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Why more and more parents are practicing an active prevention policy against drugs

Why more and more parents are practicing an active prevention policy against drugs


More and more parents are practicing regular drug tests with their children. A real active prevention! Indeed, teenagers can be tempted to experiment despite prohibitions. When they have a drug problem, they will usually try to hide it. So it's important to be able to spot the signs of use and act quickly.

How can we protect our children from drugs?

Nowadays, thousands of parents are asking themselves the same question, and often find themselves completely helpless when it comes to this very particular problem.

Pendant des années, il n'y a eu que le dialogue. Il est vrai que parler de drogue et en discuter ouvertement est absolument incontournable. Vos enfants doivent en connaître les dangers, et savoir quelle attitude tenir si de la drogue leur est proposée. Parler régulièrement de ce sujet et poser des questions franches et directes (mais avec énormément d'ouverture d'esprit) permet souvent de savoir si des stupéfiants circulent autours d'eux, dans leur lycée ou leur groupe d'amis. C'est en fait la base de la prévention que l'on peut mener en famille.

Why are drugs such an atypical problem?

Let's compare it with the very topical problem of overweight among young people. Like many parents, you may forbid your children to snack between meals. That said, if you monitor abuse, that doesn't mean you forbid them to eat. They know perfectly well what it's like to eat, and there's nothing intriguing about feeding themselves.

On the other hand, in (almost) all families, drug use is totally and formally forbidden. The dialogue mentioned above has the advantage of sending a clear message to all teenagers: drugs are totally forbidden.

But remember when you were 15... Hearing a message doesn't necessarily mean you agree to understand it. Adolescence is a stage when the desire to experiment can sometimes overshadow the dangers, or the fact that certain experiments are forbidden. Teenagers are often keen to experiment with whatever they feel like, without constraint, and without limiting themselves to what is authorized.

When it comes to drugs, your children are a bit like Adam and Eve. They understand the rules of the game, but there's no guarantee they'll resist biting the apple.

Will dialogue alone protect your children?

Today, we hear that dialogue is the best prevention, that nothing can be forced on teenagers, and that monitoring them too closely would be an outrageous violation of their privacy, which could only lead to a lasting stalemate in relationships.

Some also argue that children and teenagers should be allowed to express themselves and make their own mistakes as a way of learning about life. In many areas, this is undeniable, as no one can do certain experiments for them. On the other hand, some mistakes can have serious consequences, especially if they quickly become addictive. Drugs are the best example.

Many parents  more or less unconsciously refuse to see the danger, using their unfailing trust in their children as an excuse. But trust, too, has its limits. After all, dialogue alone often means turning a blind eye, resigning in the hope that others will solve the problem for you, and refusing to face up to your responsibilities in the name of good principles. Adolescents who start smoking tobacco or cannabis, who snort lines of cocaine before going out for the evening, or who take ecstasy to keep them going all night, will certainly not come and tell you all about it.

Of course, youth has to pass, and so do the mistakes that go with it, but are you ready to accept that your children take these kinds of risks?

Between permissiveness, invasion of privacy and failure to assist children in danger, which is the worst evil?

While it may seem "politically incorrect" to control your children closely and frequently in order to protect them, it's easy to forget that drug dealers couldn't care less about this kind of morality. They have no qualms about invading our teenagers' privacy, offering them drugs, chemical pills or medication, without the slightest regard for the lives they are destroying. That said, if parents leave the field wide open, why should they deprive themselves of doing so?

All teenagers with a drug problem have one thing in common: they will try to hide it from their parents at all costs. To keep their secret, they have no choice but to lie regularly about the places and friends they frequent, how they spend their time, and how they spend or raise their money. They become calculating and suspicious, sometimes even paranoid. They can't stop thinking they might be caught. A bit like a person on the run, they never rest, and quickly become nervous, irascible and less and less communicative.

Parents usually realize the problem at this point, when dependency has already begun to set in and behaviors have changed. It's then very difficult to reverse the trend, and many find themselves at a loss when faced with such a situation.

You will have to choose your own method

Because here you are, facing a very delicate dilemma:

  • Either you choose to rely exclusively on dialogue and trust.
    Certainly, you'll be treating your children as adults, and for most parents, this gamble will pay off. But teenagers are not adults. They will inevitably make youthful mistakes, and for other parents, this total trust will be a tragic miscalculation.

