The effects of substance abuse in teens are not only individual; they can also be seen on the society. They may face problems at school or college and may involve in criminal activities. It is therefore very important to detect drug abusing teenagers. Drug testing should be conducted on a regular basis at schools and homes to identify and save them from harmful drugs of abuse.
Signs of drug abuse
Identifying certain signs helps you to detect if the kid is addicted to the drugs. Some of the common physical and emotional signs are:
• Change in sleep patterns
• Poor motor coordination
• Poor hygiene and illness including nausea and excessive sweating
• Irregular heartbeat
• Impaired thinking
• Mood swings
• Hyperactivity or overtired
Drug abusing teens lose their interest in family activities, often abuse verbally and physically at home or school, and disrespect the family or school. In addition, abrupt decrease in grades, memory and attention loss, and lack of interest and concentration on studies are some of the signs at school. The moment you observe any of the above mentioned signs, you need to immediately check if the kid is abusing drugs. Drug testing is one of the safest and easiest ways to detect the drug abuse among teens.
Types of drug tests
There are different types of methods to detect the teens who are using drugs. Some of the common ones are urine, saliva, hair, and blood tests.
Urine drug test
Of all the types, urine testing is used most commonly as it is inexpensive method used to detect a drug user. You can use urine test kits at home or school to check if the child is addicted to illegal drugs. Quick and accurate results are obtained by these test kits.
Saliva drug test
It is more advantageous as it is relatively non-intrusive. Saliva from the mouth is taken through a swab and is checked for the presence of drugs. Most recent drug abuse can be detected by saliva tests. Conducting saliva test is very easy and also provides accurate and immediate results.
Hair drug test
This method is also non-intrusive. A hair sample of 1.5 inches in length is enough for conducting the test. Drug or its metabolites deposited at the hair shaft are detected by hair tests. You can get very reliable and accurate results by this method.
Blood drug test
You can also use a blood sample of the teen to detect illegal drug usage. It is however expensive and you need to approach laboratory as you cannot conduct it at your home.
The detection period depends on the method of test conducted. These detection periods vary from the type, dosage, and frequency of drug used.
Urine drug test can detect drug or its metabolites for 30 days in frequent users and for 2-3 days in occasional users. The test detects Cocaine for 4-5 days, Heroin for 2-4 days, Methamphetamine for 3-5 days, PCP for 3-7 days, and Codeine for 2-4 days.
A saliva test is mostly used to detect recent drug usage. However, it can also detect drugs consumed 3 days back. Of all the methods, hair drug test has a longer detection period. It detects illegal drug consumption for about 90 days.
What if results are positive?
Once the kid is tested positive by drug test kit, talk to him/her about the result. You can get a confirmatory result through laboratory tests. Communicate with him regularly regarding the effects of drug abuse. Ask him to leave companions or friends who are habituated to drugs. If necessary, send him/her to substance abuse treatment program.
Importance of intervention
Detection and intervention of drug abuse at primitive stages can prevent further damage. Drug intervention is an attempt made by family members or school authorities to help the teen get out of drug abuse or addiction. The main objective of intervention is to make the teen understand the physical and mental destruction caused by drug abuse. If you are not able to speak to the kid on this, you can take help of your friends or relatives. You can also consult specialists who counsel drug abusers and help them get back to their normal life.