If you suspect that a young person you care about is using drugs it is understandable that you will want to know the truth as soon as possible to help the situation.

Before purchasing or using a drug test consider whether drug testing is the best way to learn the truth and move forward. Keep in mind:

  • The tests are often billed as preventive, but there's no evidence to say that they actually keep young people away from drugs.
  • Some drug tests, such as home test kits are not always accurate.
  • As an isolated repsonse without discussion or consent from a young person, drug tests can create a platform of mistrust and accusation.
  • A drug test may tell you if a young person has used drugs, but will not give you reasons as to why the young person may use drugs or place you in a good position to help. Identifying signs that drugs might be a problem is a good place to start.

Research shows that open and supportive conversations based on effective communication produce the best outcomes in the long run. This includes raising concerns about drugs in a ways that promote a climate of honestly. 

there's no evidence to say that (drug testing) actually keeps young people away from drugs

It is also important to remember that there are circumstances where a young person may request to be drug tested or be required to submit to drug testing for legal reasons or as part of drug treatment. Learn more about drug tests in these circumstances and remember, you can talk to YoDAA for more ideas.