If you think your teen is using drugs, you may have thought about using a home drug test. While this might seem like a simple and quick way to get an answer, drug tests are not always reliable, and your teen may resent being tested.

Remember that your teen’s doctor can help assess whether your teen has a drug problem and a laboratory test is not always needed. However, if a drug test is recommended, your teen should know about it. The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes drug tests without a teen’s knowledge and consent.

Drug tests most commonly test urine. A breathalyzer may be used to test for alcohol use. However, it will not detect other substances. Also, many body tissues and fluids can be tested for drug use, such as hair, saliva, nails, and sweat. Some of these alternatives show promise but need to be refined. For instance,...

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