Drug Testing

Drug testing can be a critical implement in a parents’ toolbox.  Some parents are resistant to request urine from their child and feel that it violates some sacred trust that they have established with their teen.  Other parents would rather not know the truth of their child’s behavior.  Having objective proof may be overwhelming for a parent and require the parent to actually create a response.  Parents may also doubt the validity and reliability of the test and be talked out of the obvious result by their teen.

Certainly, drug testing takes the relationship to another level.  It is saying to the teen that you no longer trust what they are saying to you and you need proof of their innocence.  Strangely, this type of supervision is what the teen often needs in order to fight the urge to use or to assist them in their efforts to reduce their use.  Knowing that they may be tested randomly tells them that you care about their use and expect them to stop.  It is critical that they do not see you turn a blind eye to their behavior.  Ignoring the behavior of your teen, hoping that they will grow out of it, will often only lead to greater frequency and depth of use.  The consequences of continued use are often long lasting even if they do eventually quit.

Once a teen knows that he or she will be tested it is critical that you make the tests random and watch the teen fill the cup with urine.  Teens share methods to avoid detection and I have seen them attempt some pretty silly things.  Typically they drink lots of water or sneak in some clean urine to avoid detection.  So pay attention to the warmth of the cup and listen to the stream of the pee if you are uncomfortable with watching the actual urination.  The THC in Cannabis is detectable in urine for 48-72 hours after a single use.  Habitual or chronic use can be detected in urine for up to 12 weeks depending on quantity, duration, and frequency of use.

In an attempt to give a clean sample, teens will try not to give their first urination of the day.  The first urination is the dirtiest and can be filled with metabolites.  They will be trying to urinate a couple of times before giving their test sample.  Substances like Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or Excedrin), Naproxen (Aleve), and Riboflavin (B2 or Hempseed oil) can also cause false positives.  In order to achieve more accurate results some parents have begun to have the hair of their teen tested.  It can provide a very accurate picture of their drug use over a longer period of time.  Testing hair does require sending it in to a drug-testing lab but typically the process is quick and easy.

SUBSTANCE

BLOOD

URINE

HAIR

Alcohol

unknown

12-24 hrs

n/a

Amphetamine

unknown

1-4 days

up to 90 days

Barbiturates

unknown

1-21 days

unknown

Benzodiazepines

unknown

1-42 days

unknown

Cannabis (single use)

2-3 days

2-3 days

up to 90 days

Cannabis (habitual use)

2 weeks

up to 12 wks

up to 90 days

Cocaine

unknown

4-5 days

up to 90 days

Codeine/Morphine

unknown

2-4 days

up to 90 days

Heroin

unknown

2-4 days

up to 90 days

Methamphetamine

1-3 days

3-5 days

up to 90 days

PCP

1-3 days

3-7 days

up to 90 days