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For Parents: How Reliable Are Home Drug Tests?

When you think (or know but need proof) your child is using drugs, it is usually the go-to response to drug test them. How reliable are home drug tests, though? For me, it was always a scare tactic for my mom to tell me she was going to drug test me when I was in active addiction, but how accurate are they?

For Parents: How Reliable Are Home Drug Tests: What Do These Tests Do?

Before you are going to drug test your child, you might want to know what exactly the drug test does. These tests indicate if one or more prescription or illegal drugs are present in urine. These tests sense the presence of drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine, amphetamines, PCP, benzodiazepine, barbiturates, methadone, tricyclic antidepressants, ecstasy, and oxycodone. The at home drug tests usually only test for narcotics and drugs that are abused.

For Parents: How Reliable Are Home Drug Tests: What Type of Tests Are These and When Should You Do These Tests?

An at home drug test is a qualitative test that determines if a drug is present in someone’s system but doesn’t tell you the quantity or amount that is in their system. It is merely to tell you if at some point recently your child has been using drugs. If you are worried that your child is using a specific drug, make sure to check the label on the drug test to confirm that you purchased the right test. Each drug is different and stays in each person’s system for a different period of time. Most prescription pills stay in your system for anywhere from 1 to 4 days, while marijuana can stay in your system for months. Cocaine and Heroin usually stay in your system for 1 to 3 days and barbiturates can last 1 to 3 weeks. All of this depends on the person and how their body works and how much of the drug they used.

For Parents: How Reliable Are Home Drug Tests: How Do You Do One of These Tests?

These tests usually have a sample cup, the drug test and an instruction booklet. Before collecting the sample, it is very important that the person doing the test reads and understands the instructions. This is important because with most test kits, the result must be read within a certain number of minutes after the test is started. You collect urine in the sample collection cup and test it according to the instructions.

For Parents: How Reliable Are Home Drug Tests?

Now that we know all about at home drug tests, how reliable are they? The at-home drug test is fairly sensitive to the presence of drugs in the urine. This means that if drugs are present, you will typically get a positive test result. There are many different factors that can affect the drug test being accurate such as: the way you performed the test, the way you kept or stored the test, what your child ate or drank prior to the test or any other prescriptions your child may have taken before you tested them. These types of tests can never be 100% accurate, especially since they make different types of detoxes that you can buy at the vitamin store now-a-days. It can also be tampered with and watered down which will make the test invalid. Doing this test at home it is possible to get a false positive or false negative. The only way to definitely know if there are drugs in some ones system is to send the urine sample to a laboratory to be tested. If you suspect your child is using drugs, drug testing them may help but after the drug test is what you really have to prepare for. Like I said before, the drug test is just being used as proof to confirm something you already believe; if it is confirmed you should have a plan of action to take to help your child get treatment. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.


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