Drug and alcohol use is a significant issue in many family law proceedings, especially during the negotiation of care arrangements for children. Drug and alcohol testing is often used to determine whether a parent is using drugs or alcohol or is at risk of using drugs or alcohol. There are different types of tests available, each with its own advantages and limitations.
In this blog, we will discuss the most common drug and alcohol tests used in family law proceedings, including Hair Follicle Test, CDT Tests, Urine Tests, Breathalyzer Tests, and Blood Tests.
Hair Follicle Test
A hair follicle test is a drug and alcohol test that measures use over a longer period than other types of tests. A hair follicle test can detect drug and alcohol use up to 90 days before the test is administered, depending on the length of the hair sample.
The hair follicle test is popular because it is difficult to cheat or tamper with, and it provides an accurate assessment of long-term drug and alcohol use. However, it can be costly, and there is a possibility of false positives, often by way of contamination.
Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT) tests are used to detect excessive alcohol use over an extended period. This test measures the amount of CDT, a protein found in the blood, that has been altered by heavy alcohol use. CDT tests can detect alcohol use over several weeks or months, depending on the person’s level of consumption.
CDT tests are useful for detecting alcohol use over an extended period, but they may not be reliable for detecting recent alcohol use. Also, there are other medical conditions that can lead to increased CDT levels, leading to false positives.
Urine drug and alcohol tests are one of the most common types of drug and alcohol tests used in family law proceedings. This test can detect recent drug and alcohol use, typically within the last 24 to 48 hours. Urine drug and alcohol tests are inexpensive, easy to administer, and can detect a broad range of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, opioids, and methamphetamine as well as alcohol.
However, urine drug and alcohol tests are also easy to cheat or tamper with, and the results may be affected by factors such as hydration, metabolism, and the timing of drug and alcohol use.
A breathalyzer test is a quick and non-invasive way to measure a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC). It measures the amount of alcohol in the breath and provides an immediate reading of the person’s level of intoxication.
Breathalyzer tests are commonly used to detect alcohol use by drivers, but they can also be used in family law proceedings to determine whether a parent is under the influence of alcohol at any given moment.
In conclusion, drug and alcohol testing is a crucial tool in family law proceedings. Each test has its own advantages and limitations, and the choice of which test to use will depend on the specific circumstances of the case. It is also important to remember that drug and alcohol testing is just one aspect of a comprehensive evaluation of a parent’s ability to provide a safe and stable environment for their children.
Other factors, such as the parent’s mental health, parenting skills, and history of violence, will also be considered when determining care arrangements for children.