Published: 17th September 2019
With the use of illicit drugs prevalent in society today, sadly the likelihood of a child having some sort of contact with substance misuse is a growing concern.
In some cases where an adult may be using an illicit drug, it can often pose a danger to a child within the same environment. Being able to identify a dangerous environment is paramount to keeping the child safe in child care proceedings and detecting substances of abuse in both the parent/guardian and child can build a picture of their previous and current situation.
At Lextox we define a child as anyone aged 12 or under. There are a number of different things to consider when instructing a hair test for a child.
When a hair sample is received at our UKAS accredited laboratory, each hair section is washed prior to analysis to remove any external contaminants that may be present on the external hair shaft. This is in accordance with the Society of Hair Testing (SoHT) guidelines on testing hair samples.
When hair is analysed from children it is standard protocol to also analyse the corresponding wash samples; as this provides vital additional information as to what is also present on the outside of the hair shaft when the hair was collected. If drugs are present in the hair, this additional information may help provide a likelihood of whether the drugs present are from ingestion of that particular drug or external contamination of the hair. If the wash samples return negative results this indicates there were no drugs present on the external shaft of the hair and as such, the drug detected within the hair has come from ingestion.
Due to the complexity of results obtained for children, it is critical that the court has the full interpretation in an Expert Report. This is not provided in a Certificate of Analysis; therefore, for cases involving children, the quote will always include an Expert Report. This is to ensure that the court is provided with the full interpretation of the results and any additional assumptions that are made when reaching a conclusion of what the results mean. This will detail external exposure in addition to ingestion and, as the results involving children’s analysis are more complex, a detailed explanation is needed.
We also advise that hair analysis for child cases must always be segmented month by month as drug ingestion/exposure is more likely to be detected when analysing shorter lengths and could go undetected when analysing longer lengths.
At Lextox, we specialise in hair drug and alcohol testing for child care proceedings and are trusted by over 9,000 family law solicitors and social workers across the UK. We have a wealth of experience in detecting drugs and their metabolites in children’s hair and are able to provide a clear interpretation of the results to provide you with the evidence you may need in court.
If you require a hair drug test or if you would like to find out more, you can contact us via email; firstname.lastname@example.org or call 029 2048 41 41.