or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Preteens and Teens › Anyone randomly drug test your teen?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Anyone randomly drug test your teen?

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
In the past month, many (actually, most) of the 16 year olds in our neighborhood have been found to be regular drug users. My oldest is 16 and we are talking about many of his friends here. My ds has admitted to smoking pot. The parents have all been in contact (most of us are good friends) and are working together to get a handle on the situation. The drugs being used are mostly marijuana, some mushrooms, alcohol with some ecstasy and prescription drugs thrown in. A few kids are doing coke. I've known many of these kids since they were small and they are truly good, smart kids - they just seem to be making some bad choices. Most parents are doing random drug tests, and this was suggested by our pediatrician as well. I'd love to hear from any of you that have experience with this. Thanks in advance!
post #2 of 63
I came to this forum specifically to post about drugs and my 15.5 yo ds. I haven't had him random tested, but like your ds, mine has admitted to using mj. I know he has friends who do, I read their myspace pages. Scary. And scary how easy it is for them to get. My ds doesn't have a job, the only $$ he gets is what I give him which isn't much.

I guess my question to you is that if you and your son have an open communication and he has admitted to you that he's tried mj, what is the point of the drug test? You know what it will say already, don't you? I do, that's why I don't bother. Unless it's just to see if he's tried other stuff as well? But then, why not just ask him?

I don't have any good solutions either, so I'd love to hear how you're handling it. Never thought I'd be this mom - yet here I am.

to you too, it's a tough place to be!
post #3 of 63
MJ is generally less harmful than unfiltered cigarettes. Mushrooms aren't that bad either. A big habit of doing either, or using the other things you mentioned, would be very worrying though. I plan to teach that drugs are for use in certain situations to treat or achieve certain things, not to be taken lightly or done regularly. This said though I have never and will never use any of them myself, and DH tried pot once and honestly didn't like it. I wouldn't test, I would hope the open approach to education would lead to a honest communication.
post #4 of 63
I suppose the relevant questions are:

- what would you do with the information?

- do you currently have a trusting relationship with your son? how would random drug testing affect it?

I'm not sure what the random drug test would be 'for': is the idea to test whether he is being truthful? To get more information? What would be next?
post #5 of 63
Thread Starter 
The situation here is that one of ds's friends was selling mj and mushrooms. His parents found out about it, searched his room and found (among other things) a list he had made of his customers. This was a long list which included just about every teen we know. The "sellers" parents called the parents of all the "customers". This led parents to search their own kids' rooms, text messages, etc. and more info was gathered that way about who was doing what and how often. None of these kids admitted anything until it became clear that the parents already had proof. I asked my ds about it after the phone call, but before searching his room, etc. He did admit it when asked, but he had already been tipped off by the seller that the s*%t had hit the fan, so he knew we already knew. I already had him scheduled for his sports physical a few days later so while we were there we discussed it with his ped. I took him that day for a drug test to verify what was in his system.

At this point, it is clear that many of these kids have progressed into dangerous territory...chronic mj use, alcoholism, coke, oxycontin, ecstasy. This is pervasive...there doesn't seem to be a single kid we know that isn't abusing some substance or another. Right now it's like a ghost town around here because just about every teenager is currently on "lock down" until the parents figure out how to handle whatever is going on with their particular kid. Once school starts again, these same kids will be right back in the same situations they were in before. The ped. recommended random testing, and ds is for it - he says it will give him an excuse to say no when offered drugs. I guess "I can't, my parents test me" is easier to say than just plain "No, thanks."

DH,ds and I are still working through this. We want to trust ds, but he had no problem lying to us for about 10 months before we found out. Also, he is starting to drive now and I feel that it is stupid to put him behind the wheel when we have reason to believe he may be impaired. Right now, he's lost all priviledges such as driving, cell phone, going out, etc. I've also taken away his bank card so he can't make withdrawals on his own. (He works so he has a decent cash flow). We are thinking of returning priviledges one by one with proof of responsible choices on his part--testing clean. Clearly, if he tests positive for anything he would lose them again. I'm sure trust will build again over time, but right now we're feeling like he duped us for a long time and we need to learn from our mistakes too. This whole situation makes me so sad.
post #6 of 63
My parents... when my brother was about 16... started randomly testing his urine for alcohol when he came home at night. (He's 34, a successful engineer who owns his own business now). They were truly at a loss about how to handle the situation. He, I think, was lying about drinking and they were worried he was driving himself home under the influence. He would have to wake them up when he came in but if he'd been drinking he'd find ways to disguise his breath. So... the pee tests. It was a hard situation all the way around. After awhile he started peeing in a cup BEFORE he went out and then warming it under the water before handing the sample out from the bathroom to them so they'd think he'd just done it. (You can see he's a smart guy).
He forgot one night and so they discovered his trick.

