2 minutes ago, maize said:

I get what you were saying.

I've been in a job with mandatory drug testing that could happen at any time. Being tested didn't feel like someone saying they didn't trust you because it was just part of the expectations. 

 

Yes  , that’s what I meant.  Thank you  ? 

 

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8 minutes ago, maize said:

I get what you were saying.

I've been in a job with mandatory drug testing that could happen at any time. Being tested didn't feel like someone saying they didn't trust you because it was just part of the expectations. 

that's an employer - and all the employees are getting tested.    that's not your mom . . .

I'd have been even more disgusted with my mom if she'd done it since it was well known both of my siblings were.  and more than "just" pot. (in the 70's)

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7 hours ago, Quill said:

This test is by urine and Mom announces it like a Drill Sergeant, “Ok, kids. Get your cups and bring pee.” 

 

If this is how she's going about it, then she's naive. Wouldn't any kid-with-an-ounce-of-common-sense who is doing any type of drugs in that household absolutely pay a friend/acquaintance to pee in a cup for him/her at school/church/group activity and hide it until it's "Pee In A Cup Day?" 

Or, shoot... siblings often tend to stick together. One sibling could easily cover for another if the other had recently been to a party or something...

If I suspected one of my kids could be doing drugs & I didn't feel like we could have an honest conversation about it, then we would "Surprise, kiddo!" drive to a testing facility and have the test done there. Hopefully this is never a reality.

Edited by easypeasy
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I would never do this.  It would completely destroy the trust my kid has in me. 

And if they are messing around with drugs, the threat of a positive test with mom isn't much of a threat.  It will just make them double down on their efforts to hide the drug use. It will cause a bad situation to escalate. 

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I can only speak from my own perspective, with kids I'm around constantly, whose friends I know well, who spend considerable time around other adult I know and trust.   I can't imagine ever testing them without WAY out of the ordinary behavior.

But I live in an area with a serious opioid problem, and most teens get on the bus in the dark and off the bus in the dark (for most of the school year.). We have a big high school with more than its share of issues. If I rarely saw my teens, didn't know their friends (our district is 300 square miles big), and kept reading the paper, I might take any teen "weirdness" as something to be suspicious of.

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Not only are fake pees and cleanses available easily enough (And at your local chain vitamin store too). as far as I know (and I am not up to date about every combo of every illegal substance out there), the only way a pee drug test works is if you used it very recently.  Most abused drugs are metabolized rather quickly, hence the dangers of addiction.  Unless the child happened to be doing it within 24 to maybe 48 hours before (and that really depends on which specific drug), you aren't getting a positive even with a potential problem. 

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8 hours ago, easypeasy said:

 

If this is how she's going about it, then she's naive. Wouldn't any kid-with-an-ounce-of-common-sense who is doing any type of drugs in that household absolutely pay a friend/acquaintance to pee in a cup for him/her at school/church/group activity and hide it until it's "Pee In A Cup Day?" 

Or, shoot... siblings often tend to stick together. One sibling could easily cover for another if the other had recently been to a party or something...

If I suspected one of my kids could be doing drugs & I didn't feel like we could have an honest conversation about it, then we would "Surprise, kiddo!" drive to a testing facility and have the test done there. Hopefully this is never a reality.

 

This. If what you're looking for is a negative test, your kid can get you a sample that will test negative. Mama's going to test for heroin and ecstasy? Maybe you decide to try a different drug or get a cup filled by somebody who's not into those particular things.

This is exactly the way schools can wind up teaching only what their state tests will require. Nobody's asking you to show that students know world history or geography? Maybe you decide there's no time to teach world history or geography.

Having been the kind of kid who enjoyed figuring out how to game a system, I see this bombing with an awful lot of teens.

Edited by whitehawk
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It's ridiculous.  If the child is using drugs, they certainly know how to get around a pee test.  If the kid is not using drugs, it's sending a pretty horrible message.  

When I was in the military, we had a random drug test.  We had to pee WHILE SOMEONE WATCHED US (!!!) into a cup.  If the mother intends to violate her children's privacy to that extent in order to ensure the validity of results- when she has no actual suspicion or evidence whatsoever...  Nope.  Just no.  

 

 

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I voted "other" because my son's school routinely drug tests (random, supposedly, but I have my doubts) student athletes.

I have no problem with the school doing the tests, random or not.  I like knowing the results but I'm not sure I would do random drug testing of my child without very strong suspicions.  So I guess I take the coward's way out by not having to do the testing, but being party to results.  ?

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If my parents had done that to me, or really any of my siblings we would likely not have a relationship now. And there were some of us who used drugs, me included. Only one sibling ever had issues because of the drug use and I think my parents handled it extremely well without resorting to something so invasive.

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I do kind of like the idea of it being a routine test done in a well check / sports physical etc.  Obviously that wouldn't catch every case.

I've been tested for jobs and insurance.  That doesn't bother me obviously - because it's nothing personal.

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