Going Beyond Results: How Atkinson Lewis’ Comprehensive Approach to Drug and Alcohol Testing Ensures Informed Family Court Judgments

Alcohol and drug testing in family law cases is a sensitive issue. In the UK, it is governed by the court system’s unique laws and procedures.

It is something that should be pursued when there are concerns about the welfare and safety of a child. In this blog, we delve into when it is appropriate to request drug and alcohol testing.

When to Request Alcohol and Drug Testing:

1. Substantiated Concerns for Drug and Alcohol Testing:

Prioritising Child Welfare and Safety

Requesting alcohol or drug testing is justified when there are substantiated concerns about a parent or guardian’s substance abuse, especially if it endangers the well-being of a child.

These concerns may stem from instances of neglect, endangerment, or other behaviors that pose a threat to the child’s safety.

drug misuse

2. Patterns of Behaviour Warranting Testing:

Identifying Troubling Behaviour

Frequent arrests tied to substance misuse, documented substance-related issues, or other discernible patterns of concerning behavior are strong grounds for requesting testing.

Such patterns may indicate a serious issue that needs addressing to ensure the child’s safety.

The effects of parents with drug and alcohol problems on children

3. Relevant Witness Testimony for Substance Misuse Concerns:

The importance of credible testimony

Testimony from credible witnesses, such as medical professionals or social workers that express concerns about a parent’s substance abuse holds significant weight when requesting tests.

4. Testing in Custody or Visitation Disputes:

Child Safety in Legal Battles

In custody or visitation disputes, concerns about substance abuse becomes particularly pertinent. If it is believed that a parent’s substance abuse jeopardizes the child’s safety and well-being, it is a valid reason to request testing.

The effect of diverted prescription drugs on child custody cases

Why we recommend a 9 Panel Drug Test:

At Atkinson Lewis, we recommend any Family Judge or Family Law Solicitor consider a 9 Panel Drug Test as standard. As safeguarding professionals, we believe it is best way to ensure the best interests of the child are met. This comprehensive test covers a range of substances, including those declared or suspected by any party.

 “In my experience, it is unusual for a client to only be using one substance. I would always recommend robust drug screening to include all substances”

Dr Cath Pyves.

A 9-panel drug hair test is also more cost-effective than single drug tests, costing a fraction of the price.

Why medical interpretation is beneficial:

However, a lab test is only one part of the story. The court needs to understand the effects of any drugs/combinations we identify, and this can’t be determined at a generic level.

It takes a formal process of Medical Interpretation, based on the client’s drug and medical history, prescriptions, lifestyle, behavioural changes and more.

Only then can we show how drugs/alcohol will affect the parent. Something that will consequently identify any risks to the child.

For more on drug testing and our medical review process, click here.

How Can We Help?

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