Anyway... I'm not sure why I'm telling you this. Just wanted you to know that it's been done. My brother is fine now. I'm not exactly sure how either of them (parents or brother) feel about the situation in hindsight. I know my brother was very angry with my parents and it may have even spurred him on to drink more... or lie... or whatever. I don't know if my parents think NOW that it was effective. I only know that they were lost and worried. My brother isn't a big talker, especially about feelings. I was away at college at the time so I missed most of it. Just know how distraught my parents were. I see my mom tomorrow... maybe I'll ask her if she regrets that decision or if she would do it the same again.

I really feel for you. My ds is only 2... and of course, I'm hoping to avoid the situation altogether... but I know it happens in even the nicest, most open families. Good luck!

Oh... and as far as what THEY did with the info... they were just doing it as a preventitive measure, thinking that if my brother KNEW he could be tested he'd not take the risk. I think they also used it to judge whether or not he had a serious problem... thinking that if he STILL drank even when he knew he could be caught he must have an addiction. But, like I said... I think the testing may have actually spurred him on. Anyway... if he got caught he was punished... car taken away or whatever.

Good luck again. Please know that lots of kids experiment and it's normal and my brother is fine. BUT that obviously isn't always the case. Some kids get into serious trouble and really need help.
post #7 of 63
Thread Starter 
Thanks, artgirl. We have a standing order at a lab for random drug tests whenever we choose to bring him in. Not sure if we'll use it, but it's there just in case. We've researched home tests and do understand that we need to go into the bathroom with him to watch him pee in the cup and test it immediately. There is also an at-home alcohol test that uses a saliva swab and gives results in about a minute. We have friends that have invested in a breathalizer for their daughter to breath into when she gets home. It's pretty hard to know what to do. At this point, I feel like he's proven that he can't be trusted. He says he doesn't want to do it anymore, but he may well be just telling us what we want to hear. I think that the fact that he wants the random testing to help him say no may be a good thing. At least until he feels he is able to say no for himself, rather than for us.
post #8 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3boysmom View Post

The ped. recommended random testing, and ds is for it - he says it will give him an excuse to say no when offered drugs. I guess "I can't, my parents test me" is easier to say than just plain "No, thanks."

Also, he is starting to drive now and I feel that it is stupid to put him behind the wheel when we have reason to believe he may be impaired. .
That's interesting. It sounds like because drug use is really pervasive among his friends, he feels like he would need an 'out' in order to decline drugs. If he's telling you testing and having you guys play bad cop would make this easier for him, that may be a reason to go for it, but definitely explore it further with him. "I can't - I'll get caught" may make saying no easier, but he needs more in his arsenal. What if his friends developed a technique to get around the tests, like artgirl's brother, and responded by sharing it with him, telling him there was nothing to worry about?
post #9 of 63
3boysmom,
I think it IS a good sign that he's willing to do the tests and that he can use that as a reason to say no. I think peer pressure at that age is INCREDIBLE and sometimes a kid actually WANTS the parent to interfere so that they don't have to look bad/wimpy/scared/uncool in their friend's eyes.
I will really be pulling for your family. I remember all too well how stressful that time was.
post #10 of 63
DH and I have always had very open communication with my DSD. Nonetheless, we *trusted* she was a normal, curious teen. We *trusted* that she was living in the moment, feeling pressure to conform and weighing her friends' tellings at least as valid as her parent's words.

Over a period of five years, we tested her three times and for specific reasons. She understood why we were testing and it settled, without doubt, without drawn out discussion, whether she was living life within agreed-to boundaries.

She had the perfect "out" when peer pressure was applied - parents who might test and concern she'd be *dead meat* if anything came back positive.

DH's family has a long history of addictions. His two sons have inherited the tendency. (I did not have a hand in raising them.) DH and I felt that if we could get DSD past the young teen years without her going down that path, it would be unlikely that she would make those poor choices when she was older. It worked.

For the flip side - DH and I visited the father of one of DSD's friends when we heard that she had been taking hard drugs (not from our daughter, but from a reliable adult who was hesitant to approach the girl's father). Instead of testing her, as we suggested, he spoke to his daughter and was reassured that she was O.K.. Since, his daughter has been in-and-out of drug rehabilitation, twice.

