We report here a parallel synthesis-driven approach to create a family of self-assembling dimeric sensors that we call DimerDyes, and its use for the rapid identification of salt-tolerant sensors for illicit drugs. We developed an efficient method that involves parallel synthesis and screening in crude form without the need to purify each potential sensor. Structurally diverse “hit” DimerDyes were re-synthesized, purified and were each shown to assemble into homodimers in water in the programmed way. DimerDyes provided a “turn-on” fluorescence detection of multiple illicit drugs at low micromolar concentrations in water and in saliva. The combination of multiple agents into a sensor array was successfully able to detect and discriminate between closely related drugs and metabolites in multiple important drug families. This report includes extensive NMR data on synthetic characterization, and on binding and assembly processes. It also includes UV-Vis and fluorescence spectroscopy data, and their use for quantitation and identification of drug-related analytes using multivariate statistical analysis.