From November 2000 to June 2003, Sharon Levy, MD, and colleagues at the Children's Hospital Corp. in Boston analyzed the features of home drug-testing kits for adolescents available through the Internet. They also examined recommendations that drug-testing companies offered parents to guide them in using these products.
The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP).
- A variety of drug-testing products are marketed to parents over the Internet. These products feature tests using urine, hair, saliva and breath:
- Eight Internet sites offered a total of 26 drug-testing products. Some products test for one drug and others test for as many as 10.
- Seven of the eight websites sold urine tests.
- One company marketed a service that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for testing hair for several drugs.
- Three sites marketed instant saliva or breath screens for alcohol.
- Websites included several indications for parents to perform drug tests:
- Seven of the websites advocated drug testing as a preventive measure.
- All of the websites indicated that drug testing would allow parents to know with certainty whether their children are using drugs.
- Only one website clearly stated that a competent adolescent should not be tested against his or her will.
As a result of this project:
- The Committee on Substance Abuse of the American Association of Pediatrics amended its adolescent drug-testing policy to include a statement discouraging home drug testing by parents.