Both DH and I made stupid choices as teens. My parents were clueless because there were no outward signs of trouble. I was the #1 student at my high school - winning all sorts of local and national academic awards, I did volunteer work, I was respectful, I obeyed the rules of curfew, I spoke openly to my parents on all sorts of topics ... and, by the grace of God, or sheer luck, I didn't kill myself by risk taking and, eventually, wised-up. So, when I became a parent to my husband's daughter, I knew that sometimes more than observation and conversation was needed to be sure of what was going-on.
post #11 of 63
I’m posting after only reading the OP….
Wow I could have written your post! I have done random tests on my son (16) and 2 out of the 3 have come back positive for pot and nothing else. I don’t feel I’ve violated my son by doing these tests and well frankly he has given me reasons to WANT them done. Also, DS had to consent to having the blood drawn so it’s not like he didn’t have a choice.
Now I’m going to go and read everyone’s responses and maybe respond again LOL!
post #12 of 63
I haven't read the replies, but my first thought was: They've already admitted to doing it, so what's the point of the test? What will you do if it comes back positive?

I have to say that in absence of an extreme circumstance (imminent danger to himself or others) that I can only imagine your relationship being harmed by random drug testing, and can't see anything positive coming out of it.

I know some may disagree with me on this, but given his age I think it would be more productive to focus on making smart choices, using drugs responsibly and safely, being careful about who supplies them, discussing the possible legal, physical, and emotional consequences of drug use, and above all, letting them know that you are always going to be there to help and guide them in any way they need it. If they're in trouble, I want them to know they can call me to help them out without fear of punishment or shame.
post #13 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
I think it would be more productive to focus on making smart choices, using drugs responsibly and safely, being careful about who supplies them, discussing the possible legal, physical, and emotional consequences of drug use, and above all, letting them know that you are always going to be there to help and guide them in any way they need it. If they're in trouble, I want them to know they can call me to help them out without fear of punishment or shame.

:

Tell me, how does a kid commit a crime and do drugs "responsibly" or "safely"?


Maybe I am the only one..but if my kids commit crimes then yes, I will punish them. That doesn't mean I won't guide them or help them, but there will be consequences for illegal drug use in my home.

And, again, could just be me...but sometimes people do things that they should be ashamed of...like driving under the influence. That to me is shameful behavior.
post #14 of 63
Thread Starter 
We are an extremely open family...we talk about everything. Our kids are all very aware that illegal activities are not ok with us. Even more important, they know that treating our bodies and minds with respect and making responsible choices is the expectation in our family.

I realize that the teen years are a time of testing and trying to figure out who you are, the kind of life you want to lead. At this point, we realize that ds has made some poor choices. We want to figure out how to best support him as he strives to learn from his experiences, move past his mistakes, and make better choices in the future. Since ds has betrayed our trust by lying to us for several months about this, drug testing may be a good option to give dh and I factual information about what ds is up to, as well as give ds a way to opt out of this stuff in the future.
post #15 of 63
I have tested him.. the cops have also random tested him..

NOT GOOD.
post #16 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by LotusBirthMama View Post
:

Tell me, how does a kid commit a crime and do drugs "responsibly" or "safely"?


Maybe I am the only one..but if my kids commit crimes then yes, I will punish them. That doesn't mean I won't guide them or help them, but there will be consequences for illegal drug use in my home.

And, again, could just be me...but sometimes people do things that they should be ashamed of...like driving under the influence. That to me is shameful behavior.
I have an entirely different viewpoint about this. First of all, I don't punish my children. So right there we are going to be approaching this differently. I can't think of a single person I knew in highschool whose drug/alcohol related behavior changed by being grounded. They just got better at lying.

As far how to do something that is illegal responsibly? I don't live my life based on what is legal or not. I do what I think is right for me and my family, and I want my children to learn to use their best judgement based on what is happening for them at any given time, not on whatever the ever changing screwed up idiots in charge happen to say is okay. So yes, drinking/doing drugs responsibily will be a huge discussion in our house in the upcoming years. I think there is a big distinction between smoking a joint at a friend's house and smoking crack. I think there is a big difference between having a beer when at home watching a movie and drunk driving. There is a big difference between taking mushrooms when out camping with friends and taking them at a concert in a big city. There's a big difference between buying a bag of weed on the streetcorner and buying from a friend you know well who grows it himself.

