Drug Use Gains a Grip on Maryland Youths

As a parent you may remember the struggles of your youth: navigating through peer pressure, grappling with family upheavals (no matter how small they seem now), disappointment, overconfidence, under-confidence, boredom. Only now, you have retrospect. A teenager, unfortunately, does not.

The internal turmoil may be too much for teens to bear, and they may be tempted to use illicit drugs to numb the pain or escape their problems for a while.


In Maryland, teens are using drugs as a coping method too often, resulting in an opioid epidemic among teens. The worst of it? Heroin appears to be on the rise as the figures show.

According to Maryland state health officials, recent statistics indicate that deaths related to heroin are up in general by 25 percent and showing a gradual rise among teens within this number. Treatment Resources for Youth in Baltimore reports kids entering the center as young as 11 years old, but workers there know of children as young as eight who are already using either drugs or alcohol.

Unfortunately, this is not the worst news. Heroin is becoming cheaper than taking opioid pills, and it's easier to find. The trail to heroin can be very short, according to clinicians. A teenager who started taking a prescription pill for a serious injury in football at school or somehow got a hold of a family member's prescribed opioids can easily descend into the bigger, faster buzz of heroin.

Treatment centers, counselors, clinicians, and private prevention providers like Confirm BioSciences, creator of home hair drug test HairConfim, however, point to ways you, as a parent, can keep your child out of the way of the opioid epidemic. Awareness and drug prevention through home drug testing, as well as knowing what is bothering your teen, can all nip a potential drug crisis in the bud.

You can first pay attention. Note your child's deviations from his or her usual norms. Is he or she leaving the house without saying anything? Is he or she ever more aggressive or contentious than usual? Are his or her eyes ever dilated? Is there any evident nausea? These are only a handful of signals to keep in mind.

Secondly, you can act to determine the severity of the problem and prevent further danger by applying one simple measure-home drug testing. One technology specifically fits the bill when it comes to preventing or detecting your child's drug use: a home hair drug test.

Why hair? The steps are few compared to, say, urine testing. You only need to collect 90-120 strands of hair from your child's scalp. It is virtually cheat-proof. With urine testing, a child is unsupervised in the bathroom as they provide their urine sample. Without supervision of the test, your child might try using someone else's urine or adulterating the urine with another substance that blurs the results.

Hair testing involves complete supervision by a parent. When using your at-home drug test kit, the hair sample is cut and directly placed into the collection container before being sent to the lab. The greatest benefit of a hair drug test like HairConfirm, which is readily available at CVS Pharmacy, is its long-term detection capabilities. It detects the use of a drug farther back in time than other forms of testing. A urine test, for example, lends a history of use stretching a mere 3-5 days before testing. Hair detects usage spanning as far as 90 days before testing, barring the most recent 5-7 days-the time it takes for hints of the drug to enter the bloodstream and travel to the hair.
Hair tests also detects more types of drugs (14) than urine (1-12) and can be used preventatively to deter teen drug use by providing an accountability factor. It takes only three to four hair drug tests per year to determine whether your teen is developing a pattern of usage, whereas a urine test must be administered almost weekly to establish the same history or pattern. When it comes to hair drug testing, an at-home drug test can range from $60 to $100, more than the average urine tests (about $30-$50). But when you consider that only three to four tests are needed yearly, the total spent on hair testing over the course of a year falls noticeably below that of urine testing.

A home hair drug test can provide your child with the accountability necessary to prevent and deter drug use, whether in Maryland or another state, and keep him or her from falling off the opioid epidemic cliff.

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