Is random drug testing a good way of keeping my kids from using drugs?

Drug testing has been used by some parents as a successful part of their drug prevention strategy. By itself, it won’t necessarily keep your kids drug-free, and you must do it right if you hope to have it add something useful to your arsenal.

Having the drug-test kit hanging over your kids’ head as a way to “catch” them or punish them will set up an environment of mistrust and may in fact backfire, angering your teen and damaging your relationship. Kids who have strong relationships with their parents are shown to be less likely to use substances.

While having conversations with your teen, let them know that they can use you as an excuse to not use drugs. Tell them you will keep a drug test kit in the house and that you will use it if you ever feel you need to. Also explain how they can use this fact to get themselves out of a sticky situation. The response “No, I can’t. My parents have a drug test and I’ll definitely get caught” not only gives them a reason to say no, it will also likely change the subject to how strict you are. Let your kids know you don’t mind being the “bad guy.”