What happens if a parent cancels an appointment or declines a Court ordered drugs test?

Court ordered drug and alcohol testing appointments on parents in child care cases are often postponed, cancelled – or on occasion a parent will decline to cooperate.

At Atkinson Lewis we receive many reasons from their representatives, or from the client at the actual appointment as to why they do not wish to undertake testing; such reasons given are:

  • They claim they are needle phobic and cannot give blood, or sometimes our sample collectors (phlebotomists) may have difficulty in locating their veins, especially if they have been/are intravenous users. Our sample collectors are considerate and supportive during these situations, and if the blood sample can’t be collected via the vein, we can offer to undertake a testing of alcohol via a hair strand test – or we can now offer a PEth test (which involves obtaining a few drops of blood from their fingertip).
  • They are worried about being left with a bald patch after giving a sample of head hair. Our collectors have been trained and will try their best to ensure that samples are taken from a discrete area on the scalp, and therefore these patches tend not to be too visible.
  • They claim they weren’t aware the collection was taking place. Our sample collectors are very accommodating and are always happy to wait for the client to arrive at their solicitors’ offices or, if they are unable to attend we are happy to go to their home address instead.
  • There have been occasions when our collectors have met with clients who simply decline the testing – stating that they have already admitted to their solicitor/social worker that they have taken/are taking drugs so they see no point in undertaking the test, as they know the result will confirm their use of illicit drugs.  Our collectors will then explain to them the importance of having the test as in all probability they will have further testing, and as long as they attempt to reduce their intake, the follow-up testing should confirm their reduction/cessation of such drugs.

Whatever their reason might be, it is important that parents do not avoid getting tested as they may be seen not to be acting in their own best interests…or in the interests of their child. The Court will favour cooperation and honesty – it wants to understand any misuse issues a parent may have, and whether the family can be supported to address such issues.

At Atkinson Lewis we understand how hectic parent’s lives can be. Our sample collectors are very flexible and we offer a robust rebooking system if cancellations cannot be avoided. It’s important to give us as much notice as possible, so that we can get the client rebooked quickly and avoid cancellation charges.

 For more information on sample collection, click here.