When I first started this website over a decade ago, if you would have mentioned a test where you pee in a cup at home, I would have immediately thought about a pregnancy test. Fast forward to present day and my mind goes somewhere completely different–home drug tests.
Let’s be honest. Marijuana use is prevalent across the United States now at all age levels. It’s increasingly being legalized. That makes it easier to get and easier for teens to justify using it. However, that doesn’t mean that most of us as parents are fine with our kids doing it–even if you live in a state where marijuana has been legalized.
Some schools are already randomly testing students for marijuana use, especially if they participate in sports or other activities. Should we as parents be testing our kids if we suspect they are using and hiding it from us?
If you do suspect your teen is using drugs (not even specifically marijuana), the good news is that it is easy to test them at home. It’s no more difficult than having them pee in a cup and setting a timer. Tests are readily available online and even at your local drug store.
A good example is First Check. It runs $12-$20 depending on where you get it (it’s $12 at Amazon but more like $20 at your local CVS if you are in a hurry). It comes with a basic collection cup with the test strip installed in the lid. The teen urinates into the cup (just about an inch) and places the lid on tightly. You tilt the lid and wait between 5 and 10 minutes. The test is accurate at 99% and will pick up traces of the drug from over 2 hours ago to as much as 40 days ago.
What I really like about home tests like First Check in particular is that if you get a positive result from the test strip, they include a sticker where you can immediately send the cup to their labs and they will lab test it for even more accurate results. That way if something goes wrong and you get what you think might be a false positive, you can have peace of mind by sending it into them. (They don’t seem to think there is any such thing as a false negative for some reason).
Parenting is hard. Even making the decision whether to do something like this is hard. But the good news is that if you decide to, the tools out there to help you will make it easy.