It is hard to believe that one’s own child could end up using drugs. Yet, a survey of Lee County youth showed that nearly 36% of middle school students and nearly 68% of high school students have used alcohol or an illicit drug at some time in their lifetime. The average age when youth first try alcohol and marijuana is ages 11 and 12, respectively. Although today’s youth are faced with many pressures from friends and today’s culture, parents still have the greatest influence in a youth’s life. What you do and say as a parent matters. It may feel awkward talking to your child about the risks of drugs and alcohol, but not talking to your child leaves them unprepared to deal with pressure from peers and other competing influences. If the topic of the risks of drugs does not come up in day to day conversation, parents may need to initiate the discussion.
How can I use a drug test kit at home as a prevention tool?
COMMUNICATION: SET CLEAR EXPECTATIONS AND RULES
Your child may have a good sense of your attitudes about illicit drug use, but if you have not clearly spelled out your expectations, you are missing an opportunity. Parents can use a drug test kit as a discussion tool to encourage two-way communication with their child about expectations and rules. Having a drug test kit at home helps to reinforce that your family believes that drug use is unacceptable. By discussing your expectations, you are sending a clear message that your child is accountable for his or her behavior.
Youth may be less likely to use drugs if they know their parents have a drug test kit because they know that the risk is greater that they will get caught.
Good parenting involves monitoring our children. We trust our kids, but we also verify what they tell us. We occasionally check in on them to confirm that they are where they say they are. We check in with other parents when a party or activity is being planned. When a youth tells us that they got good grades, we still check their report card. Drug testing at home can be thought of as a report card that shows that a child is successfully saying “no” to drugs.
GOOD EXCUSE TO SAY “NO”
Having a drug test kit at home gives youth a believable excuse to say “no” if they are asked by peers to try drugs.
The JAC provides free drug test kits to parents (while supplies last). Just ask one of the JAC staff for a drug test kit. The JAC is open 24 hours a day.