One of the most frustrating experiences for a parent is to know something is happening, to know that their child is using something, and to continue to drug test them with negative results.  How on earth are they beating the drug test and what can I do about it?

Here is a list of issues that could be affecting the drug test your teen is taking and methods to overcome them.

1. Doctors office tests.  The first stop for many families is the pediatrician.  This is appropriate often times for teens who have just started using but it can be of minimal effectiveness if the teen is at all advanced in their use as they will have ways to combat this.  Most doctors office hand teens a cup and send them to the restroom for the test.  The advantage is that the test will be sent into a laboratory to test for a wide variety of substances.  The disadvantage is that the teen is often unsupervised during the test or not adequately supervised for the test.  This makes tampering much easier.  The situation is worse if the teen knows the test is coming and has time to prepare him or herself for it.

2.  Masking agents/someone else’s urine.  When a drug user is wise to an upcoming drug test they will often go to a local head shop (shop where drug paraphernalia is sold legally, i.e. bongs, pipes, etc.), where they can purchase various drinks and over the counter supplements that can make detection difficult or impossible.  Regular testing helps with this as the agents are costly and are not fool proof.  Again monitoring the test also helps as some of these agents are additives that go directly into the urine.  Other methods include using someone else’s urine.  Girls will insert small bottles inside of the vagina with other peoples urine sometimes and boys will actually use prosthetic penises or condoms/balloons filled with clean urine.  Also look at the search engine history on the addicts most used computer.  Sometimes these items are purchased online as well or they have done research online to figure out what will be the most effective method for beating the test.  A search engine history can sometimes even tell you what drugs are being used.

3.  The test doesn’t test for the substance being used.  In an age of designer drugs, it is difficult for legislators to keep up with the chemical compounds being created and abused by drug users.  Things like k2/spice, or bath salts are good examples of this.  Spice has a marijuana like high to it but has no THC in it.  It is a synthetic cannabinoid and will not show up on a test for THC.  Many drug users, especially teens will switch to using this to avoid detection.  There are several types of spice and even places that test for it can miss it.  At True North we test for 7 different types of spice to try to keep up with the developments in the drug world.  These chemicals are purchased legally at liquor stores and head shops and often sold as incense.  The chemical is sprayed onto the incense which is smoked.  Make sure your testing includes this.  over the counter tests from the pharmacy do not test for these chemicals.

This is a brief snapshot into some of the hiccups that can come along when you are trying to sort through a potential drug problem and testing does not seem to be helping.  There are sure to be many others as well.  If this is a problem, most drug treatment programs will assist you if you give them a phone call.  They have a lot of experience with these issues and will often diagnose the problem that is happening pretty quickly.  As always when it comes to drug and alcohol problems, do not be afraid to ask for help.