Unless otherwise required by law, the average person will shy away from a drug testing center, and a home drug test becomes a more preferable alternative. A home drug test is done in some cases, by parents who want to know if a child is using drugs. In other cases, a person may want to do a home drug test preparatory to a mandatory one at a testing center. In any case, a home drug test provides the convenience and privacy that many people want.
Substance abuse by children and adolescents has become a major concern in the USA and many countries around the world. A study conducted in the United States in 2001 among students in the 8th grade showed that 51% had used alcohol, 20% had used marijuana and 15% had taken other drugs. The study also showed that after completing high school, 80% of the students had used alcohol, 49% had used marijuana and 29% had taken some other prohibited drug. It is no surprise, therefore, that parents have sought for ways to discover whether their children are onto drugs or not.
The home drug kit is one such method. Testing for drugs outside of clinics or testing centers has become very popular. Although many schools, institutions and factories have instituted mandatory drug testing programs, the reliability of these has come into question time and again bolstering the attraction of home drug testing. In 1997, the first home drug testing kit that could be purchased without a prescription was approved by the US Food & Drug Administration. The following year, more than 200 such products were approved and many more are available today. Many of these products are advertised on the internet and are available for online purchase. Some of these sites actively encourage parents to use a home drug test kit to help prevent substance abuse by their children.
In 2001, three doctors connected with the Harvard Medical School and the Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, published the results of a survey they conducted to review internet sites offering products for a home drug test. The survey showed that the products available on these sites included test kits for a multiple panel hair test, saliva and breath alcohol tests and several urine tests. Many of these sites also provided information not directly related to the tests, like how to detect symptoms of drug abuse, laws about drug usage and advice to parents about their role in preventing substance abuse.
The study concluded, among other things, that the information provided in these web sites is accurate but that the more technical aspects are not fully covered. The authors suggested that parents who use a home drug test do so in consultation with a qualified physician, in order get the maximum benefit from the test.