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Drug testing in the family sphere: putting it into practice

Drug testing in the family sphere: putting it into practice


In our previous post, "Why more and more parents are practicing an active prevention policy against drugs", you may have learned about the principle of "active prevention", namely that regular drug testing can act as a deterrent when a teenager has the opportunity to try a drug. It would now be interesting to see some practical solutions.

Is it right for me?

First and foremost, you need to be able to answer this question. All families are different, and there's no magic formula for dealing with the issue of drugs with teenagers.

For you, it's a question of knowing whether this type of deterrent can be effective in your own family. Nobody knows it better than you do, and nobody can answer that question for you. But if you think that the prospect of being caught by a drug test could actually deter your teenagers from taking a drug, then Active Prevention could be very effective.

First step: talk about it

The first step in prevention is family dialogue and listening. It's essential to explain to teenagers what drugs are and what their dangers are. It's important that they understand that some substances are not as harmless as "everyone knows". For example, they need to know that the marijuana of the 1970s has nothing in common with the marijuana of today, which is nothing less than a GMO boosted to the extreme in active substances. Producers use the same techniques as cigarette manufacturers, and strive to make their products as addictive as possible. As for hashish (cannabis resin), it is often of poor quality and cut with a large number of toxic substances (plastic, melted tires, henna, etc.).

The next step is to explain that regular testing is simply a new rule at home. In the same way that you already check school results, diet, websites visited etc., you'll now be checking that no drugs are being taken.

Cards on the table

It's very important that your children don't feel trapped. By the time you talk to them, they may already have tried cigarettes, joints or something else, and some of them may even test positive if tested immediately. So, rather than start by asking for a first test out of the blue, it seems essential to announce beforehand that these tests will soon be taking place. Announcing, for example, that screening tests will be carried out from next month onwards will set a clear deadline.

The best way to establish a new set of rules where everyone's cards are on the table is for everyone to know in advance. Furthermore, if your teenagers already have reason to believe they'll test positive, remember that anyone can make these kinds of mistakes. The most important thing is that they have time to understand and accept that drugs are totally forbidden, and that you will take steps to ensure that this rule is respected. Announcing in advance the tests that will be carried out in the near future also helps to mature your teenagers by giving them the opportunity to react like adults. This gives them time to stop using drugs for good, and to reset their metabolic counter to zero.

Then, let's do the test

In the case of a urine test, the donor isolates himself and places a few millilitres of urine in a plastic cup. Then, simply dip the test for a few seconds and wait 5 minutes for the result. It is very important that the person being tested is present when the test is carried out and the results appear. This is not a medical test, but a family prevention program, in which parents and their child must be present and participate together, in complete transparency.

The test is negative

It's the best you could expect. It certainly means that the rule has been respected and that your children know how to resist temptation. However, as part of long-term active prevention, we will continue to carry out regular screening tests, to maintain a high level of vigilance and deterrence.

The test is positive

If you've been doing simple prevention and this result is unexpected, then you can still count yourself lucky, because you certainly still have time to turn things around before a real addiction problem arises. Not all parents are lucky enough to be able to get ahead of addiction. Many become aware of a drug problem through noticeable behavioral and physical changes, which are merely the visible symptoms of an addiction that has already set in.

If, on the other hand, you were expecting this result, then you're holding in your hand a tangible element that your teenager won't be able to deny. Sure, you weren't there to see your kids smoking marijuana or doing cocaine, but you have proof that it happened. They'll have to discuss it with you.

Of course, there's no point in blaming your children for lying to you. Concealment and lying are inherent to the drug problem. Indeed, when teenagers start taking drugs, they know perfectly well that they're breaking the rules. So they'll be forced to lie if asked about it, even in families where there's the greatest trust and dialogue. They'll lie to their parents just as they lie to themselves. Too often convinced that they are in complete control of their consumption, that they have no addiction and that they can stop whenever they want, many young people realize far too late that they have lost control, and that drugs have ceased to be a "little pleasure" for them, but a real psychological and physical need.

So try to take this opportunity to re-establish a dialogue, avoiding any form of reproach or aggressive reaction. Reassure your child as much as possible and show him or her that the sky isn't going to fall now that you know. In such a case, reproaches are generally useless, as addiction can be far more powerful than logic and composure. Show your child that you're not his enemy, and that you're ready to help him, or even get him professional help if necessary.

Some teenagers may try to refuse this help, on the grounds that "you don't understand anything anyway". They won't necessarily be wrong. Anyone who hasn't experienced the pain of drug addiction can scarcely form a realistic picture of it. The best way to help them will often be to get them to accept the principle of a consultation with an addiction professional.

An addictology consultation will enable your children to talk to specialists in the field, who will often be able to find the right approach and the right words to get them to admit to the existence of a problem and to consider ways out of it.

In the event of a positive test, it is essential to have a more detailed laboratory analysis carried out, i.e. gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC/MS). This analysis will confirm your test and provide an accurate drug dosage. Once this result has been confirmed, consult a health professional (family doctor, addictologist, etc.) for advice. No parent is supposed to know how to deal with a drug problem with their children. Drugs are an extraordinary problem, a world apart. Never hesitate to get help to understand how to help your children in such situations.

You can also get help from associations specializing in the fight against drugs and drug addiction. These associations provide day-to-day support to parents dealing with this type of problem. They'll be able to give you the advice and support you need.

Founder and manager of Kappa City Biotech since 2005.
Through the blog DrugNews, I share my experience on how to deal with situations related to drug and alcohol use, whether in the family sphere or in the workplace.