I had a friend who once told me that, in a practical sense, there's little separating one person who can not read from another who chooses not to. When parenting, there's also little difference between those parents who can not see signs of danger and others who will not.
For a variety of reasons, at some point good kids often make poor choices about drugs and alcohol. They find themselves out of school, in jail, in rehab, or worse. Their parents look back with regret wondering what went wrong and what they could have done to prevent it.
Many teens believe (and rightfully so) that their parents are easily duped and do not know what's going on. With this belief, teens doubt their mischief will ever be discovered and do not feel the parental bond of trust is in jeopardy. Little or no behavioral deterrent exists, and teens essentially feel like they can do what they want.
The more convinced parents are that their teens would never try drugs, the harder it is for them to see the signs and the easier it is for their kids to get away with it. If teens know their parents are not checking, they do not fear getting caught or facing the consequences of their actions.
However, because the reverse is also true, there has been a recent increase in the popularity of home drug testing kits. Kits are used at home and provide instant results for a fraction of the cost of a lab, without sacrificing accuracy or privacy for parents who are willing to read the test results.
Since the topic of home drug testing can be a poor one and may damage a relationship if not handled properly, an approach was developed by Dr. Michael Reznicek to help parents and teens find a reasonable middle ground. His Parent and Child Contract Software (PACCS) facilitates conversations and establishes expectations (including rewards as well as consequences) tied to results of the tests.
For those who are willing to read, the signs are there. For those who are not, the consequences may soon follow and may be grave.