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Adolescent Drug Abuse, To Test or Not To Test?


When the subject of drug use comes up, it's often with respect to teens. This makes some sense because it's during the younger years that the bulk substance use begins as a trend or fashion. 

  • Some adolescents may use substances as consumer items, along with clothes and music, to work out an identity or image for themselves.
  • Some youths don't choose substance use in and of itself, but rather choose a way of life within which substance use goes hand in alienation, rebellion, a sense of independence from parents and society, and therefore, the rummage around for freedom and friendship.


Adolescence is a confusing and complex period in life, a time of questioning, exploring, and risk-taking. Drug experimentation is becoming an increasingly prevalent part of an adolescent's rite of passage. Young people are responding masse to the alluring promise of today's chemical culture, which seems to promise quick relief and instant gratification, popularity, and an attractive peer group, not to mention sexual prowess and financial success. All of these offerings, which represent primary adolescent issues and desires, are enhanced further through television, one of the primary reference sources for the adolescent population.

The misuse of medication may provide short-term pleasurable feelings and euphoria, but they ignore the future consequences of misuse may cause a range of diseases including the risk of death from abuse. 

The common drugs abused by adolescents include;

  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • cannabis 
  • amphetamines
  • inhalants
  • sedative drugs
  • heroin
  • cocaine

Drug use among youths is now a matter of great concern for Adolescents believe that alcohol and occasional are the preference of the older generation while the huffing of tobacco and therefore, the use of other non-conventional drugs are the desires of youth during this current generation. 

The substance abuse is prevailing among the adolescents since 1980s. The drug abuse is an ever-changing trend from smoking stimulating plants, bulk drinking alcohol to chewing some newest local products.

  • Cocaine particularly has been in high demand since late 2oth century till now, consuming, snorting, and huffing cocaine makes individual high. 
  • Heroin, amphetamines, and narcotics are the drugs which are most widely used for mood alteration. 
  • Opium is a painkiller but at the same time, it can induce sleep.
  • Medically prescribed drugs like Paracetamol, Aspirin, Antibiotics and sedatives drugs are constantly abused nowadays.

The effects of drug abuse include difficulty with concentration, mood, coordination, and judgment. Drugs may cause;

  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Agitation
  • Problems with memory
  • impaired attention span
  • delayed maturation and dysfunction of brain

 Adolescents who use one drug are likely to use another. They usually begin with legal drugs-alcohol or tobacco progress to marijuana, and may eventually go on to other drugs or combinations of drugs. About half of adolescents who try marijuana will eventually progress to more potent drugs. Alcohol and tobacco, particularly, and sometimes marijuana are thus known as "gateway" drugs, their use greatly increases the probability of later use of other substances. It's been estimated those children who begin drinking before the age of 15 are fourfold more likely to become alcohol dependent later in life.


Adolescent addiction develops in three stages;


Early stage addiction starts with experimenting the substance usually at an age of 11 or 12 years, this could flow from to look pressure, follow trend or because of alcoholic parents. Additionally, those kids who aren’t supervised by their parents or have broken relationship are more likely to become enthusiastic about mood altering substances.


As the use begins to extend and more regular, teens begin to rely upon chemicals as a coping mechanism. They experience adverse consequences physiologically, emotionally, physically and mentally, including problems have school, at home, with friends and family. The phenomenon of denial becomes increasingly entrenched, precluding the conclusion of the connection between adverse consequences and chemical use.


When the chemically dependent adolescent continues to use illicit substances the diseases escalate considerably. Thanks to an abundance of enablers, and also the ability to con, hide, and slug drug use, it's not uncommon for fogeys not to recognize that their teen is even involved in drugs until the disease has progressed to a complicated level. In advanced addiction, adverse effects and negative consequences of illicit drugs become more noticeable physically, whereas the emotional pain, low self-esteem, and loneliness increase psychologically. The adolescent perpetuates a cycle of compulsive use, negative physical, emotional, and social consequences, negative feelings about self, and increased chemical used to flee these feelings. Unless intervention takes place, a chemically dependent adolescent's disease will still make imprisonment, institutionalization, or premature death.


