From Talking to Testing Your Children For Drug Use

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Knoxville (WVLT) Most schools, and most parents, have a zero tolerance policy regarding illegal drugs.

Violating that policy can result in serious consequences.

So, you, as a parent want to take serious action if you suspect your child is using drugs.

We're covering East Tennessee health, with more on when you should go from talking to your child about drugs to testing for them.

Drug testing is becoming common in the workplace, with more employers requiring workers to undergo random screens.

But an increasing number of the clients here at Mobile Diagnostics are families; parents wanting their teenagers to be tested for illegal drugs.

Family psychiatrist Dr. John Robertson says before you drug test your teen, talk to him, but be skeptical.

"You want to believe your child, but you can't, not about that stuff, anyway. You're going to have to do a little bit more investigation, a little bit more work."

Talk to your child's friends and their parents.

Peterson says they may have seen or heard something, and parents are often the last to know if their own child has a problem.

But rather than rely on word of mouth, you may want proof, and if you decide to drug test your child, peterson says, do it randomly.

Dr. Peterson: "One of the things you can ask your child, 'if i do a urine drug screen, is it going to be positive or negative? Are you sure about that? I want to check it. Do one. Prove it to me.'"

The next step is diagnosing the problem: Has your child abused drugs on occasion, or is he already addicted?

There's a written test called an adolescent substance abuse subtle screening inventory designed to tell you.

"There is a test, a hand written questionnaire, that the adolescent fills out, that's 90 percent accurate in distinguishing between substance abuse and substance addiction," Dr. Peterson says.

Peterson says substance abuse is a problem that should be punished, but addiction is a disease that needs treatment.

And like other diseases, the earlier the treatment, the better the chance of survival.

At Mobile Diagnostics, you don't need an appointment for a drug screen.

They perform instant tests, urine tests and hair follicle tests at a cost of between 35 and 100 dollars.

And the can test for a specific drug or an entire screen.

There are at home tests, but most are not as accurate and there is more room for human error.

Covering East Tennessee health, I'm Jessa Goddard.

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