SmackDown: Should Parents Drug Test Their Kids?
Drug Testing Kids in the Comfort of Home is So Not Comforting
by Dori Hartley
How do you know if your children are on drugs?
Look in their eyes. The eyes tell all.
Before purchasing that home drug test, understand that making your child submit to a test not only raises a red flag telling him you don't trust him, it's also humiliating for both of you.
Peeing into a cup is no picnic, but handing over your steaming hot specimen to Mom is downright icky.
Drug use shows itself in its user. And the only way you'd be justified to test your own kid is if you truly are blind to whom your child is. You either know your kid or you don't. And, if something is "different" about your child, chances are, you're going to perceive it.
Home drug testing is just another excuse for parents to become further removed from their children. If your kid is using, you'll know it way before the testing stage is necessary.
You don't need a test, you need a conversation.
Marijuana smoke, like cigarette smoke, is smelly. If you suspect your child is smoking, put your nose in his clothing and hair. There's no hiding the inescapable stench.
Pills affect speech. Amphetamines cause users to speak rapidly, often times with a dry mouth. Painkillers, which cause grogginess, can make people slur their words. Listen to your kid's speech.
And one thing no drug users get away with is what they reveal in their eyes: pin-pointed pupils, black hole dilation or just good old fashioned, stoned-out redness hidden behind sunglasses.
Ask your kid to take those shades off and take a look to see what's in front of you. A drug user will lie, but the drugs themselves are incapable of deceit. No amount of Visine can effectively hide "the look" one gets after indulging in any drug.
I know "the look." I grew up during the 1970s, a time in history when drugs were everywhere. On weekends, my wannabe-hippie, New York City parents would bring me to the peace and love mecca of all drug-abusing hubs -- Bethesda Fountain in Central Park.
We saw and smelled the clouds of marijuana smoke that hovered above the crowds, as bongos and congas pounded out eternally long versions of "Oye Como Va" and "Witchy Woman."
People smoked their hash pipes out in the open, unafraid of being busted. In their inebriated trances, they would dance naked, and, on occasion, someone would mount a statue and tell the world (in slow motion) how beautiful we all were, courtesy of the delusion given them by a widely used hallucinogen called LSD.
We watched Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin die from alcohol and heroin abuse. We saw the hippies at the fountain and we saw the stoners at school. We knew what it looked like, and it was all there, easily seen in the eyes.
The lesson? Pay attention to your children. Look for subtle changes. Communicate and ask them about their lives, their world. Get to know your kid, if you haven't already.
The question of whether or not we should perform home drug tests is really only the beginning of a series of questions that need to be asked. Because, if the results come back positive for drugs, the real question becomes: What are you going to do about it?
Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Ask Us Anything About Parenting
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.