PHOENIX - With school in full swing, the pressure is on not just to hit the books but for some kids to also experiment with drugs. More parents are turning to drug testing labs to keep their kids honest as a result.
Half of all new drug users are under the age of 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control. One in five teens have abused prescription meds and 21 percent of high school seniors admit to using pot in the past month.
At a private drug testing lab you don't need a doctor's note or court order --just a hair sample, nail clippings or a urine test. Any Lab Test Now in Phoenix says it has seen a big increase in parents walking through the door either suspecting their teen or tween has tried drugs or they're using a random drug test to start the conversation and set expectations. It also gives teens an out with peer pressure if they know they'll be randomly tested.
“It’s scary because you trust your kids and they say they're not doing it but you wanna give them that out, you don't want to accuse them, it's your piece of mind you want them to know you're protecting them as well,” said Patrick Staar, owner of Any Lab Test Now.
It’s also important for parents to stay informed on the latest drug trends.
Drug prevention expert Shelly Mowrey says right now the hot trend is vaping and there are new ways to hide it. Online you can find vape pens, or e-cigarettes, shaped like pens that work, lipstick cases, USB drives, even cases that look like iPhones. There are also flavor vapes called Jewls and most teens surveyed don't even realize they have nicotine in them.
Mowrey says studies are showing a huge number of teens who vape go on to start smoking traditional cigarettes. Teens are also vaping marijuana, THC oil, and it's odorless.
Mowrey says students are starting as early as middle school and are doing it in plain sight.
“Recently one of the principals told me they have it on video of one of the kids going like this, lifting his hand up to his mouth and he was hiding a vape in the palm of his hand. So they're easy to hide, parents have to really look.” Said Mowrey.
She suggests getting to the root of why your teen is using, saying most often it's depression and anxiety and your pediatrician can help find other, healthy stress relief options.