  • Or you realize that trust has nothing to do with the drug problem.
    Because obviously, if your children make the mistake of using drugs, they won't talk about it, no matter how much trust there is in your family. So the only solution is to make sure no one slips up, and if they do, it's vital to find out as soon as possible so you have time to react. This may mean jostling your teenagers a little in their sacrosanct privacy, but it will show them that you are vigilant, that there are boundaries they must not cross, and that parents will use all possible means not to be fooled. Furthermore, this attitude will reassure your children, because it will show them how much you care and how much you love them. That's what they need most, even if they're playing at being proud.

Active prevention

Practised by a growing number of parents, Active Prevention is a simple method consisting in regularly checking that children are complying with the drug ban, by carrying out rapid drug tests at home. After all, what's the point of a ban if no one checks that it's being obeyed? Imagine what would happen on the roads if the police didn't monitor compliance with traffic regulations. Fear of the police is often salutary, and helps save lives every day.

Dialogue is essential here too. Your children have the right to know why you insist on frequent drug testing. They need to understand that this is in no way a question of lack of trust or a violation of their privacy, but an indispensable measure against a potentially lethal danger.

Active Prevention is therefore first and foremost a method of prevention, and in some cases, a method of deterrence.

So ask yourself this question: do you think your children will risk using a drug if they know that a drug test may be forthcoming when they get home? If you think they might be tempted, but won't for fear of getting caught, then you already know what you have to do.

How often?

Often enough to be a real deterrent. In general, one or two unannounced tests a month are enough to dissuade most teenagers, who instantly understand that the risk of getting caught is far too high. But there's no rule. In some families, two tests a year may also be more than enough. Only you can really answer this question.

How do you carry out unannounced screening tests?

Quite simply: you need to ensure that they are totally unpredictable. This is a key factor in deterrence.

If a drug test is impossible to foresee and anticipate, it becomes impossible to prepare for it, or to plan your drug consumption accordingly. So, never keep the same frequency of tests, like every two weeks or every Saturday. Don't hesitate to carry out 2 tests spaced just a few days apart, or on the contrary, let it seem for 1 or 2 months that the habit is wearing off before testing again.

What type of test should I use?

Urine tests

These are generally performed 24 hours after the suspected drug intake. This is the time it takes for drugs to metabolize in the body and appear in the urine. The method is very simple: a few drops of urine in a plastic cup into which you dip a urine strip. You get the result in 5 minutes.

Single-drug urine tests

These tests target a specific substance. Use them when you know what you're looking for. Here are some of the most commonly used.

Multi-drugs urine tests

To screen for multiple drugs at the same time.

To be used for broader spectrum screening.

This test, for example, screens for the 5 most commonly used drugs today:

  • THC (cannabis, marijuana)
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Ecstasy
  • Amphetamines

Cannabis urine tests with pre-dosage

This new type of urine test is a NarcoCheck® innovation.

Pre-dosage tests not only deliver a positive or negative result, they also give an indication of quantity. They indicate whether the urine contains a high or low concentration of THC, which can help answer some crucial questions, such as the level of consumption of the person tested.

They can also be used to monitor the progress of drug use or withdrawal.

The test shown here is the NarocCheck® PreDosage®, which detects cannabis on 3 detection levels.

  • Level 1 : LOW (urine slightly positive for THC)
  • Level 2 : MEDIUM (urine significantly positive for THC)
  • Level 3 : HIGH (urine strongly positive for THC)

Saliva tests

This type of test can be performed in the hours following drug use. It detects drugs that have just been consumed. That's why it's the ideal tool for police forces, during roadside checks after discos and large gatherings.

The first saliva tests caused a stir because they lacked precision, but the latest generations are getting closer and closer to the reliability of urine tests. These tests also have the advantage of being less invasive and less restrictive for the person being tested.

The test presented here is a multi-drugs test, capable of simultaneously detecting the 5 most widely-used drugs today (cannabis, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy/methamphetamine and amphetamines).

What's next?

Now it's up to you to do what you think is right.

If you think that Active Prevention can make a difference with your children, then plan to carry out between 10 and 20 tests a year, to create an effective deterrent effect. Of course, there are no rules, and it's up to you to plan the frequency of tests to suit your own family.

Don't hesitate to alternate urine and saliva tests. It's another way of making your tests unpredictable.

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.