I don't subscribe to the Just Say No campaign to end drug use, and I don't subscribe to abstinence as a way to prevent teen pregnancy. I think both are completely useless at best, and probably do more harm than good since they mainly serve to put a wall up between teenagers and the adults that could be guiding them. The vast majority of teenagers, no matter how they are raised or how "good" they are, are going to try drugs/alcohol/sex at some point. I much prefer that I be of use in guiding in them in making smart, responsible choices when they do, rather than having them lie to me because they are afraid of being punished. They are in far less danger when they call me to pick them up drunk or high from a party than if they get into a drunk/high friend's car to get home.

My primary job as their parent is to keep them safe. And I can only do that if we have a completely open and non punitive dialogue about anything that is going on in their life.
post #17 of 63
I don't have a teen, so I won't comment on the discipline issue here, but . . .

I would really look into how useful a drug test would be in your situation. Will it actually give you meaningful information, or would it be more like a discipline ritual? For example, one random urine sample might test positive for marijuana which could mean your son smoked pot once at his friends house a week or two earlier. Or, you could have a test that was completely negative for all drugs and your son could have used meth or heroin the week before . . . I mean, when I was a teen I hated pot, and used much, much harder drugs that would not have shown up on a test two days later.

Also, it doesn't take a wiz kid to pass a drug test. The internet is full of helpful information for people who need to pass drug tests. Plenty of chronic pot smokers pass piss tests simply by drinking lots of water.
post #18 of 63
I completely agree with Oceanbaby. I find her post very well written, and I do think it is possible to do certain drugs and drink responsibly.

I would not drug test either of my teenagers. I think it's a violation of their privacy, and, to me, there's something about it that goes against having a trusting and loving relationship.
post #19 of 63
I have a perspective on this. I have a daughter, 18, who smokes marijuana fairly regularly. She is working 2 jobs, one as a bank teller, one at the same place she's been for 2.5 years and manages their office on weekends.

She graduated from HS with a 3.86 GPA, and is starting college this fall, with her eyes on our U of O's college of business. She is the most responsible, clearheaded child I have ever met, more so then most adults, and certainly more than I was at her age!

I have a beer several nights after work with dinner. One reason- it goes well with dinner. Another reason- it relaxes me.
How hypocritical would it be of me to "punish" her for having a bong hit before bed a few nights a week, or with friends watching a movie? NO she does not drive under the influence. Yes she has smoked on our property (but not in the house). I certainly did it at her age, and also graduated HS with a high GPA, was extremely successful in college, etc.

BUT...it can go both ways. We have people in our family who have struggled HARD with addiction, and I have seen the damage some drugs can do.

I do not worry about occasional, or even fairly regular, marijuana use. I would worry far more about teen drinking, as alcohol is a far more dangerous substance (both in toxicity and impairment).

My daughter and I are really close, discuss quite a bit about her life, and I have told her that smoking pot will become a problem if you allow it to be habitual- that is, if you feel like you "can't" go to sleep, relax, socialize, etc without it.

The bottom line, I guess, is that I experimented as a teen and came out fine. I tried LSD, mushrooms, coke, etc...smoked pot a lot, drank occasionally. I learned some stuff from that all, and moved on with my life. I have shared my experiences, and what I think about it all, with my kids. Any "punishment" would be hypocritical on my part.
post #20 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamieCatheryn View Post
MJ is generally less harmful than unfiltered cigarettes. Mushrooms aren't that bad either. A big habit of doing either, or using the other things you mentioned, would be very worrying though. I plan to teach that drugs are for use in certain situations to treat or achieve certain things, not to be taken lightly or done regularly. This said though I have never and will never use any of them myself, and DH tried pot once and honestly didn't like it. I wouldn't test, I would hope the open approach to education would lead to a honest communication.
As a former raver, and a former regular user of mushrooms (in high school...we picked them ourselves in Texas) I have to say that I saw more than one occasion where kids purchased dried mushrooms, ordinary grocery store variety, that had been dusted with PCP. So, no, mushrooms aren't that bad, IF and this is a big if.....the person knows exactly where they came from.

I also smoked a lot of pot in high school, and I was given joints at parties that had been dusted too. Drugs are dangerous.....pot in and of itself isn't all that bad, but people aren't always trustworthy when they are giving you drugs. Kids would also dip their joints in formaldehyde in the science lab at school.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Preteens and Teens
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Preteens and Teens › Anyone randomly drug test your teen?