If you are a parent concerned about whether your teen is using drugs, urine testing is an option.
However, this most common type of drug test is also the easiest to manipulate.
With any drug test, time is of the essence. It is important to remember that when urine testing, marijuana will read positive for about a week after usage, but hard drugs and alcohol will typically go undetected after about three days. But if your teen has been using drugs regularly, the proof will remain in their system for longer.
Urine testing (and most other at-home drug testing) can be inaccurate and is therefore easier to be manipulated.
Many commonly consumed substances, like poppy seeds, ibuprofen, and tonic water could register as opioids, marijuana, or cocaine, respectively. This is why any at-home test that reads positive should be sent to a lab for further examining. The inaccuracy of common drug tests contribute to the ease at which they are altered or debated. Teens can argue that their test a false positive for many reasons. If they can buy time before a second test, they will have to time to try to detox. During detoxing, a teen may drink extra water or other substances to dilute the amount of drugs in their system, thus rendering a clean test.
A common but highly risky form of manipulating the urine test is buying urine from someone who is clean.
To combat this trick, drug test administrators implant urine temperature testing, which validates the time at which the urine sample was taken. If the urine is less than 96 degrees, then it is not a fresh sample. A multitude of at-home kits have temperature strips on the cup, but they tend to be inaccurate.
Yes, teens can fake their way through a drug test, and often do to avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
If you think your teen is abusing drugs, talk to them. If you develop a relationship with them, they will be more likely to communicate (and feel safe while doing so). No drug test is 100% guaranteed to be accurate. Things such as tampering with the sample, what the person has eaten recently, and other things can affect the validity of the urine test. The way to truly, completely know if your son or daughter is abusing drugs is to have them admit it to you. At-home urine tests can detect some drugs, but often not all, and may even detect some wrongly. So, the best thing to do is talk to your child when you think they are using, and then test if needed. As long as you approach them calmly and keep their safety in mind, you will benefit your child and your relationship with them.