First Check® knows you want to trust your teenager. But there are times when you might begin to fear the worst, that your child is using drugs or alcohol. Some of the signs that you might begin to see are an unexplained drop in grades; isolating themselves from the rest of the family; not being truthful about where they are going and who they are with; being late for curfew; a sudden change in peer groups or close friends; drawing pot leaves, drugs or other drug symbols; becoming defiant with parents and authority figures; red, watery glassy-looking eyes; antisocial behavior; stealing and lying; and a disregard for the values that you’ve instilled in them.
What Would Cause My Child to Use Drugs or Alcohol?
The experts at NotMyKid.org have this to say:
The simple answer is that drugs alter perceptions of reality in ways that often feel pleasant. Drug use may temporarily satisfy emotional or social needs for experimenting young people. Many youth view drugs like a Swiss Army Knife, a tool with many functions: relaxation, pleasure, socialization, avoidance of emotional pain, a way to forget about problems, satisfy curiosity, avoid alienation, find excitement, feel like part of the crowd, go to sleep, wake up, cope with failure, relieve boredom, and/or to simply infuriate their parents. Some people are genetically programmed for difficulties with addictions while others find that curiosity leads to drug dependence and the challenges of dealing with addiction become overwhelming.
Our eldest son was formally diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) when he was 6 years old. Several years ago he was also diagnosed with ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). Along with that diagnosis came the moderate to severe depression episodes. Last summer we realized that he was using illegal drugs – specifically marijuana, ecstasy and LSD – and he was drinking, heavily, every chance that he had.
He stayed gone for days at a time during the summer, only checking in once every few days to let me know he was alright and reportedly staying at this friend or that friend’s house. I would take him his medication for his ADHD and ODD, unknowingly contributing to the mental health issues he would face later on as a result.
In July he threatened to commit suicide after a particular difficult situation left him incapable of making the distinction that he could come home and talk to his father and I.
Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for adolescents age 15 to 19, second only to unintentional injuries and accidents.
After he was admitted to an adolescent psychiatric facility for evaluation and discovering that he had been using these illicit drugs and alcohol, we began to be more vigilant about his whereabouts, who he was with, and what he was doing. He had a curfew and needed to be home at a particular time every evening.
Unbeknownst to us, his friends would come to his bedroom window at night and bring him alcohol and drugs – sometimes sneaking in through his bedroom window and spending the night partying and playing video games while his father and I slept just two doors away.
Our home became a virtual war zone with trying to keep him safe and to understand the danger that he was putting himself in. Earlier this year, he had another severe depression episode and was hospitalized for over two weeks. It was one of the best things that could have happened to him. While I don’t doubt that he would attempt to drink alcohol or smoke marijuana again given the chance – he did come to the realization that using other drugs such as the ecstasy and LSD with the current medications he is taking – is partially what was causing his drastic mood swings and manic episodes.
We decided to begin randomly drug testing both of our teenage sons earlier this year. Not just for our peace of mind, but to help them to understand that we take this seriously and want nothing but the best for them, to keep them safe.
October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month as well as National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. On October 3, 2016, President Obama proclaimed October to also be National Youth Substance Use and Substance Use Disorder Prevention Month.
Millions of Americans suffer from substance abuse – which includes underage drinking, alcohol dependency, non-medical use of prescription drugs, abuse of over-the-counter medications, and illicit drug use.
- Young Americans aged 12 to 20 account for 11 percent of the country’s monthly alcohol consumption
- Approximately 23 million people aged 12 or older used illicit drugs in 2010.
- 1 in 5 young adults has abused a prescription drug
- 1 in 25 children aged 12 through 17 have abused cough medicine to get high
This abuse touches all aspects of our communities and contributes to an estimated $193 billion in crime, health, and lost productivity costs.
First Check® Home Drug Testing Kits
Many parents have no idea that they can test their children for drugs in the privacy of their own homes. First Check® makes it simple to find out if your child is experimenting with drugs and what type. They offer a variety of drug testing kits that check from 1 drug up to 12 different drugs.
Testing your child is simple and the results are ready within 5 minutes.
- Wake your child up in the morning and escort him/her directly to the bathroom and inform them you are testing them for drugs (first morning urine is usually the most concentrated specimen of the day and is best for detecting any drugs your child may have taken).
- If you are using the cup test – hand your child the cup portion and stay with them while they provide a urine sample.
- Tightly secure the lid and set it over on its side onto the legs and set the timer for five minutes. Keep the test in your sight at all times until you have received the result.
- If a line appears in the Control line as well as the drug line, then you have a negative result – breathe easy, your child is not using that drug.
- If a line appears on the Control line but not on the drug line, then you have a preliminary positive result.
If the test result is a Preliminary Positive Result and you are still unsure or if your child vehemently disputes the result, you have the option of sending it to the First Check® lab for confirmatory testing.
I am happy to report that both of my teens have had negative test results on each of their tests. Thanks to First Check® we’ve been able to sleep easier!
First Check® makes it easy for parents to have peace of mind, and find the help that they need if their child does test positive for a particular drug.
You can view the videos on YouTube and find a wealth of resources and information on getting help for loved ones or for yourself. Not sure what a particular drug is? You can find the most common drugs and a description on First Check® as well as a listing of commonly used slang terms to describe a variety of different drugs that you may have heard your child mention.
Parents, if you find yourself in a similar situation as we were, please don’t wait. Visit the First Check® website today and check out the variety of products available and how easy it is to get your own peace of mind.
Stay tuned to the blog … we will be hosting a giveaway shortly sponsored by First Check® where five lucky families will each receive (1) First Check® 12-Drug Home Testing Kit of their own, retail value $39.99 each.
Many thanks to TeenRehabCenter.org, CADCA.org, Prevent Rx Abuse, NotMyKid.org, and The White House for their contributions to this article.
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