Behavior in teen years’ youngsters must make critical and important life decisions for his or her future. As teens weigh these decisions, parents can play a major role in shaping these decisions rightly. Parents must build a sustainable bond with children in a very way that they trust them with their life decisions, having dinner together, spending time with them or simply a little picnic or vacation have a significant role in a child’s behavior and attitude. They could tell them about their problems, addiction, fighting, or having intimate relationships at an early age. 

Teens today are being raised in very different family environments from those of fifty or 100 years ago families are smaller, are more likely to be headed by one parent, and more likely to measure in an urban or non-farm setting. These factors and lots more, are likely to possess contributed to the busy lives that families lead. The parental closeness may reflect in a child’s psychology and cognitive thinking ability. Parents should concern what their child is perceiving,

  • are they satisfied with the way their parents communicate with them? 
  • Or are they confident enough to speak about the issues that are bothering them? 
  • Is one of the parent is harsh with them?

 The increasing parental time spent within the workplace and in commuting puts a considerable squeeze on families to seek out time for other important activities, including time for folks to spend with children. Studies and surveys have demonstrated those teens who spend time at dinner with their parents or have good parental closeness are only about half as likely to drink or smoke as compared to an addicted peer.


Early aggressive behavior, many teens have aggressive nature, and impulsive behavior at an awfully young age either thanks to being overly spoiled or thanks to lack of parental attention. If it's not controlled through positive parental actions, it's going to result in additional risks including rejection, punishment, an academic failure which eventually results in skipping school and substance abuse

Family history of abuse Parents function a task model for his or her children and therefore, the kids copy their actions. If a parent is an alcoholic, there's 66% chance that the youngsters are visiting the use of illicit drugs in their early teen years.

Poor academic Achievement, falling grades and failing multiple classes may possess a negative impact on a child’s ability, they could want a failure or want they're good for nothing. This could indicate that the kid is headed toward a negative developmental path.


The early interaction a toddler experience is with parents and family which is either positive or negative. For this reason, childhood years are crucial for his or her development. Children who are more likely to experience the following situations are at greater risk of habit

  • Lack of great relationship with parents or guardians
  • Chaotic home environment
  • An alcoholic parent, or having an abusive relationship with parents or caretaker
  • Aggression and impulsivity in behavior
  • Academic failure, poor grades
  • Social engagements involving drugs
  • Weak coping mechanism
  • Association with drug abusing peers
  • Trying to “fit in” with the trend to achieve social acceptability from peers, age-mates and friends
  • Parents’ divorce, separation or death
  • Moving aloof from home to attend college or for the other reason
  • Bullying
  • Racism
  • Dysfunctional family
  • Reactive interventions


Addicted Adolescents and teens might possess a negative behavior with their parents and family. Dealing with aggressive, anxious, frustrated behavior can be traumatizing and hard to handle but parents help their child to get out of this with 

  • love, compassion, trust, 
  • counselling, 
  • negotiating,
  • have small conversation time to time
  • ask about their problems, 
  • provide best possible solution to their problems
  • take advantage of small moments, make them feel special and important
  • build a trusting relationship with your child
  • understanding their emotional needs
  • communicate their needs
  • by spending more time with them
  • learn the best way to approach your child when they are feeling down 

It has been made evident from numerous studies that those teenagers who shared a detailed bond with parents were less likely to fall within the pit hole of habit. Teens who are near their parents are more likely to achieve success in life and avoid dangerous, harmful or destructive behavior. 


