Teenage drug abuse calls for readily accessible solutions. The most commercially available screening methods for parents are urine drug tests and hair drug tests. Let’s look at their strengths and weaknesses and show you why they are best used to create a sustainable and timely home drug testing program that won’t break the bank!

Urine Drug Testing Strengths

  • Cheap: It is one of the most economical drug testing methods. Cups shouldn’t cost more than $20 and dip cards or strips are even cheaper.
  • Respected: It is fairly accurate and even garnered the title of “the gold standard” in the drug testing industry.
  • Easy-to-Use: It can be carried out easily at home or in the office, with proper guidance and lab verified to ensure accurate results.
  • Instant: Results are virtually instant, showing up in 3-5 minutes.

Urine Drug Testing Weaknesses

  • Cheat-able: Because of the private nature of collection it can be easily “tampered” with by various adulteration methods or even substitution of samples.
  • Short Detection Times: The detection times for most drugs goes back just 3-5 days
  • Cut-Off Levels: There are strict cut-off levels so some use can go undetected.

Hair Drug Testing Strengths

  • Long Detection Times: A long drug detection window – for up to 90 days.
  • Quantitative Testing: It is far more sensitive than urine testing cutoff levels and provides results that beat excuses. Giving the tester a better idea of how often or how much the substance is being used.
  • Reliable: Hair drug testing is also considered a relatively non-intrusive method of drug testing and impossible to cheat unless an incorrect sample is provided.

Hair Drug Testing Weaknesses:

  • Price: Presently, hair follicle drug testing is more expensive than urine drug tests.
  • Wait Times: Results are expected to arrive within 3-5 business days due to lab wait times.

The Ideal Home Drug Testing Program

Seeing the strengths and weaknesses of each type of testing our suggestion for parents establishing a drug-free home is this:

  1. Start With The Hair Drug Test
    Getting the long detection times and quantitative results will give an accurate picture of the drug use and severity of it. This can inform you how to best address the issue and beat excuses of “second-hand smoke” or “one-time use”.
  2. Discuss The Results
    Let the testee know the results and express your concern for their long term well being. Find out if there are other problems that are contributing to this behavior and give them a safe space to share those.
  3. Come To An Understanding
    It is important to not only condemn the behavior but encourage them in their ability to live drug-free and your support in doing so. Develop a structure of how you want to monitor the problem going forward and incentivize good behavior as you see fit.
  4. Supplement With Urine Testing
    The economic nature of these tests, their instant results and shorter detection times make them ideal for testing in the short term and ensuring that a problem isn’t continuing.