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Drug Testing on Your Child: Prevention, or Invasion of Privacy?

In this day and age when information about anything can be accessed with a swipe on a smartphone, the means of getting substances have become common. Drugs have always been a prevalent issue no matter the age, and parents find that teenagers tend to reach their rebellious phase through peer pressure and even pressure from social media. As a parent, it is important to understand when a situation arises that needs your intervention, like if you doubt your child on using substance abuse, then one must know what to do.

Drug tests are easy to come by nowadays. It can be searched online, is readily available over the counter, and is an inexpensive test to buy. These can often be bought in bulk— like the MDMA test kit, for example—and parents tend to decide on buying home drug tests for their kids as a preventive measure or as an investigative tool. While this may sound like a great idea at first, many experts are actually against drug testing children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that teens be screened for substance abuse, but in the right way. Having a child involuntarily take a drug test, for example, can be an issue of invasion of privacy. The trust is broken when a parent decides to sneakily use a test on their child and could lead to bad relationships between the parents and their children. This, unfortunately, creates an environment of resentment and suspicion, which a parent should never aim to have. 

Substance abuse for teenagers can modify the developing brain and negatively impact the teen’s life. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), adolescents are more likely to engage in substance abuse because of peer pressure, for self-medication for undiagnosed mental health issues, and even to just improve their mood. Cases of teens using drugs to get better at school are also found.

So what should a parent do for their child? Firstly, remember that your child is just as human as you. Talk to them to understand their situation and assure them that you are on their side. Treat them the way you would want to be treated. Offer them guidance and a safe space. Even if your child does not want to share to you, refer them to a qualified health care professional for evaluation, counseling, and treatment as needed. Sometimes all they need is a listening ear. Finally, support your child as they go through treatment and rehabilitation. Your child will need all the love and support a parent can bring during the whole process.

Parents worry for their children no matter their age—teenagers most especially since they are prone to easily believing their peers and are easily influenced through peer pressure. With the focus of “rearing children the right way” becoming an issue many people are bringing up lately, it is important to note that every child is unique and should be treated with care distinctively. Worrying will only get you so far, but effectively building a healthy relationship with your child will ensure you won’t have anything to worry about should the time come for you to be.

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