You can help your child with patience and possible strategies to teach them between good and false by

  • To comfort the child don’t give what he/she is asking for
  • Remain calm and composed, don’t respond negatively to child’s harsh behavior
  • Praise positive behavior, use the reward technique
  • Use examples to let your child know about the negative consequences of substance abuse
  • Practice negotiating and talk to them when they are calmed down


Family has a very important role in providing protection for their children once they are involved in negative activities. Family can function a protective function when there is;

  • Build strong bond of relationship
  • Taking interest in a child’s life experiences
  • Supportive parents who meet child’s emotional, cognitive, financial, and social needs.
  • Sign up for rehabilitation programs which will guide parents and child on how to overcome addiction
  • Age appropriate parental monitoring
  • Setting limits and curfews, enforcing household rules
  • Adult supervision of online activities in addition as outside the house
  • Study the behavior of child at home, how the child is behaving with you(parent), siblings and with friends
  • Facts about alcohol and drug abuse can be taught so that substance abuse can be perceived as an unacceptable means of coping with everyday life
  • Accurate information regarding addictive disease allows an understanding that precludes moral and ethical stigmas often associated with alcoholism and drug addiction
  • Providing habilitation to adolescents regarding substance abuse
  • Family medical checkups
  • Consult a psychotherapist about your child’s changed attitude, manner and behavior, take advice on how to deal and control them efficiently
  • Take your child to psychologists and psychotherapist


Parents can talk to their teachers and school therapist about their unusual behavior. They can get to know about their friends and age-mates, with who they hangout more often or have more friendship. Schools may establish numerous seminars and programs where they can deal with adolescents who are risk of substance abuse by focusing on child’s;

  • Academic interest and social interaction
  • Talking to teachers about the cause of their problematic behavior
  • If a child is experiencing problems at home, a parent-teacher meeting can be called to discuss about child mental health. 
  • Setting up activities to build child’s confidence, self-control, teach compassion, affection, group work and good peer relationship.
  • Strengthen students bonding with school and reduce likelihood of dropping out
  • Monthly medical checkups and drug tests
  • Educating about the adverse effects about substance abuse with live examples.

Try to be very careful while testing your child, it might damage your relationship and break their trust, you could be viewed as police officer who is inspecting and suspecting them for their actions 

If a parent notices some unusual behavior in their child’s personality over your time. He/she must suspect whether their child is engaging in harmful activities and using illicit drugs

They'll try this by having;

  • an effective communication with them
  • explaining the negative outcomes of substance abuse
  • ask about their problems, what’s concerning them? Are they being bullied?
  • by knowing their friends
  • use oral saliva test to prove the misuse
  • if the test is positive, refer to medical practitioner for rehabilitation therapy


Drug test is extremely crucial in detecting the early stage in substance abuse. You can test your child by using a variety of test, most parents use hair test but it could potentially lead to a false nevative as it may not detect the recent use or drug and is limited for certain drugs.  Often children tend to lie with to parents or in most cases abuse them verbally to get away with their false actions.

The best way to test your child is by using  Saliva drug tests  which are non-invasive, fast, efficient, inexpensive and easy to use, they also detect the type illicit drug teen is using. The symptoms of drug abuse and addiction are recognizable, diagnosable, and treatable.  Early diagnosis and intervention is crucial to help in the onset of rehabilitation program benefitting the affected person, their family and society.



Drugs has been a part of our society since ancestral times. They were initially used to treat pathological condition but by the late 19th century drug abuse started to trend in youth. Addiction is a multifaceted behavior. It may be due to genetic predisposition or social and environmental factors. Teens, adolescents and young adults are more prone to substance abuse due to lack of education, destroyed relationship with family or falling subject to negative company. 

 You as a parent should test your child for using illicit drugs. It is an effective and efficient way to prevent your child from negative outcomes before they fall prey to it. Although there has been a drastic decline in misuse among teen overs the years, but youth violence, alcohol consumption, drug use, teenage pregnancy, and childbearing remain a heavy problem in today’s generation.

Testing for illicit drugs is important because excessive use of drugs in future might affect them in various ways; 

  • Psychiatric problems
  • Increased chance of accidents due to overdose
  • Increased chance of violence
  • Antisocial behavior
  • High incidence of suicidal thoughts or in severe cases suicide
  • Serious health issues in near future including cancer.

Effective parenting, habilitation of illicit drugs and a healthy relationship with parents can prevent addiction at a very young age. Early intervention can help to cut back or reverse this risky problematic behavior and alter child’s cognition.


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