Custody Battles Lead Parents to Tamper with Hair Drug Tests

By: Admin_Mike

9 Feb 2011

addiction stuffIn Europe judges who are overseeing child custody cases will commonly order a drug screening on the parents that are seeking custodhy (this also happens here in California). Hair follicle testing is thought to be the most accurate method to detect illegal drug use.


A research group in Wales Europe is noticing a trend among parents who try to tamper with the results. There has been an increasing number of child protection cases in Wales and judges ordered more than 2,500 parents to take hair tests in 2010. This is a significant rise over 2009 numbers.


In California, this practice is pursuant to California Family Code section 3041.5. This code allows courts to require individuals to undergo drug or alcohol screening if they are seeking custody or visitation rights with a child. These screenings are used to protect the health and safety of the children that are involved in the case.


Hair testing is the preferred method to determine illegal substance abuse. All that is needed in a six-inch clump of hair that has the width of a pencil lead. This sample of hair can tell how much substance abuse has been taken over a 12-month period. As hair grows, it absorbs tiny traces of alcohol and drug chemicals known as metabolites. These metabolites lock in to the core of the hair follicle and create a painted time line of substance abuse habits that a scientist can easily interpret. Scientists say that, depending on the hair length, you can determine an individual’s substance habits for up to two years.


One of the Wales based laboratories is Concateno TricoTech. This laboratory tests thousands of hair samples a year for traces of drug and alcohol abuse. Scientists at the facility pointed out that they can see when a heroin addict has been participating in a methadone treatment program and also see the times that the addict relapsed.  These tests are so accurate that scientists are noticing drug addicted parents are willing to take huge risks to avoid a positive result.


Scientists have noticed desperate parents stealing hair samples from sober individuals. Also, parents would come into the testing facility after they shaved there bodies or bleached all of their hair to avoid the test. These actions do not lead to the desired result as the judge is informed (which casts a negative light on their character). Also, the Judge will have them come back for a follow up test shortly thereafter. In one example, there was an identical twin who tried to convince authorities that he was the individual that needed to be tested.


In another example, a drug addicted mother was caught wearing a wig when it lifted off her head when an official tried to cut a hair sample.


The most common tactic is that the parent tries to buy products that are designed to wash out any signs of drugs from their hair.

- Cesar V

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